The Sweet Spot

Pastry Chef & Traveler

Pumpkin Spiced Doughnuts

Oh you know what ? I totally don’t get all the pumpkin spice memes out there, and all those addiction and crazy things people do for pumpkin spice. but you know what ? Whenever people get over serious for pumpkin spice and all things pumpkin-y, you know Fall is here.

Although, really pumpkin is available all year round here, why limit it to just the last few months of the year ? So while pumpkin spice latte is NOT my thing, I’ve decided to make a pumpkin spiced doughnut in celebration of fall. In case you don’t know, fall doesn’t happen in Malaysia. All we get at this time of the year is either haze, rain or worse, flood. But you know what ? Nothing like a fried (ahem, deep fried), slightly spicy and comforting doughnut to warm things up.

friend pumpkin doughnuts

doughnuts

cake like pumpkin doughnuts for fall

These doughnuts are not those that are super light and fluffy in the center. The texture is more cake-like and if you want to bake it, you can too. It also does not contain YEAST, hence the texture unlike regular doughnuts. Since the dough had pumpkin puree, it made the doughnut quite dense as to using just regular water to mix the dough. But it gives it a nice sweetness and earthy flavour from the pumpkin. They also tend to be quite soft and hard to handle, so, handle with care?

Pumpkin spice is really, just a mixture of some spices. You can easily mix it up as you may already have some of the spices at home. If you want to make your own pumpkin spice latte, get your regular favourite coffee and add a sprinkle or two of pumpkin spice!

Pumpkin Spice Mix (1 tsp)

1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground all spice or ground cloves
1/8 ground nutmeg

pumpkin donutThe process may take some time as you would need to steam the pumpkin till it softens, cooled, then mixed into the dough. As the dough can be rather soft, I also left it in the freezer for 30 minutes. It doesn’t require any proofing time, as it doesnt have any yeast. So you can say that the proofing time has replaced to resting time. Original recipe from Serious Eats.

fried pumpkin doughnuts

Pumpkin Spiced Doughnuts
 
Serves: 15
Ingredients
  • 2 cups (300g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (refer recipe above for homemade mix)
  • 1 large eggs
  • ½ cup (90g) sugar, divided
  • ¼ cup (45g) light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • ½ cup (130ml) buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp melted butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (120g) pumpkin puree
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup (190g) caster sugar
  • canola oil, for frying
Instructions
  1. Peel a approx 200-250g pumpkin, remove seeds and cut to smaller cubes. Place on a plate and steam for about 15 mins or till the pumpkin is soft. Test with a fork, it should insert easily. Remove and mash till fine.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice.
  3. In the mixing bowl with a beater attached, combine eggs, sugar, and brown sugar beating until combined and slightly foamy. Add buttermilk, melted butter, vanilla, and pumpkin puree. Stir until smooth.
  4. Slowly add flour mixture and stir until just incorporated. Lay out two large sheets of plastic wrap. Spritz plastic wrap with canola oil. Divide dough into two balls. Wrap in plastic wrap then flatten into discs. Refrigerate for at least two hours or up to overnight.
  5. Generously flour a large work surface. Take one of the discs and turn out the dough to coat with flour, sprinkling the surface of the dough with flour to lessen stickiness. (Note the dough is EXTREMELY sticky, don't be shy about adding flour until it's workable). Gently pat the dough to about ½ an inch thick. Use a floured 3 inch doughnut cutter to cut out doughnuts and place cut doughnuts on a well floured sheet of parchment paper. Collect any scraps and roll out dough to cut more doughnuts until all the dough is gone.
  6. Fill a Dutch oven or deep fryer with 2 inches of oil. Heat oil over medium high heat to 160 C. Using a shallow, heat resistant strainer, drop doughnuts in the oil and fry until a deep golden brown on both sides (about 2 minutes per side, use the color as your guide as the oil temperature can very with time).
  7. Use wooden chopsticks to turn the doughnuts. Be careful not to crowd the doughnuts in the pan (no more than 2 to 3 doughnuts at a time). Remove doughnuts immediately from the pan using a heat resistant strainer or tongs. Set on paper towel lined baking racks to cool. Once cooled slightly, toss in a paper bag with sugar and cinnamon.
  8. Or you may drizzle with white chocolate

 

 

Balsamic Chicken Salad with Figs, Portobello and Candied Pecans

I am feeling rather uninspired lately and procrastination has been my second name since I came back from Europe.

I’m not kidding, I have this above sentence typed out, but left blank for the next 20 minutes. And the next 2 hours. and maybe saved for a day, or two..

I feel this space needs a little facelift but it’s so hard to pick out one template that I can use for a long time :/

Anyway.fig balsamic chicken

Here’s a quick fuss-free dinner salad made with chicken, figs and portobello mushroom. Feel free to add or substitute as you wish. If you don’t have figs, I think pear would work nice too. If you don’t have pecans, walnuts would be a good substitute. If you don’t have portobello mushroom, regular white or swiss brown mushrooms would be fine. If you prefer arugula to spinach, then toss with that instead. No rules, just some simple and delicious.

black figs

So I’m using these Black mission figs. Figs are a good source of dietary fiber, high in Vitamin B6 and rich in potassium(80% higher than bananas). Dried figs are available throughout the year but fresh figs have an incredible flavour, although really, they don’t last long.  They are versatile in sweet or savoury dishes or even as a stand alone snack. They are mostly available in Malaysia from August to October (not grown here, but imported in)

roast chicken portobello figs salad

So for this dish, I did a google on the ingredients I have at home and made a little changes and et, voila. A relatively complete meal packed with flavours is ready. The recipe is adapted Davida from The Healthy Maven. It’s a simple recipe, that do not require any stove top cooking. So you can literally leave the chicken and mushroom to bake in the oven and proceed to prepare the dressing and figs. Make sure to not over cook the chicken as it is afterall a piece of lean meat with no fat, so it can be dry if you over cook it.

Balsamic Chicken Salad with Figs, Portobello and Candied Pecans
 
Serves: 2
Ingredients
For the pecans:
  • ½ cup raw pecans
  • 1 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
For the chicken:
  • 1 chicken breasts, boneless & skinless
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp grapeseed / olive oil
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard (I used wholegrain mustard)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Salt and pepper to season
For the salad:
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 2 fresh black mission figs, sliced
  • 1 portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • ¼ cup blue cheese / gorgonzola, crumbled
For the dressing:
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil / grapeseed
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard (I used wholegrain mustard)
  • ½ tsp honey
Instructions
For the pecans:
  1. Preheat oven to 175 Celcius.
  2. Combine all the ingredients. Spread out on a parchment or silicone lined baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 15-20 minutes (watch closely and gently toss to make sure they don't burn).
  4. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 mins.
For the chicken:
  1. Combine all ingredients and marinate chicken for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 190 C
  3. Lay chopped portobellos along the bottom of a baking pan.Place chicken on top of portobellos and pour remaining marinade over portobellos.
  4. Bake for 10 mins. Remove from oven, flip chicken and bake for another 10 mins.
  5. Slice chicken.
For the dressing:
  1. Combine all ingredients until well mixed.
For the salad:
  1. In a large bowl combine spinach, blue cheese / gorgonzola, figs, portobellos and sliced chicken.
  2. Top with dressing, pecans and serve immediately

Figs

 

 

DIY Green Tea Body Scrub

green tea homemade sugar scrub

Well, I recently DIYed a green tea body scrub for one my friend’s bridal shower. These were actually thank you gifts for the bride’s friends that came to the bridal shower, well I just thought that it would be a nice gesture and something where people would remember. It can be made super last minute, and you most likely have all the ingredients in your pantry. And if you’re that “last minute” person to get gifts for people, a simple scrub like this would certainly be a great idea. Last time, I made vanilla sugar for another friend. This time it was a body scrub and the bride specifically requested green tea.

Ok, so green tea then.

green tea scrub ingredients

The ingredients are relatively simple. Infact, you can use other tea or essence or even zest to get the flavour that you want. The original recipe did call for sugar and coconut oil only but seeing that coconut oil has a very very strong aroma, (and also quite expensive) I decided to add olive oil. Matcha powder and green tea leaves can be replaceable.

Sugar is generally considered pretty evil by most people. It is something that leads to weight gain, cellulite and a hoard of health problems. But as far your skin is considered, there are many benefits of sugar. Sugar is known for its startling effects on ageing skin. Besides, sugar scrubs are one of the most natural products to exfoliate the skin. Sugar scrubs are mild and help to gently remove dead skin cells. They also helps to rejuvenate the skin by cleaning all the dirt from the skin pores.

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