Sunday, June 10, 2007

Recipe: Sugee Cake

Half my family is Malaysian and I love spending time in Malaysia, it's a beautiful and relaxed country. I was lucky enough to have had my grandmother around for a substantial part of my childhood but my father's was quite a big family, so we really only all met up, in their childhood shophouse, over Chinese New Year.

Those years shaped what I remember and still think Chinese New Year is about. Everyone was in a good mood, especially my grandmother and we had so much feasting, night after night. We had gambling too and hours of fireworks exploding through the little town, till all the pavements were littered calf-high in red firecracker paper the next morning.

To a sheltered Singaporean kid, this was a new, native and now nostaligic world. At least I was old enough to be able to now still remember my brother and I playing on the five-foot way the morning after Chinese New Year, gleefully rooting through the red paper heaps to find the whole, remaining little firecrackers. We would put these inside empty Coke cans and light them, then run away, shrieking with joy as the entire thing ripped apart with a terrible noise.

The food that we had was all home-made, from the backyard-reared chickens to the tins and tins of Kueh Boloh and almond biscuits that my grandmother would make weeks in advance and store high up in her pantry. We had every kind of variety of yam cake, love letters and char siew (roasted pork). When my grandmother got older, my aunts made these recipes. And as I got older, they passed on my grandmother's recipes to me.

This recipe is for Sugee cake, a rich dense Eurasian dessert made with semolina flour. I love the crumbly texture and the slight tinge of sweet almond. I like this recipe because it calls for the egg white to be whipped, which gives a lighter more aerated texture to the cake. It also includes crystallized melon, which is always a fun ingredient to use and a much more subtle and natural way to add sugar to the cake. You can buy this at any chinese dry goods provision store in the local wet market or in a supermarket. Sugee cake is still extremely fattening and I only make it as a counterpart to Swiss Meringue Buttercream because one requires lots of egg whites and sugee cake uses up all the yolks after.

I've also found that you can leave out one or two egg yolks out from this recipe without anything drastic happening. And that a couple more tablespoons of brandy never hurt anybody *grin*

Recipe: Sugee Cake

275g butter
275g castor sugar
200g sugee
125 fresh milk
13 egg yolks
4 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 Tbsp brandy
50g ground almonds
60g crystallised melon, chopped.
55g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (sifted into the flour)

1. Pan-fry the sugee- sugee is semolina flour and you want to fry lightly and gently, without changing the colour of the sugee.
2. Cream butter and 3/4 the amount of sugar. Add in milk, beating continuously. Stir in the sugee and let stand for 1-1 1/2 hours.
3. Add egg yolks gradually into the creamed sugee mixture.
4. Beat egg whites and remaining sugar till stiff. Fold in flour and ground almonds into the sugee mixture followed by the beaten egg white.
5. Stir in brandy, essence and crystallized melon. Turn out into prepared pan and bake at 170C for 1 1/2 hours or until cake is done. When chopping the melon, you must crush and chop the melon finely.

1 comment:

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