I didn’t mean for two months to lapse since my last post but so much has happened in between. I decided to move from Tokyo back to Singapore permanently after days and nights of deliberation and was occupied with the logistics of it all for the past several weeks. Up till the point I boarded my near empty flight at an equally quiet narita airport, I had spent five and a half years living in a city that has had and always will have a special place in my heart. Bittersweet, although a good starting point, doesn’t come close to encapsulating the past half a decade of my life in Tokyo. I took up residence in the city during the last few months of my teenage years and waded through the complexities and challenges that accompanied becoming not just a young adult, but a young working adult in a foreign country with insuperable cultural and language obstacles. Not to mention starting out my career during a time that coincided with a global pandemic which at times flipped the once treasured freedom of solitary living into feelings of endless captivity.
Living in Tokyo, the lows could psychologically devastate the most stoic of personalities, but the highs could paint a perfect fairytale. There were days where I had never felt so much inner calm and peace, which have certainly helped me solidify my identity as an individual extending as far as into my personal style. I guess what I am ultimately trying to articulate is that there is shadow and light in every experience, and I not only recognize but accept the entire spectrum as a package. It wouldn’t have been as meaningful without this emotional polarity, as tempting as it is to bury the negatives five hundred metres deep into the earth.
So I’m back in Singapore, and the question is what now? If there is anything I have learned from last year, it is that life can be unpredictable and uncontrollable despite the most carefully calculated intentions – sometimes you just have to let go and go with the flow. But being the planner that I am, I can’t help but have some specific goals that I would like to achieve by certain points in time. (I guess I would just have to remind myself to remain flexible and adaptable.) For starters, I’m planning to put more time into baking, doing what I love the most, with the possibility of establishing a commercially viable brand in mind.
For better or worse, I live in a reverie. I love to create moments frozen in time and isolated from the real world where everything is serene and picture perfect in my mind. I first found my escape as a child in fiction books, which then evolved into journalling. And then now, baking, photography and writing. It took me a long time to accept my tendency to escape into a fantasy whenever real world events become too heavy. I read the news, and I think that keeping well informed on what’s happening around the world is important, but to do it 24/7 is personally incredibly emotionally taxing. In this regard, I have nothing but respect for journalists who have to keep their fingers on the pulse of the world’s happenings.
It took a while, but I have finally come to acknowledge my penchant for daydreaming about beautiful spaces as both a strength and weakness, and I’m choosing to make the best of it.
To mark this next chapter of my personal and professional journey, I’m changing the name of my blog and Instagram account as a sort of promise to myself and everyone who has nothing but singularly encouraged me to transform my baking obsession into something bigger, to introduce my daydreams into the realm of reality.
I present to you Wild Reverie, by Amanda – a collection of ethereal visions captured at the heights of their beauty. I hope that it brings you as much serenity and comfort as it does to me. I have many hopes and dreams for Wild Reverie to be revealed in due time, and I’m so excited to say that one of them will be materializing in just a few weeks! I will be doing a bake sale (available to customers in Singapore) and I can’t wait to get out of quarantine to bake some test batches and take pictures to upload to a page I’m creating especially for bake sale previews and purchases. It’s going to be such a fun project. Xx
Chocolate Passionfruit Tartlets
I had a vision of a tart that was black on black, glossy on matte, the epitome of monochrome chic. Naturally it had to be chocolate, with a hint of fruitiness to offset the richness. All components have to be made and chilled overnight before using, so make sure to do a bit of scheduling!
makes 5 tartlets
For the cocoa tart crust:
120 grams all purpose flour
15 grams almond flour
15 grams cocoa powder
50 grams icing sugar
75 grams cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 pinch of salt
1/2 large egg
For the passionfruit curd:
45 ml passionfruit puree
50 grams sugar
1 large egg
75 grams room temperature unsalted butter, cubed
For the milk chocolate mousse:
135 grams milk chocolate, chopped
200 ml heavy cream
For the cocoa mirror glaze:
50 grams water
140 grams sugar
45 grams unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
95 grams heavy cream
6 grams sheet gelatin, softened in cold water
Make the tart dough: Put the flour, almond flour, cocoa powder, icing sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse to mix. Add the pieces of butter and pulse until the butter is cut in coarsely. Add in the egg and pulse to combine. Shape the dough into a flat disc and cover with plastic wrap. Chill dough in the fridge for at least an hour.
Evenly roll the dough out between two pieces of parchment paper until it’s roughly 3~4mm thick. Divide the dough into portions, press firmly into the tartlet moulds (that are 8 cm in diameter) and trim off any excess dough. Prick the bottom of the crust and return to the fridge for at least an hour, preferably overnight. In the meantime, make the passionfruit curd and chocolate mousse.
Make the passionfruit curd: Whisk together passionfruit puree, sugar and egg in a heatproof bowl. Place over a saucepan of simmering water and heat the mixture until it reaches 180F, whisking constantly. Strain into the bowl of a food processor and let cool to room temperature. With the food processor turned on, gradually add the cubes of butter. When all the butter has been incorporated, continue to pulse for about another minute or so until the cream is light and airy. Transfer to a bowl, press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface and refrigerate overnight.
Make the chocolate mousse: Have a silicon mold with cavities measuring 7 cm in diameter at the ready. Melt the chocolate in microwave and set aside. Heat 100 ml of the cream in a small saucepan and pour into the melted chocolate. Stir until smooth and combined. In a separate bowl, whip the remaining cream to soft peaks. Gently fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture. Divide the mousse evenly amongst five cavities. Freeze overnight.
Make the glaze: Bring the water and sugar to a boil over medium heat. Whisk in the sifted cocoa powder. In a separate saucepan, heat the heavy cream to a boil and pour into the cocoa mixture. Remove from heat and stir in the softened gelatin sheets. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate overnight.
Assemble the tartlets: Bake the tart crusts at 170C for 18 to 20 minutes, or until they take on a golden brown color. Set aside to cool. When cooled, fill the tart shells with the passionfruit cream and smooth the tops. Return to the refrigerator while you glaze the chocolate mousse rounds.
Heat the mirror glaze in a microwave until about 37C and stir to ensure that there are no lumps remaining. Retrieve the frozen mousse rounds from the freezer and place on a wire rack with a tray underneath lined with plastic wrap. Working quickly in one smooth motion, pour the glaze onto each round starting from the center and moving in a circular motion towards the outsides. This glaze recipe makes a generous amount of glaze, more than what you’ll need to perfectly cover five mousse rounds so don’t be shy when pouring it. You wouldn’t want to miss a spot and go back with another layer of glaze – it won’t look pretty.
Retrieve the tarts from the fridge. Carefully place each glazed round of mousse on top of the passionfruit layer. Return to the fridge to allow the mousse layer to thaw completely before serving.
Cocoa mirror glaze recipe is adapted from Road to Pastry.