Sweet, sweet summer!
There is a saying that goes “life is uncertain … eat dessert first!”, a life lesson which we’re ready to take to heart this summer. Desserts like pineapple buns, mango pudding and tong yuen are part of Hong Kong’s unique dessert culture – and we’re here to celebrate it! These five recipes are all inspired by the wonderful sweet tastes of our city, each flavour familiar, yet transformed into new and improved homemade treats. These recipes also require no specialised equipment so there is no reason not to make them. Whether you’re in the mood for something frozen or something baked, these Hong Kong inspired treats will have everyone begging for the recipe. Go on mama, you desser(ve)t it!
Ever buy some fresh-from-the-oven pineapple buns and then not finished them? Me neither… Next time, buy a few extra and make this delicious, tropical summery pud. Serve with ice cream or cold pouring cream.
2 tablespoons butter, unsalted
3 large pineapple buns (a day old is actually better)
200 ml milk
100 ml double cream
5 ml vanilla essence
2 free-range eggs
90 ml sugar, brown
1. Grease four small ramekins and preheat the oven to 180˚C.
2. Cut the pineapple bun into even slices and butter one side of each slide.
3. Arrange the slices with the crisp sugary top facing down in the ramekins.
4. Gently warm the milk, coconut cream and cream in a small pot over a low heat to scalding point. Don’t let it boil.
5. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla essence.
6. Crack the eggs into a large bowl, add three quarters of the sugar and lightly whisk until the mixture becomes light in texture and pale in colour. Reserve the rest of the sugar for later.
7. Temper the egg mixture by adding a little of the hot milk mixture and then stirring well, continue to incorporate the milk mixture a little at a time until everything is blended together.
8. Pour the custard over the bread layers and sprinkle with the leftover sugar leave to stand for 15 minutes.
9. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
It’s hard to resist a Hong Kong coconut tart, they are flaky, buttery and delectable! These bars are inspired by them with the bonus of roasted white chocolate pieces.
For the crust layer
2 cups flour
1 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup melted butter
For the coconut and white chocolate layer
100g white chocolate
3 eggs, large
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup sugar, granulated
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup salted melted butter
4 cups flaked or desiccated coconut
1. Preheat the oven to 140˚C.
2. Chop the white chocolate into chunks and spread on a baking sheet.
3. Place in the oven and bake stirring every 5 minutes. Bake until the chocolate until it turns light brown.
4. Remove from the oven and cool down.
5. Increase the oven temperature to 170˚C and line a baking sheet (25cm x 20cm) with baking paper.
6. To prepared the crust mix, mix the flour, sugar and butter together in a large bowl.
7. Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan and thin it out evenly.
8. Bake at 170˚C for 10-15 minutes until crispy. Remove from oven.
9. In another another large bowl, whisk the eggs, vanilla essence, condensed milk, sugar, flour and butter until the mixture is smooth.
10. Stir in half of the coconut and the roasted chocolate.
11. Once the crust is ready, spread the coconut condensed milk mixture over the crust.
12. Sprinkle the remaining coconut evenly on top and bake for 20-30 minutes. Cool completely before cutting.
It’s hard to beat the flavour of Hong Kong’s mango pudding but the summer heat sometimes calls for something ice cold and refreshing. This recipe is ridiculously easy to make and apart from a little added sugar (this is a dessert, after all!) contains nothing that’s bad for your health!
1 large mango, ripe, cut into chunks
1/4 cup simple sugar syrup (make with 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup water)
2 tablespoons lime/lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar, granulated
1/2 cup water
1. Prepare the sugar syrup by placing the sugar and water in a pot over medium heat.
2. Continue to heat and stir until all the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
3. Add the mango chunks to a blender and puree until the mixture is smooth.
4. With the blender still running add the 1/4 cup of sugar syrup in a steady stream until everything is incorporated.
5. Lastly, add the lemon/lime juice and blend for a couple of seconds more. Transfer the mixture of a container for freezing.
6. Freeze the mixture for an hour. Remove from the freezer and use a metal spoon to break up the large frozen pieces into smaller ice crystals.
7. Freeze overnight. Remove from the freezer about 30 minutes before serving.
We like milk tea… we like condensed milk toast… and we also love a good ice cream in this summer heat so why not make a milk tea and condensed milk ice cream? This recipe is super easy to make, and the end result is out of cone-trol!
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
4 bags of black tea
3 tablespoons melted butter
1. In a saucepan heat 1/2 cup of cream and 1/2 cup of milk until scalding, do not boil.
2. Add the teabags and allow it to steep for a minimum of 3 hours. Overnight in the fridge will give the best flavour.
3. In a large bowl, whip 2 cups of the cream with an electric mixer to stiff peaks (the peaks should hold when you remove the mixer).
4. Whisk the chilled milk tea mixture, the condensed milk, and the melted butter together.
5. Fold the condensed milk mixture into the whipped cream taking care not to over-stir as this will knock the air out of the mixture.
5. Pour into a container and freeze for six hours.
No summer meal would be complete without a tall glass of iced lemon tea, the colder the better. So why not freeze them? They are so easy to make you’ll think anything is ‘popsicle’, mama!
3 black tea bags
4 cups of boiling water
1/4 cup lemon juice, fresh
1/2 cup sugar syrup (make with 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup water)
1. Add the tea bags to the boiling water and allow to steep for 5-6 minutes. Cool down slightly (until the tea is not steaming anymore)
2. Pour in the sugar syrup and stir well to make sure all the syrup is incorporated.
3. Add the lemon juice and stir.
4. Pour into ice lolly mould while still warm and put in the freezer.
5. Freeze for 6-8 hours. Unmould and enjoy!
All images taken by Leandi Archer.