Easy Cherry Frozen Yogurt


Home cultured yogurt is full of probiotics and when the heat of summer is upon us the then yogurt or curd based desserts and other dishes are the best. I have been making FroYo and parfaits as the temperature this May is soaring mercilessly.

Many of those who are unable to digest milk can actually digest yogurt without any difficultly and that makes it even more better.

FroYo is one of my proffered desserts. I love them over ice creams as they are lower in calories and healthier too. I make them without the help of ice cream maker so they are practically no fuss.

Cherries have flooded the market and this FroYo has dark cherries. Stone fruits are my favorites, mangoes, plums, cherries, apricots, you name it. I just love them. They are so versatile and you can use them to make such wonderful desserts, relish, compote etc.

I buy fresh fruit and freeze for making FroYo. Frozen fruit gives a beautiful creamy texture to it.

As a sweetener I use honey.  It is a better option than sugar. Honey also prevents icicles to form while freezing the dessert.

Once the cherry frozen yogurt is ready, you can either serve it immediately as a soft serve or freeze it for a fe hours for a more ice cream like texture like I did.

The tart yogurt, the sweet cherries , a hint of lime is all you need to reach a state of Nirvana.

You can also use Greek yogurt and frozen cherries but I prefer fresh ones.

Now for the delicious low calorie Cherry FroYO 

 

Ingredients:

Black Sweet Cherries (pitted and frozen)- 1 cup

Hung yogurt/ Greek yogurt – 3/4 Cup

Lemon Juice – 1 teaspoon

Honey – 1 tablespoon ( don’t use extra sweetener, let cherries do the job)

Steps : 

Pit the cherries and freeze for two hours

Hang the curd/ yogurt over night or for 3-4 hours till completely drained of liquid.

Freeze the yogurt as well. We will chop it up an hour before using.

Take out the yogurt from the freezer and chop it up. Put it in a glass bowl.

Now take out the cherries, thaw them a little and then remove 1/4 in a bowl place rest of them in the blender and process till smooth.

Take out the cherry puree in a bowl and put the remaining cherries in the blender , give a swirl so it becomes a chunky mix. Remove.

Now, add hung yogurt , lemon juice and honey in the blender and process till smooth. Add the cherry puree to it and mix. Add the chunky cherries to the cherry yogurt and mix well.

Scrape the sides of the blender bowl and bland again to ensure there are no lumps.

Taste for sweetness and adjust accordingly.

In a freezer safe bin pour the cherry yogurt mixture. Tap the bin on the counter 2-3 times to remove air gaps. Cover and put in the freezer.

Take out and whisk the mixture after every 30 min and freeze again. I usually don’t need to do it if using honey or just do it once. Freeze for 4-5 hours or over night to get the ice cream like consistency.

You can also serve it as soft serve after a few hours.

Frozen Yogurt is best consumed on the same day but you can freeze it for a few days.

Serve it with a few fresh cherries on the side and a fresh sprig of mint at  the top.

 

As I munched on the leftover cherries I saw a box with a few digestive biscuits. An itch to try something new was too much to ignore so I decided to try something different. I took 6 of the biscuits added a slice of salted butter and gave it a churn in the mixer to make a base for a cheesecake with FroYo. It was just an experiment. I wasn’t sure if the frozen yogurt cheese cake would set if kept in the freezer.

I sprayed the springform pan with some oil, layered it with the biscuit crumble tightly just like we do for a proper cheesecake and kept in the fridge to chill. After half an hour I poured the FroYo over it, topped it with homemade cherry compote and covered the pan with cling wrap properly.

I kept this in the freezer for 2-3 hours and the result was just wow. I still feel there is a need for improvement but the cheesecake was yum. This is to be eaten immediately or the frozen yogurt will melt away leaving a slush. 😛

Perhaps it would stay better in a jar. Something to do next time. 😀

 

 

Steamed Caramelized Bread Pudding


Brandy Raisin Banana on the left and Plain Cinnamon on the right.

I love anything with caramel and creme caramel is one of my favorite desserts. The other thing I can have any time any day is bead pudding. I make both these things regularly esp the bread pudding and keep innovating the basic recipe. I have made steamed pudding too and a quicker version for instant cravings but this cheese cake like caramelized bread pudding took me to heaven and back.

While looking for something on my favorite Better Butter website I cam across the recipe for this pudding by Sharon Dcosta and the picture held me captive. I instantly decided to make it. She had used ladi pav and we don’t get them in Delhi so the usual white bread or some other sliced bread / loaf was my option.

Now, I had to tweak her original recipe. She had suggested 18-20 slices but my gut feeling said it would be too much for a 5 inch  baking tin so I reduced it to 12 and still I needed two tins so you will need to adjust the proportions for one 5″ tin or take a bigger tin which fits in your steamer or pressure cooker. You can pour the mixture in individual ramekins too.

For a single 5 inch tin i think 6 slices and 1 1/2 cup of milk + one egg should suffice but I have not tried it. For eggless version my friends use cornstarch  / custard powder but again I have not tried it.

I made one simple plain pudding and one with brandy soaked raisins and mashed banana. Both were the best things one could have as desserts.

The dark caramel the soft smooth textured cheesecake like pudding the flavor of brandy and banana in one and nutmeg in the other was delicious. I do not use vanilla much as I like the natural flavors of the dish.

Here is how I made the two.

Ingredients :

Bread Slices – 12

Egg – 1

Full Fat Milk 750 ml or 3 cups

Cinnamon Powder – 1/4 teaspoon

Salt- 1/2 teaspoon

Brandy / dark rum – 1 tablespoon

Raisins – A handful ( about 10-15

Over ripe Banana – 1 medium

Sugar 4 tablespoon + 2 tablespoons

Round aluminium cake tin or pressure cooker separators

 

Caramelized Bread pudding with Cinnamon 

Steps –

Collect all the ingredients on the counter and soak the raisins in the brandy if using and set aside. You can soak them in water too if alcohol isn’t your choice.

In a large mixing bowl pour milk .

Beat the egg and add to the milk. Mix well.

Add 4 tablespoons of sugar and stir properly. You can increase the amount if you like more sweet. I prefer mildly sweet.

Caramel – If you are making caramel for the first time don’t use the dry sugar method but use the wet one. Also, don’t make it directly in the tin you will be using for baking.. just in case it burns…

In a small thick bottom pan add the rest of the sugar and water to make the caramel. I add a little salt ( 0.6 ml spoon or 3-4 pinches) to it for a contrast flavor. Keep the heat medium and once the sugar melts keep playing with the heat from low to medium as the color changes to light brown to dark. Keep it on lower side and DO NOT stir just swirl the pan if you need to.

Once the caramel is deeper color our it into the baking tin of 5 ” or whichever you are using and swirl it so that the entire base it properly covered. It will begin to set quickly so do these steps quickly. Let it set properly or it will mix in the pudding mixture. Do it with both pans if making two puddings. Keep aside.

Tear the bread slices into small pieces and dip in the milk egg mixture. I keep the thick first slice + the crusts but you can omit. I feel they give a great texture to the pudding cheese cake.

Soak the pieces properly and let it stand for about 20 – 30 minutes.

Now, mash the soaked bread pieces with a masher or back of a ladel ( I do with fingers) and then put the mixture in the blender and blend into a smooth mix. No lumps should remain.  Blending a mashed mixture will ensure a smooth mix.

Pour half of this mixture in the pan but keep some space so that the pudding can rise.

Mix raisins and properly mashed banana in the rest of the mixture and pour it in the other tin for the  brandy soaked raisins and mashed banana caramelized bread pudding.

Cover the baking tins  with lids or aluminium foil. Keep a stone on lid so that the water doesn’t go in. Tightly covered bin with aluminium foil works well.

In a pressure cooker or steamer add water up to one inch at least and keep the baking tin in it.

Cook on high heat till three / four whistles and then 10-15 min on low heat. The heat will depend on your utensils and cooker size / steamer etc. I check after 3 whistles and 10 min on low. If the knif comes out clean from the center it is done.

Once done remove it on the counter carefully and let it cool completely. You can unmold it at this stage by sliding a sharp knife along the edge of the baking tin to loosen the pudding  or tap it with the heal of your palm a few times. Keep a serving plate on top and invert. The pudding will release nicely on the plate. You can serve it right away at room temperature or chilled.

I keep the covered tin in the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours and then remove lid / foil and unmold. Then chill it again for some time before using.

The rich deep caramel on top on the perfectly set smooth pudding is a sight to behold and a joy to eat. You can make your own variations to the original recipe. You can add apple pulp or chocolate or pumpkin or anything you like but I prefer the original unmasked taste of pure decadence ie the plain caramelized bread pudding with just the right amount of nutmeg/cinnamon

 

 

Citrus Bread Pudding With Malta Fruit Compote


 

I love the citrus flavor of orange or in this case the Malta fruit in this rather heavy and rich bread and butter pudding. The compote as topping is just right to balance the mild sweetness of the pudding. I love to eat it warm with a mug of black sugarless home brewed coffee. A perfect dessert.

Since childhood bread pudding has been one of my favorites. Be it the simple bread cooked in milk on a gas stove with a little sugar and nutmeg or cinnamon or something more elaborate baked in oven. I can eat this anytime anywhere.

I sometimes layer orange.Malta wedges  along with the buttered bread to make it even richer but here we will just use the zest in the pudding and top it with the compote. One can grill the fruit before layering for that burnt orange taste which is yum.  I also make chunky marmalade sandwiches instead of using fresh fruit and it turns out just as amazing.

This is a simple classic recipe and I have used one day old white bread here. An ultimate comfort food. raisins soaked in Cointreau or brandy makes it a little more adventurous.

Ingredients :

Bread ( one day old ) – 6 Slices

Full Fat Milk –  2 Cups

Condensed Sweetened Milk – 1/2 tin (Milkmade)

Orange/Malta Zest –  2 Tablespoons

Cointreau / Brandy or Rum – 1-2 tablespoon

Eggs 2  Large

Butter –  50 gm ( for spreading)

Seedless Raisins / Sultanas – 50 gm

Cinnamon Stick – 1 inch

Steps :

Put the raisins/sultanas in a saucepan and pour the Cointreau / orange juice or the preferred liquor and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and keep aside.

In another heavy bottom pan boil milk and condensed milk  mixture. Add cinnamon stick and orange zest to it. Let it simmer on low heat  for 10 minutes so the flavors get incorporated.

Turn off the heat, cover and set aside.

I do not trim the edges of the bread but you can.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/ 350 Degrees F. Place a bigger tin than the one you are using to bake pudding inside the oven to warm.

Grease a 12×9 inch baking dish. Mine was a little smaller but you should have one slightly bigger so that there is enough space for the pudding to rise.

Toast the bread slices lightly. This is my way as I find toasting gives a great flavor to the pudding. You can use them plain too.

Butter each bread slice and cut them into triangles.

In a large bowl beat the eggs. Add the infused milk  and a 2-3 tablespoons of the fresh malta juice into it and beat again till everything is combined properly. Remove the cinnamon stick. You can use powder too (1/4 teaspoon).

Layer the bread triangles, buttered side up, in the prepared baking dish. They should be slightly overlapping. Sprinkle the raisins and sultanas between the layers and pour the liquid and remaining raisins on top.

Sprinkle some more fresh orange zest on top.

Place the baking dish inside the warm bigger baking tin. Pour hot water carefully halfway till the smaller tin. Be very careful not to scald yourself or let water get  into the pudding.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the pudding is wobbly from inside and browned from top.

A tooth pick should come out mostly clean when inserted in the center.

Scoop out and serve it warm with the Malta/Orange compote on top.

You can also use dollop of crème fraîche if that suits your mood.

Tips : Thick sliced breads work wonderful in this pudding. You can make thick chunky marmalade sandwiches and omit compote or layer fresh orange/ malta  wedges bweteen the bread layers.

Heat up a little marmalade over water bath and brush it over the top of the pudding for that orange glaze.

Explore all the possibilities and be innovative wit hthis classic rich bread and butter pudding.

I do not use too many spices or vanilla as the natural flavors get masked.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Puff Pastry Experiments-Baked Apple Roses, Strawberry Filled Mini Puffs And More


 

Food hall at the DLF place, Saket is addictive. This Saturday after a hearty meal I and my son decided to do our usual round of the Food hall and soon we were filling our basket with more than what we needed. The food monster wanted to create something from ready made frozen puff pastry sheets and I too was game for it. The dish on my mind was the gorgeous Apple Roses I had been viewing all over the internet.

Now, I used to make apple pie crust at home but the store bought frozen puff pastry sheets were something new to me too.  The images of delicious pinwheels, tarts, quiche, pie, croissants, churros, torte, cheese sticks etc began to float in front of my eyes. I had to rein my imagination as I was going to get only a sheet or two. The food monster had made this clear. Finally I decided on the amazing Apple Roses, Fresh strawberry and fruit spread filled mini puff pastries and some churros.

On a sunny Sunday afternoon the food monster took over the kitchen and created some sumptuous dishes like Salted Caramel and Chocolate Tart, Chili Salsa and Cheese Tart , Marshmallow, chocolate and coffee pockets topped with dark caramel and chocolate ganache  .  You can follow the Food Monster Delhi on twitter too.

The yummy treats were devoured instantly.  On reminding about my share of the pastry sheets and he very graciously left some. I realized that the churros would have to go as the sheets were just enough of the Apple Roses and Strawberry mini puffs.

Though there are many versions of Apple roses on internet and all amazingly gorgeous but I liked the ones made by Sherri of To Simply Inspire  I followed her directions though I tweaked them a bit. You can check out her perfect roses by clicking on the link of her blog. Thanks Sherri for inspiring.

Here is how I made those Apple Rose Puffed Pastries 

Ingredients : (For 6 apple roses )

2 Delicious Red Apples (I used organic)

1 frozen Puff Pasty Sheet (Thawed)

2 Tablespoon of fruit preserve (I used mixed fruit but you can use plum, peach, apricot…whatever you desire)

Cinnamon sugar for sprinkling ( 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder + 1 teaspoon fine sugar)

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Flour to sprinkle on the counter

Powdered sugar for sprinkling as decoration

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Method:

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celcius ( Sherri did it at 190 degrees Celsius / 375 degree F)

Remove the frozen puff pastry sheets and let them thaw on the counter. They should still be cool when you use them. I removed them from freezer and kept them in the fridge overnight to use them in the morning. (See instructions on the packet)

Prepare cinnamon sugar by mixing the two ingredients together. Keep aside. (You can use apple pie spice mix too)

Half fill a bowl with water and add lemon juice to it. Now cut the apples in half from top to bottom. Remove the core ends and scoop out the center core.

Cut them in paper thin slices with a sharp knife. (unfortunately mine weren’t that thin.. a reason to buy a good sharp knife)

Place the slices in the water bowl. This will prevent them from turning brown. (enough water to cover the slices)

I used organic apples as we are using the skin too.

Place the bowl in the microwave for a minute to soften the apple a little so they don’t break while folding. They should not become mushy.

Now drain the apples in a colander and gently pour some cool water over them. drain properly.

Now, sprinkle some flour over a clean counter and roll out the pastry sheet, stretch it a bit with a rolling pin. Move in one direction only.

Try to keep the rectangle shape and cut it into six equal strips of 2 in x 9 inches approx. The sheet should be 1/8 in thick. In my excitement I didn’t make it rectangle but then corrected the strips by cutting the rounded edges. One learns 🙂

In a bowl take the fruit preserve and add a teaspoon of water to it. Microwave for a min so that the preserve is of spreading consistency. Let it cool.

Spread a little preserve on each strip.

Line 6-9 apple slices overlapping each other a little with the peel side facing out along one side of the strip. Leave a little space on both ends when you line up the slices.

Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar or apple pie spice mix if you desire. I love it.

Fold the bottom part of the strip so that it covers the apples.

Now, starting on one end carefully start to roll the fruit lined strip into a rose shape. Don’t make it very tight roll. Once you reach the end, seal the edges by pressing with your finger and gently place in a well greased muffin tin or a silicon muffin tray. You can apply a egg wash. I used melted butter and brushed it on the pastry with a pastry brush.

Make six roses from the strips and place them all in the tray.

Bake in the middle rack for 30-45 minutes. The pastry should be nicely cooked.

I did not keep the water pan in the tray below as suggested in the original recipe but you can try that.

Take them out and let them set for a few minutes before removing from the tray.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired. You can serve them warm or at room temperature as required.

You can double the amount to make 12 roses.

You can also use, butter, brown sugar and apple pie spice mixed together instead of fruit preserve.

You can bake these on a flat ray too but make sure the ends of the rose pastry are sealed well so that they do not open while baking.

Next time I will use different coloured apples, red , green, yellow and will also try peach and nectarine. You can try too. They will look amazing I think.

For the fresh Strawberry and Fruit Spread Filled Mini Puffs :

I had some leftovers from the Pastry sheet used by the food monster so I used that to make a few of these fruity delights. I rolled the dough into a flat sheet and cut out a few circles slightly larger then the muffin hole. you can make them into squares too or like an overlapping pocket well. I didn’t decorate the edges but you must mold the top edges into fluted design. It looks very pretty.

Then I prepared a sauce made with fresh strawberries, sugar and whole strawberry fruit preserve. Preserves are very versatile and the sauce came out delicious.

Just cut the fresh ripe strawberries and drizzle some sugar on them and let them macerate for approx 20 min. Now microwave some fruit preserve till it bubbles. Take it out and add the fresh strawberries.

Place the pastry circles in the muffin cups without flattening the puffy texture and poke some holes at the bottom of the shell with a fork so that it doesn’t rise while baking. Pour the fruit mixture in it. Bake for 30 minutes on middle rack  at 180 degrees. The shell should become golden in colour.

You can pour this fruit mixture to make puff pastry pockets,  tiny tartlets. pinwheels, pies or even a little galatte . I will do that soon, so watch this pace.

You can even bake the tart shells separately and simply spoon this lovely berrilicious mix and top it with some whipped cream before serving.

Overall, we had a great day experimenting with the frozen puff pastry sheets. Next time there will be some more great things and better pictures. 🙂 Till then, keep experimenting and exploring.

 

Rum Balls With Chocolate Ganache


Boozy Chocolate Ganache

There is nothing more beautiful and heart warming than to watch your sons cook up a chocolate storm in the kitchen. Yesterday both the young men officially kicked off the holiday season with Chocolate Ganache rum balls. All I did was watch and eat the sinfully loaded goodies. of course, I helped them clean up the stuff.

There was a time when my kitchen would smell of Christmas baking and four little hands would help me make the delicacies. Roles change with time but the warmth and love of bonding over cooking in the kitchen remains the same. That is true love – for food and for each other.

Chocolate ganache is easy and tough at the same time. Simple ingredients and quick to make, this beautiful glaze can be used for anything from truffles, cakes, bread / cookie spread, cup cake filling. We used it to spread over the tasty coconut macaroons.

Coconut Macaroons with Rummy Chocolate Ganache

You just need to keep in mind two important things while making ganache- temperature and proportion. For layering you need to take 1:1 equal proportion of cream and chocolate, for filling it will be 2:1 ( two part chocolate one part cream) and if you want it as a pouring glaze just make the proportion 1:2 (one part chocolate two part cream) It is that simple.

There is no need to simmer or boil the cream, it should be hot enough to melt the chocolate. Use a rich dark chocolate for the ganache.

Usually heavy cream is the best but here I have used fresh cream with semi sweet very dark chocolate.

To make a  voluptuous chocolate ganache you will need :

Dark chocolate (We used semi sweet)

Fresh or heavy/ double cream

Salt – one pinch

coffee powder – 1 teaspoon

Pure Vanilla – 1 teaspoon

butter – 1 tablespoon

Weigh the chocolate and cream to 2:1 proportion so that you have a thick voluptuous ganache.

In a heavy bottom saucepan heat the cream ( do not boil) on low-medium heat.

While the cream is heating, chop the chocolate with a serrated knife into very fine pieces.

Add butter salt and vanilla to the cream and turn off the heat once the cream is heated properly.

Add the chocolate and let it stand for a few minutes for the chocolate to melt properly.

With a kitchen whisk,  blend the ganache slowly until it comes together in a creamy glossy mass.

To use this for making the rum balls or truffles you will need to set the pan in the refrigerator so the ganache cools down completely. Take out the pan every fine minutes and stir to let it cool evenly. It will go from soft to hard quickly so if if that happens simmer it over hot water for a few seconds.

Basically you will need to perfect the recipe by trial and error.

To use it for the frosting for a cake, let the ganache cool completely and whip it with a spatula or wooden spoon until it is light and fluffy. About 1-2 minutes.

We added Old monk dark rum to the ganache (about 2 tablespoons) before setting it in fridge for using later for rum balls.

Rum Balls With boozy Chocolate Ganache

Traditionally the rum balls or truffle balls were made with biscuits and nuts. I have had some awesome Danish rum balls (Rumkuglers) and trust me no other thing in the world can beat them in richness of flavour and texture.

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I love the hands smeared in chocolate, the aroma of dark rum and freshly baked cake for putting together of one of my favourite truffles. I prefer them without any nuts.

Here we used a 8 inch Devil’s Food cake to make them. (1/2 kg cake) . You can use any other cake of your choice. An old pound cake or a fruit cake that you have had enough of should do. This is one of the good ways to use leftover cakes

The moist, rich cake was cooled completely before it was crumbled.

Add about 30 ml of dark rum to it and let it soak for say about 10 minutes.

Into the cake crumble went a handful of  raisins and dried blackberries soaked in 20 ml of dark rum (including the liquid) and 1/2 cup of chocolate ganache.

Rum balls are supposed to have a potent taste of rum, that’s the way we love them. It is sinfully boozy and chocolaty.

In went 1/2 cup of grind mix of nut to this. Walnuts, pecans go well.

Everything was mixed well and the mixing bowl was then covered with a plastic wrap.

The mixture was left to cool in fridge for an hour.

Now to make the balls :

Make small or large balls with the dough and coat them with more ganache or thick melted chocolate/ molasses and then roll them on desiccated coconut/ chocolate rice, sprinklers / mix ground roasted nuts for a decorative layering or keep them plain like I did.

Place the balls on a parchment paper and put them in the fridge.

You can also roll the dough into a small logs and cover them in marzipan and dip the ends in melted chocolate to make rum logs.

You can use cocoa powder and any fruit jam / honey / golden syrup/ corn syrup / for binding

Also,  you can use Brandy, Bourbon instead of dark rum but there is a reason these are called Rum Balls 🙂

Enjoy them fresh or freeze them for later use. The rum balls stay good for 10-15 days in fridge. That is if they aren’t gobbled up sooner than you can blink your eyes.

Hope some of you will try this and do not forget to let me know your experience. These rum balls are midway between the solid rum truffles and Christmas pudding. They are soft and moist. One can make the other variation just by adjusting the proportions. I prefer the melt in the mouth texture. 🙂

Happy Holidays.  

 

 

Drunk Coconut Macaroons

 

 

Recipe – Whole Wheat Banana Nut Bread In a Mug


Moist and delicious banana bread  infused with the flavor of sweet banana and the goodness of whole wheat and organic jaggery  is not just nutritious  but also simple to put together. It is also the best way to use the over ripe bananas unless of course you blend them into a smoothie. You do not need a fancy mix for this fluffy bread. I usually bake it in the oven but the idea of a single serve banana bread cake in a mug is super awesome and a must try.

One can use Finger Millet instead of wheat or even almond flour and voila! you have a gluten free banana bread. I used organic jaggery granules, a healthier option than refined sugar. Now, we all know the benefits of all these ingredients so I won’t go into that here. Don’t be shy to ask mother Google. 🙂

You can add your choice of nuts (walnuts pair best with bananas). I have used sun dried blackberries instead of raisins/sultanas in this recipe. Just a handful. Some people add chocolate chips too but I do not not like to mix the two strong flavours. I feel chocolate masks banana’s delicate flavor.

So let us fill the warmth of holiday cheer in the house and start making this wonder bread in a mug.  Yes, you can whip up this goodness in just a bowl or directly into the microwave safe mug.

 

Ingredients :

1 over ripe banana ( 3 full tablespoons of mashed banana approx)

3 tablespoon organic jaggery granules

3 tablespoon whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 medium size egg

pure vanilla –  few drops

A pinch of salt

2 pinches of fresh cinnamon powder

choice of nuts/raisins/berries/chocolate chips etc (all optional)

Method :

Dry roast the flour on low heat till it gives a roasted aroma and the wheat turns light brown in color. ( this is optional step. You can use the wheat flour without roasting too but this step makes the bread more flavorful)

Mash an over ripe banana and dry roast the nuts you are using. Crush them a little.

Mix together , wheat flour, baking powder, cinnamon powder and salt in a bowl.

Add a lightly beaten egg, mashed banana, roasted crushed nuts, raisins/berries/sultanas, vanilla, jaggery and mix well with a fork or small whisk. Make sure that the jaggery melts. You can keep the mashed banana chunky or smooth as per your liking.

Now take a microwave safe mug and spray it with some cooking oil or just rub a little butter to grease the mug.

Spoon the batter into the mug and tap it gently on the counter. Add some roasted crushed walnuts and dried berries / raisins on top.

Place the mug on a saucer and into the microwave for 90 seconds. Keep the mug in the center of the microwave plate. You will see the bread rise as it bakes.

Check by inserting a tooth pick if the bread is done. If not give a few more seconds. The time may vary depending on the microwave and the mug you are using. It is tough to standardize these recipes.  you will get the hang of it. Don’t overcook. Check after a minute.

Be careful as the mug bread will be hot at the surface. Let it rest for a few seconds. I know it will be tough not to dig in as the aroma is truly tempting. 🙂

You can replace the jaggery with brown sugar or white sugar but the consistency may differ. Same with the use of flour.

Double the quantity if you want to share it with someone special.

 

Top it with sifted confectioner’s sugar, have it with a dollop of rich coffee ice cream or just enjoy the sweet banana infused wonder as it is.

Check out my other microwave mug cake recipes.

They are super quick and sumptuous.

Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

Peanut Butter And Jelly Mug Cake


Peanut butter jelly mug cake

When you have jars full of freshly made peanut butter and guava jelly you can’t resist to try a few recipes with them. I love PBJS and while munching on a such delicious sandwich I decided to explore the idea of a mug cake with these two favorites. Now, I have used peanut butter / jelly in cup cakes previously as a filling or as a base ingredient but not in a 2 minute microwave mug cake so the thought was exciting enough to explore a good recipe. We don’t always invent our own recipes, sometimes we explore tried and tested recipes of other bakers and add our twist to them.  Grain free peanut butter and jelly mug cake  sounded interesting and I looked it up. She had used maple syrup and spooned jelly on top but I had another plan. I omitted maple syrup and sugar and added jelly in the mix plus on the top as garnish. The result was as mind blowing as the original recipe. Those who are passionate about PB  and Jelly can never go wrong, can they? 🙂  So, a big thank you to Alyssa for this treat.

So, this is how I did it.

Ingredients :

3 tablespoon – homemade smooth peanut butter ( Natural, no added oil)

3 tablespoon –  homemade guava jelly

1/2 teaspoon – vegetable oil (I used Saffola gold)

1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla ( not extract)

1 large egg

1 tablespoon toned milk ( I used Mother Dairy)

1/4 teaspoon normal baking powder  (you can use gluten free to make it completely grain free)

Method : 

In a bowl, mix peanut butter, milk, egg, vanilla, oil, baking powder and one tablespoon jelly until there are no lumps left and the mixture is smooth in texture. (I don’t mix the ingredients directly in the mug for any mug cake)

Pour half of the mixture in a microwave safe mug. Always use a large mug to avoid spill. Keep a saucer under the mug if you think the mixture may spill.

Now add one tablespoon of jelly and pour the rest of the mixture. Tap the mug lightly on the counter and microwave it for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes or until done. Time may vary according to the type of mug and microwave. Do check after 11/2 minutes.

Serve it warm with a little more jelly on the top.

You can use any any jelly in this recipe.  My peanut butter had salt so I did not add more. Sweetness came from the jelly so no added sugar.

Enjoy this light, fluffy and flavorful mug cake anytime of the day. Pairs best with a hot mug of black coffee.

I never buy peanut butter from the market but if you do try to get one with no sugar and added oil. Or just try my recipe from the link above. 🙂 It is easy and healthy.

Bon appetit 

 

 

Recipe – Pudding In A Mug


A warmly spiced, dense bread pudding in a mug is all you need to satisfy winter afternoon sweet cravings. I love the classic bread pudding though these days I make various versions of it with different flavours. A ninety minutes oven baked recipe that was part of my growing up has become a two minute wonder since the microwave came into our lives. Although the  pudding tastes exactly like the baked one somewhere my old-fashioned self still prefers the slow release of fragrances drifting from the kitchen.

Classic Bread Pudding | Chocolate Bread Pudding | Applesauce Bread Pudding

Pudding in mug is a boon for those who either don’t have the time to bake or don’t have the facility. I have tried the steamed version also and it is equally good.

I remember as a child mom would make a quick fix called ‘mumum’ – a simple gruel of toasted bread cooked in milk with sugar, sprinkled with a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg powders. We would dig into it with great pleasure. Slowly that mushy warm sweet got a makeover with eggs, raisins, vanilla and other flavours and became a much sought after dessert. Cakes were all fine and dandy but bread pudding was a dessert with a soul. Something that smelt of ‘home’.

Since last few days I have been spending my free time indulging in mug cakes and puddings. There are so many variations that one can make but here are three of my favourites.

A delicious bread pudding with apple sauce topped with some fragrant apple-spice to satiate your craving for both apple pie mix and pudding. A double bonanza.

Another with Irish chocolate chunks and dry fruits. One can use any chocolate and also soak in raisins in bourbon whiskey to make it a tipsy pudding.

The third is a Classic Old Fashioned Bread Pudding with walnut, raisins, spices and vanilla.

These mug puddings certainly bring on a nostalgia like nothing else and are the ultimate comfort food that can be made in a jiffy with simple ingredients from your kitchen.

You can always experiment with the old fashioned one by adding dried berries, sultanas, orange peel julienne, lemon zest , lemon or orange extracts or any other flavours that you like. There is no set rule for a delightful pudding in a mug.

Preparing The Pudding In A Mug

The Magical Microwave

For an Old Fashioned Bread Pudding in mug you need:

Ingredients – 2 slices of bread ( stale is better. Use any bread of your choice. I used the white bread.)  1 medium egg, pinch of cinnamon powder, pinch of nutmeg powder, pure vanilla or vanilla essence 1/4 tsp (optional) . handful of sultanas/raisins walnuts, sugar- 2 tablespoons, milk – 2 tablespoons( 1/3 cup), 1 tablespoon butter. And a microwave friendly Mug.

Method – Lightly grease the mug with some oil. Cut the bread slices into squares and line them in the mug. Layer them with  the dry fruits of your choice (I used raisins and crushed walnuts) . Fill the mug till 3/4.

Now,  whisk an egg with sugar will creamy. Make sure the sugar dissolves completely, add milk, spice mix and vanilla and stir till everything is homogeneously combined. Pour this custard sauce over the bread cubes till the top. Sprinkle some more spice mix and toss a few raisins. Let it soak for a minute or two, pat some butter on top and then put the mug in the center of the microwave plate. Cook uncovered on high for 90 seconds. ( The microwave time may vary a little depending on the voltage. Check to see if there is any liquid left. If yes, then cook again for 30 second burst (10 sec each) till the custard is fully set. If you see the pudding rising up in the mug then it is done.

Take out and eat warm with your favorite topping of whipped cream /maple or golden syrup. I prefer the pudding plain.

For the Applesauce Bread Pudding variation just add 2 tablespoons of unsweetened applesauce and apple-pie spice mix to the the basic recipe. Layer it in the middle of bread cubes. You can alternately add small cubes of apple too. Garnish the top of the pudding with some more cubes of the fruit sprinkled with apple pie spice mix. For this I caramelize the apple. It gives a unique flavour to the pudding. You can alternately use pear cubes too but I prefer apple bread combo. Pear tastes best in mug cakes.

The apple pie spice mix has cinnamon, nutmeg, dry ginger, all spice. cloves and a dash of cardamom (optional) I don’t like cardamom in it.

For the Chocolate Bread Pudding in a mug – add cubed bread, broken chocolate pieces ( use dark chocolate for best results. (I used Irish whisky chocolate ), some cinnamon. In a bowl mix milk, egg, vanilla with a fork. Pour the custard mixture on top of the bread cubes. Throw in some raisins. Let it rest for one minute and add a dab of butter. Microwave it for 90 sec or till the custard is set. Pour some chocolate sauce or salted caramel sauce over the pudding before eating. I did not use the caramel sauce in this as the chocolate flavour was intense. Instead, I used it in the classic pudding in a bowl which I made from rest of the leftover bread.

The Coffee Cinnamon and Raisin eggless  bread pudding 

 

This version has no eggs. I used the full cream milk with the top cream which was perhaps 2 tablespoon for one mug cake. 1/4 teaspoon of Nescafe and a pinch or two of cinnamon plus a handful of raisins. Method of preparation is the same.

Classic Pudding with caramel sauce in bowl. Just for the road.

One For The Road

TIPS- 

(You can use white granulated sugar, muscovado sugar, light or dark brown sugar, toned or full cream milk and any bread of your choice. The french breads taste best)

You can add fruits like apple, pear etc to the basic pudding like I did in a few. They taste yum. Chocolate chunks too make it heavenly. Soak the raisins/sultanas/dried berries in milk or whiskey so they become plump and nice. Dry ones are good too but the swollen ones taste better.

Use the sign of the pudding crawl out up to  at least 1/2 inch  outside the mug to know the dish is done perfectly.

Never be afraid to fill the mug till top and things settle down a lot once the bread soaks the liquid. I fill the usual coffee mug a little above 3/4.

Do adjust the cooking time according to your microwave type and bread type. Usually for me it takes about 90 sec to 2 minutes.

Use wide mugs if possible bu taller ones also work fine.

Enjoy these bread puddings and share your versions with me.

Devil’s Food Cake Layered With Sweet Cherry Sauce


A few days back I made the warm cherry sauce from a mixed bunch of black and ruby-red cherries. It was an instant hit with everyone. Over dollops of vanilla ice cream the sauce finished in no time but the longing lingered and to satiate that I decided to do a rich, moist Devil’s food Cake filled with cherry sauce. Cherries are plentiful in the market and I got myself a box at an affordable price.

I made two exceptions with this cake , one I did not do the luscious chocolate, or mocha frosting nor the vanilla buttercream frosting. I reserve frosting for occasions only. I love the basic flavour of dark chocolate and cherries on their own, unmasked by any other thing. So this was a tenderly delicious, sinful summer treat. As there wasn’t going to be any topping or frosting I left the top layer as it is. No smoothing or leveling. It was a double 8″ cake with cherry sauce filling between the two cakes. The very thought of it is making me drool. Let me have a bit as the picture loads. .. Be right back .

This is my recipe for warm cherry sauce. Make a generous amount. Use it lavishly.

To make the Devil’s Food Cake :

Ingredients –

All purpose flour / cake flour – 2 cups

Cocoa Powder – 1/2 Cup

Brown Sugar – 1/2 Cup ( Light or Dark)

Powdered Sugar – 1/2 Cup

Baking Soda- 1/2 teaspoon

Baking Powder – 1/2 teaspoon

Unsalted Butter –

Salt – 1/2 teaspoon

Pure Vanilla or extract – 1 teaspoon

Boiling Water – 1 cup

Eggs – 2

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Method –

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and butter the two cake tins. Sprinkle a little flour on the base and sides if you don’t have parchment paper. Keep aside.

In a bowl mix the cocoa and brown sugar. Add recently boiled water and stir it into a nice mixture. Keep aside.

Sieve together flour, baking powder and baking soda in a bowl.

In a mixing bowl, add butter and powdered sugar and cream them together with a hand mixer till fluffy.

Now at this point add vanilla and drop a whole egg into it. Beating it continuously. Quickly add a scoop of flour mixture and mix it properly so the flour gets incorporated nicely.

Add the other egg and mix. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix till the battler is smooth and nice. Now add the cocoa mixture slowly into the batter and gently let the mixer blend  in into a nice chocolaty dark fantasy. Don’t get distracted by the heavenly aroma. Make sure you get all the mixture from the bowl from a spatula. (You can also lick the remaining mixture with your fingers. I do. 🙂 )

Now the luscious cake batter is ready to go into cake tins. Pour it gently into the tins. About two third high. Leave some place for the cake to rise.

Place the tins in the pre heated oven and bake at 180 degrees Celcius for thirty minutes or till the toothpick comes out clean. ( I don’t have fancy cake testers etc. )

Once baked, take the tins out on  wire rack to cool. I usually leave the tins in the oven after switching it off for a little while ( say about 10 min) before removing.

Once perfectly cooled you can do two things. Either cut one of the cake horizontally with a serrated knife and do the filling in that. Leaving the other cake for some other filling or for just enjoying it with no added flavours Or take the slightly larger cake and smoothen its top with a knife. You can turn it upside down also but I scrapped the top off and put the crumbs in the saucepan in which cherrysauce was made, to clean it off.I ate it with vanilla ice cream.

Make the cherry sauce as given in the recipe in the link above. Keep aside to cool. (Keep an eye on the lurking devil’s trying to take a dip into the cake batter and the sauce. I had a young adult looking for every opportunity to gobble up stuff before it reached its final destination. ) 😀

Lavishly spread the cherry sauce on top of the cake. Spreading it from center to sides. Now place the other cake on top of it.

If you want to keep it in the fridge use a cling foil wrap to cover the cake properly so that it doesn’t become dry. You can bake the cake and frost it the next day. Keep the cake loosely covered in a plastic wrap. It can stay for 4-5 days like this if unlayered, layered cake will stay for a day or two nicely.

You can use black coffee instead of water.

Use any frosting of your choice.

You can also make one cake with cherry sauce and the remaining batter can be poured into muffin tins and you will have rice devilish cakes to carry with you or steal when midnight hunger pangs keep you awake.

The possibilities are endless. Have fun. 🙂

When serving, bring it out to room temperature and serve with generous helping of vanilla ice cream. You can grate some dark chocolate over the dollops of ice cream.

Hope you enjoy this heavenly Devil’s Food Cake with cherry sauce filling. 

Bon Appetit

Recipe – Nectarine Filled Vanilla Sponge Cake


 

So after making the delicious compote I still had some juicy Nectarines left. Cakes filled with seasonal fruits have always been my favorite.  So here is a simple recipe for a soft golden vanilla flavored sponge cake filled with rose-tinted Nectarines.

Choosing the fruit:

Pick up fresh firm fruit that is ripe and not bruised. It should yield when touched slightly.

Preparing the fruit:

Wash  the fruit and cut it in slices. Remove the stone. Place the slices in cold water.

Ingredients:

Flour – 200 grams

Eggs  4

Melted butter (room temperature)- 200 grams

Sugar – 200 grams

Vanilla Essence – 1 teaspoon

Nutmeg – 1/4 teaspoon

Cinnamon – 1 teaspoon

Baking Powder – 1 teaspoon

Nectarines – 6 small or 3 big ones

Method :

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees.

Grease an eight inch pan with some butter and dust with a little flour . Keep aside.

Sieve flour and baking powder. Keep aside

Separate the egg yolks and whites in two bowls.

In a bowl beat the butter and sugar till they mix well and make a smooth paste.

Add one yolk at a time into the mixture and keep beating in both directions for one min each.

Add Vanilla essence, nutmeg and cinnamon and mix well.

Now, beat the egg whites till frothy and light. (It should form peaks)

Add this to the other mixture slowly and fold it in with a wooden spoon.

Once the mixture is smooth and nice add the flour slowly in two batches folding it gently till the batter is mixed well.

Take the greased tin  sprinkle some brown sugar and line some sliced fruit in it then gently pour half the batter in it.

Make another layer of the fruit and pour the rest of the batter on top of it.

Level the top with the back of the spoon.

Place the tin in the center of the oven for 30 min or till the needle comes out clean.

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Once the cake it done and the needle test comes out clean let it rest on the rack for sometime to cool.

Use the knife to loosen the edges and your cake it ready to eat. Serve warm or cold with whipped cream or Vanilla ice cream.

The lip smacking moist cake may not be pretty to look at but it is full of fruity tangy sweet flavors in each bite. I kept the cake for at least two days in the fridge and thought it tasted better than the day it was made.

Try this fruitilicious recipe and let me know how it was received.

Do read the Nectarine Compote Recipe Here