Monday, June 27, 2011

Rot those teeth! (Part 1)

Mia's first tooth has made a glorious appearance on June 18, 2011. Well actually, she came with a friend. Yes, it's not one but two first teeth we're celebrating at once. She's so efficient like that, our Mia. Love her!

Of course, this calls for some major celebrating and this time, Mamma Mia is keen on doing everything herself. After all, I need to practice a little bit before our first "real" birthday. So far, we've been ordering cakes each month to celebrate Mia's monthly birthdays, and since her sixth month, we've gotten addicted to those 3D cakes so much, we even had a beautiful one made for our very first Father's Day:

Click on the photo to redirect to the chef who baked that awesome cake
Click here to redirect to this cake's chef

But Mamma Mia has been researching the cutest way to celebrate that first tooth for a while now and we've decided to stick to the traditional "Snayniyeh" which is a Lebanese delicacy made of wheat especially for the occasion. The name comes from the Arabic word "Snayn" which translates to "teeth".

All that would be wonderful if only I could  find some wheat in Dubai! I've looked at Spinneys (Motor City), Carrefour (Mall of the Emirates), Carrefour (Mirdiff City Center), Waitrose (Dubai Mall), Lafayette Gourmet (Dubai Mall) and Choithram (The Greens): Nothing!

So now I have in my house all the ingredients for a magical "Snayniyeh", decorations included, except for the main food!

Ironically, my brother who's currently in Qatar for a project, and who led the "Quest for Wheat" last week, SMS-ed me yesterday just to say, and I quote:
"Found wheat in Carrefour. Ah wait, I'm in Qatar..."
Cute, I know.

But this actually inspired me. Hubby just left for Saudi Arabia today and I instructed him to "Get me some wheat from the Kingdom, or else!" 

Hubby isn't very fond of threats, but he agreed to try, in between meetings of course. And if he can get away from his colleagues; knowing he'd never hear the end of it should they catch him grocery shopping in Saudi for his daughter's first tooth dish. I kind of agreed with him. But for different more crucial reasons. Discretion is key, indeed. His friends may jinx the whole Quest and who knows, even buy the entire Kingdom's wheat  themselves and throw all the precious grains at sea just to play with hubby.

So what's the plan now?

Of course not! We've started practicing for the cute decorations. For that I've decided to use fondant since I've become a fan now ;)

I've never taken any cooking or baking class so I had no clue about fondant, where to buy it or how to make it so of course, I went to my best pal, Google, for some basic information.

It turns out various major supermarkets in Dubai do sell ready to use fondant. Yes, that's nice isn't it? Well not so much when they are ALL and I mean ALL out of stock! Seriously, I kid you not.

But that's not as dramatic as the wheat issue. Obviously, unlike wheat which I don't have time to grow from scratch, I can make fondant at home.

There's a plethora of recipes out there and I looked for the easiest one because I didn't want to sink in details and get frustrated with complicated techniques. And thankfully, I found one which works superbly well for a lazy beginner like yours truly:

Basic Fondant Recipe: 
8 Tablespoons (1 stick) Unsalted Butter
¾ teaspoon Vanilla
¼ teaspoon Salt
2/3 cup Sweetened Condensed Milk
5 cups Sifted Confectioners' Sugar (+ 1 cup for work surface) 
Beat butter, vanilla, and salt together until soft.
Add condensed milk slowly and beat until mixture is very light.
Add the confectioners' sugar cup-by-cup.
Dust your work surface with an extra cup of confectioners' sugar.
Turn your fondant mixture out onto the work surface and work the powdered sugar in with your hands.

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It was really easy to make, and had I not been alone in the kitchen, I would have gladly taken photos of each step. I love you all so much but I was not about to grab my camera with buttery-milky-sugary fingers, so here's what I could do when I had the opportunity to wash my hands in between steps:

Start left and move down to the right:

First I made the mixture which is fairly basic as you can see in the recipe above. Then I poured it on the sugar and started working the sugar in the mixture with my hands. I know the recipe says that I need one cup of sugar for this step but I may have used more butter than instructed. I couldn't find sticks (don't ask, I won't even name the supermarket I went to last night) so I used spreadable butter (which probably didn't help the dough texture) and I had to improvise my 8 tablespoons.

In any case, while researching fondant, I had read that if the mixture is too sticky, add sugar and if it's too dry, add corn syrup. I know there's no corn syrup in that recipe here, but I got some anyway, just in case. Plus, some use it to glue various fondant shapes together so I figured, it's got to be useful at some point.

Once I got a nice dough, I shaped a heart just for you ;)

Then, I proceeded to coloring some portions of my dough. For that, I used regular food coloring that you can find anywhere, even in those insane Dubai supermarkets! Thank God, because that, I wasn't about to learn how to make on Google!

Coloring tips: Make a well at the center of the dough, pour one drop of food coloring in the middle. All cooking sites always advise to be careful and not pour too much coloring at once because it is easy to add and darken the color but it's nearly impossible to go back to a lighter tone.

And so I present to you Mr. Blue & Miss Red which were very useful for the following step.

Since I didn't have a cutter shaped in the form of a tooth (surprising eh? it's well known everyone has some at home) I had to draw it myself with a knife. it turned out to be quite easy actually. Then I inserted two (scary big) blue eyes and a (collagened) mouth and I was set with the sexiest tooth ever!

OK, so it looks a little frightening but this was my very first attempt and I had to get used to shaping that particular dough. Once I got used to it, I went crazy with the shapes and colors! But I'm leaving this for another post because I don't want to spoil the surprise ;)  

So that's it for now; but don't worry, I'll keep you posted on the wheat status ;) As you can see, this post is just the Part 1 of a really interesting adventure, so come back! ;)

Rot those teeth!

 Mamma Mia

1 comment:

  1. Mabrouk for Mia's first tooth :)OMG that's so cute your story made me feel better because Sophia got her first teeth today wanted to do her our famou snaynyeh but I'm currently living in the states so i drove for like 2 hours searching every single supermarket because the shop that has middle eastern stuff closed and opened a restaurant, finally i found but I loved your fondant idea i will try it :)