Posh Nosh

Dreamy layers of Matcha Mille Crepe

This story was first published in The Straits Times on Dec 1, 2013

I remember reading about the Mille Crepe, a tower of eggy pancakes with pastry cream in the New York Times years ago.

When I finally had a taste of Classic Cakes’ version here, I fell in love and have tried all the variations it has come up with.

The latest one is no different, not least because it uses powdered green tea, which has a bitter edge that makes it a grown-up dessert.

What I like about this well-constructed pile of crepes is the intensity of the matcha. Unlike other mille crepes, the bakers also exercise restraint when adding sugar.

This is perhaps a good option for people who do not like overly sweet desserts.

Powdered green tea is mixed with fresh cream and powdered sugar and then spread on the crepes layer by layer.

It cuts beautifully and does not fall apart.

I miss the caramelised topping, which is one of the joys of eating a mille crepe; I usually save the top, caramelised crepe for last.

But with dreamy matcha cream giving the filling a bit of character, I can live without the burnt sugar.

Matcha Mille Crepe, $8 a slice or $80 for a 1.5kg cake, from Classic Cakes, 01-06, Clementi Arcade, 41 Sunset Way, tel: 6762-8019, open: 2pm to 9pm (Tuesdays), 11am to 9pm (Wednesdays to Saturdays), 2pm to 7pm (Sundays), closed on Mondays; 52 Siglap Drive, tel: 6246 4151, open: 2pm to 8pm (Tuesdays), 11am to 8pm (Wednesdays to Saturdays), 2pm to 7pm (Sundays), closed on Mondays

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Barolo in chocolate

While on holiday in the Piedmont region of Italy recently, I tried Barolo Chinato for the first time. The liqueur is made with the region's Barolo wine infused with quinine, cloves, cinnamon and other spices, plus a little sugar.

All this produces a bittersweet drink that tastes a little like Christmas mulled wine. It is very comforting after dinner or a long walk in a damp forest.

My friend was especially entranced by it and when I saw bags of Barolo Chinato pralines here, I figured they would be a perfect gift for her.

The spices and rich flavour of the wine are perfect with chocolate as these pralines show. They are not too alcoholic and the slightly squidgy centres are so delightful.

TartufLanghe Barolo Chinato pralines, $39 for a 200g bag, from Robinsons Orchard, 260 Orchard Road, The Heeren, tel: 6735- 8838, open: 10.30am to 10pm daily


Time for tea

The mellow, toasty flavour of Hojicha is endlessly refreshing, especially when you drink it chilled.

Oi Ocha, a brand of tea from Japan has launched its unsweetened green tea in Singapore, and I am very taken by its Hojicha.

It is made with green tea leaves that have been roasted at high temperature rather than steamed.

The roasting gives the tea its distinctive aroma and also takes away some of the caffeine in the tea.

I have yet to drink it just before bedtime, but this looks to be something to sip on all day long.

Oi Ocha Hojicha, $1.20 for a 500ml bottle at FairPrice supermarkets


Nuts about crackers

One of my favourite Japanese snacks is senbei or rice crackers, which come in myriad variations and flavours ranging from savoury to sweet.

But at Muji recently, I discovered a new, addictive snack - Nanbu crackers made with wheat flour.

They are originally from Aomori Prefecture and used to be dunked in soup.

These peanut ones are delicious eaten just as they are, perhaps with chilled hojicha alongside. Roasted peanuts in the crackers make them very fragrant and moreish.

The crackers are made in moulds and the batter that spills over creates a lip around the circumference called "mimi". It is thinner and more brittle than the rest of the cracker, providing a lovely textural contrast.

Although Muji carries only the peanut ones, the crackers can also be studded with pistachios, or sesame and pumpkin seeds. I have a new mission for my next trip to Japan: Hunt them all down.

Nanbu crackers, $5.30 for a pack of 10, from Muji storesThe mellow, toasty flavour of Hojicha is endlessly refreshing, especially when you drink it chilled.

Oi Ocha, a brand of tea from Japan has launched its unsweetened green tea in Singapore, and I am very taken by its Hojicha.

It is made with green tea leaves that have been roasted at high temperature rather than steamed.

The roasting gives the tea its distinctive aroma and also takes away some of the caffeine in the tea.

I have yet to drink it just before bedtime, but this looks to be something to sip on all day long.

Oi Ocha Hojicha, $1.20 for a 500ml bottle at FairPrice supermarkets