Cinnamon French Toast With Citrus Mango Compote


I am a huge fan of french toasts of all kinds but fruit filled ones top my list. I also love to indulge in  toppings made from fresh fruits for french toasts, pancakes and crepes. These french toasts are not for dieters.  Hot from the skillet with a soft thick center and crispy edges these french toasts make a good breakfast or brunch dish. I also feed the four PM hunger pangs with these.

The compote is quick to make and the divine taste of Indian ripe mangoes is decadent.  Put generous amount over the cinnamon flavored french toasts or fill the  toasts with the compote and drizzle some of the liquid from the compote over the stuffed french toasts for a more sinful dish. 

The fresh Malta fruit ( kind of blood orange from the hills of Uttrakhand in India) adds a refreshing tang to the compote along with a little lime and ginger juice. The zest of the fruits goes in the egg bath or the custard. Ginger juice, cayenne pepper enhance the flavors just right.

Overall it is a fabulous combination of flavors and textures.

Use a stale, sturdy, dense bread ( a day or two old) for making these french toast. A french loaf, challah or baguette would be perfect. Cut them into thick slices so the bread soaks good amount of egg mixture without being soggy. The bread needs some heft to hold the milk and egg mix. One inch thick is fine. Two inch for stuffed ones. If the bread is fresh the m dry it out for sometime in oven before dipping them.

These loafs are also good for the stuffed french toast as one can make a nice pocket to fill each toast.  Never settle for soggy and squishy french toasts.

But, if you don’t have any of them and want to use the white bread then toast it up before dunking in the egg bath. You will need to layer the filling between two slices before dunking.

Here are two versions of french toasts with citrus mango compote.

I have used a usual white bread here. The recipe is for 2 people.

Stuffed Cinnamon French Toast 

Mango Compote  – For filling and Topping

Bread – 4 slices (I have used a two day old white bread here)

Cinnamon –  1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Eggs – 2

Condensed Milk + Normal full cream milk  – 1/3 cup

( usually I take four tablespoons of condensed milk (milkmaid) and two tablespoons of creamy full fat milk)

Malta fruit Zest – 1/2 teaspoon

Salt- 1/4 teaspoon ( if not using salted butter)

Butter and oil  for frying

I don’t add vanilla to retain the flavor of fruits but if you like it add 1/2 a teaspoon

Steps- 

In a shallow bowl make the custard or egg bath for the french toast. Whisk together eggs, milk, cinnamon and zest of Malta fruit . You don’t need to froth the eggs. Just blend well so everything is incorporated well.

Keep your mango compote ready for filling. You can make it fresh or use a previously made too.

Take four thick slices of bread.  Toast and lightly butter them on both sides. I don’t trim the edges. You can use cream cheese too.

Heat a skillet properly on medium heat. Keep it ready for use. You can use electric griddle or oven too.

For normal white bread – On one side spread a few spoonful of mango compote filling and press the other slice on top of it. Prepare two such sandwiches. (Make the other one once the first is cooked and ready). I used white bread so those who don’t get the other loafs don’t feel left out. 🙂

For the french loaf etc –  Cut a 2 inch thick slice and make a 3-4 inch incision halfway into the slice so a pocket is formed. Fill the compote into it. One end should be sealed.

Now the steps are quick or the bread will start falling apart.

Place the sandwich in a shallow plate and spoon the egg custard mix over it till it is properly soaked. Dunking is difficult with the filled one.

Add some butter and oil mix on to hot skillet and place the soaked sandwich in it. Oil prevents butter from burning.

Keep the heat medium low so we get nicely crisp and cooked french toast. No one likes burnt ones.

Cook on one side till it is nicely browned and crisp then flip gently to cook the other side. (2-3 minutes)

Press the sandwich lightly with slotted spatula to make it cook well.

Add more butter+oil mix if the skillet is drying up. Don’t hesitate to be generous. We aren’t dieting here.

Keep a serving plate ready. Place the Lovely citrus mango compote filled french toast in the plate and dust with icing sugar or top with compote sauce and some more pieces of fruit.

Dig in when it is still hot and crisp. Repeat steps for the next one.

You can keep one french toast warm in oven at 200 degrees F while you make the other.

Cinnamon French Toast with Just the topping 

Alternately, you can skip the filling and dunk each bread in the gg bath till it is fully coated then shallow fry in the hot skillet. Keep the french toast warm in 200 degree F oven and once all are made, cut them in triangles or keep them whole when you plate them. Top the crisp french toasts with lavish amount of compote and dig in when hot. you can serve it with a dollop of creme fraiche too.

I just can’t have enough of these lovely french toasts bursting with summer flavors.

The trick is to keep it simple. Too many flavors spoil the taste. On the other hand dash of Spiced rum, Bourbon and Grand Mariner add perfect taste to the french toasts.

I use less  or no sugar as the mangoes are super sweet and condense milk is sweet too. No maple syrup or honey drizzle is needed.

Enjoy ! 

 

 

 

 

 

Risalamande – The Traditional Danish Rice Pudding With Cherry Sauce


A casual conversation about the similarities in world cuisine lead to a discussion about rice puddings made across the globe, our own chawal ki kheer (Rice Kheer), Phirni, payasam and other variations. I loved the idea of traditional Danish rice puddings with fresh vanilla, almonds and whipped cream which is served on Christmas eve as a dessert in Denmark and most of the Nordic and European countries. Delicately sweet and creamy, this pudding is served with warm cherry sauce as topping.

Risalamande gets its name after the French ris à l’amande which typically means Rice and Almonds which are the two main ingredients of this dessert.

A day before Christmas the Danish families prepare risengrød or the rice pudding and then on the eve of the Christmas day the leftover of the pudding is used as Risalamande by adding whipped cream, almonds and cherry sauce to it.

There are some interesting traditions associated with the desserts like hiding a whole almond in the dish apart from flaked or chopped almonds which are mixed in the pudding. Whoever finds the almond gets a marzipan pig and a special gift. The person who gets the almond usually saves it till the whole pudding is redounded by everyone in search of the prized almond and then in the end he/she reveals it.

Cherries are in season here and I decided to make this lovely dessert for a special occasion at home. You can use the readymade cherry sauce too but the sight of bright red sauce bubbling away in the pot is unmatched. I loved the contrast of chilled pudding and warm sauce. Absolutely delicious.This is the second time I made cherry sauce and my first of Risalamande.

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

For the rice pudding or  Risengrød :

Short Grain Rice – 1 cup  ( I used broken basmati rice but you can use sushi rice or pudding rice too)

Water – 1/2 Cup

Whole Full Cream Milk – 1 liter

Sugar – 2-3 Tablespoon ( You can use Vanilla Sugar or Cinnamon sugar too)

To make Risalamande :

Vanilla Beans – 1-4 ( I used 1 teaspoon pure Vanilla Extract)

Almonds (Blanched) – 100 gms (Chopped and 1 whole)

Whipped Cream  –  11/2 Cups

For Cherry Sauce :

Frozen or Fresh Sweet Cherries – 2 Cups (Stems and pits removed)

Water – 1/2 Cup

Granulated Sugar –  1/2 Cup

Lemon Juice –  1 tablespoon

2 tablespoons of corn starch mixed with 2 tablespoons of cold water

Vanilla extract – 1 teaspoon (Optional)

Steps :

Rice Pudding for Risalamande : 

The traditional Risengrød or the rice pudding usually has salt and doesn’t have whipped cream, almonds and vanilla so when making for rasalamande we omit the salt and add the three other ingredients.

  1. Pour water and rice in a medium heavy bottom pot, cover the lid and let it boil for a 2-3 minutes.
  2.  Now add the milk and let it come to a boil while stirring continuously.
  3. Slit and scrape the vanilla seeds from the beans and add to the milk also add the empty beans and let it simmer for 40-45 minutes or until the pudding is well cooked.
  4. The rice has a tendency to stick to the pot and burn so stirring constant stirring is essential. Keep the flame low.
  5. Once the rice is cooked properly add the sugar and stir. It will make the mixture a little watery but don’t worry as we will simmer it some more. You can use plain white sugar or cinnamon sugar as per your taste.
  6. Cover the pudding with lid for the last 15 min and keep the flame very low or the pudding will burn.
  7. Turn off the stove and remove the vanilla beans from the pudding.
  8. Let it come to room temperature and then transfer it into a  serving dish or tupperware box and refrigerate overnight or for several hours until it is chilled.
  9. Once the pudding is chilled take it out and break it up with a spoon.
  10. In a bowl take the almonds and pour hot water over them. Let them soak for 5-10 minutes.
  11. Take the almonds one by one and press between the two fingers so that the skin separates from the nuts.
  12. Coarsely chop them and mix in the chilled pudding. Add vanilla extract now if you are not using the vanilla beans.
  13. In a bowl take the whipping cream and sugar and beat with a hand mixer till you achieve peaks.
  14. Add half of the cream in the pudding and stir well. Fold in rest of the whipped cream in small amounts till a creamy texture is achieved.
  15. Keep the pudding aside in the fridge.
  16. The pudding is low on sweetness as we will add the gorgeous sweetness of cherry sauce on it.

Now to make Cherry Sauce :

In a medium saucepan add washed, pitted cherries, sugar,and  water. Keep it on a medium heat. You can add a vanilla bean if desired but I don’t as it masks the taste of the cherries. Don’t forget to remove the stems.

Let the mixture simmer till the cherries are tender.

Stir in the lemon juice.

Remove any froth that comes on the top.

Combine the corn starch in cold water and whisk it properly. Add to the sauce and stir.

Bring the sauce to a boil and remove the vanilla bean if using.

Simmer till the sauce is thick enough to cover the back of a metal spoon.

Remove from heat and it is ready to serve with the rice pudding.

Add a little pudding in a bowl/ short glass/ ice cream goblet and top it up with generous amount of Fresh warm cherry sauce before serving.

Don’t forget the hide the whole almond in one of the servings of in the main pudding bowl just for fun.

Enjoy the rich, creamy pudding with the warm cherry sauce on the side.

 

 

 

 

 

Chilling With Mangoes – A wholesome Parfait & Smoothie


I love fruit desserts especially those made with yogurt. These days mangoes are in season and the intense heat has added more sweetness to them. I bought a dozen of Kesar variety a few days ago and they were insanely sweet. Here are two healthy recipes to beat the sticky summer heat. The ingredients are the same but the tastes are different. Also, sometimes one wants to drink something refreshing yet nutritious rather than eat. So, we have two healthy choices here -A parfait and A Smoothie.

So, what’s different in this Mango Yogurt Parfait?

We are all familiar with overnight Oats and fruit Parfaits but here is a desi and healthy twist to that recipe with the lusciousness of mangoes and flattened/Beaten Rice or poha soaked in home cultured yogurt and lightly flavored. Enjoy this highly nutritious parfait as a dessert or a main breakfast dish to kick start your day.This recipe is inspired by blogger Sangeeta Khanna’s mango poha.

Flattened rice or poha is prebiotic and probiotic apart from being a rich source of many nutrients. It is easy to digest too.  I have more poha recipes on blog which you can explore and enjoy. Write ‘poha’ in the search tab and you will have them all.

 Mango Yogurt Parfait with Beaten Rice Flakes or Poha 

I can bet that once you have this refreshing Parfait you are surely gonna make it again. Choose ripe, juicy, fragrant mangoes and home cultured yogurt to reap the maximum nutritional benefits.

Ingredients :

  1. Chill the glasses in the fridge before assembling this versatile Parfait.
  2. Whip the yogurt with honey and chill it. That will make it an instant eat.
  3. Dry poha needs to be rinsed under filtered water in sieve and kept for sometime to
  4. Mix the soaked poha or flattened rice flakes in it. Mash and mix properly. Keep it in the fridge to puff up more and chill.
  5. In the mango puree add ginger juice and cardamom powder. Mix well. Chill.
  6. Now, take the serving glass or goblet and carefully put two spoons of mango puree in it then add a layer of yogurt poha mix. Alternate layers Till you reach 3/4 of the glass. You can layer them as per your choice.
  7. Keep the top layer of dahi poha and Top it with generous amount of cubed and chilled mango pieces.
  8. Refrigerate your Parfait a little more to set properly.
  9. Sprinkle granola, muesli or popped amaranth seeds (ramdana) or chopped nuts of your choice just before serving.
  10. Enjoy this wholesome utterly delicious healthy parfait any time of the day.

There are times when you are in rush and do not have time to relax and enjoy this Parfait but still want something healthy and filling. Don’t worry, just turn this int oa delightful chilled smoothie and drink it up.
Mango , Banana, Yogurt Smoothie 
 Freeze the fresh mango pulp and chopped bananas or even cubes of mangoes. Soak the poha in yogurt overnight in the fridge ( 2 tablespoons in 1/2 cup yogurt + 1 teaspoon of honey if required). Next morning Put everything in a blender and blend into a thick delicious smoothie. You can add or omit poha and banana. The smoothie is so versatile. Add popped ramdana (1 tablespoon if not using poha) or cooked oats .You can add explore the possibilities of tongue ticking taste by adding any other fruit with mango or nuts/ dry fruits etc.
But, I love it just like this. Too many flavors mar the delightful taste of mangoes which we don’t want. 🙂
My Tip: Brown or red poha gives it a nutty flavor and is more nutritious than the off white one. Do not go for white bleached poha. Try and used organic products. Prefer popped ramdana as topping but here I used muesli as garnish. Use organic as far as possible.
I do not use blender to puree the mango. I do it the traditional aamras way, rolling and pressing the mango between palms and, making a slit at one end to squeeze out all the pulp then mashing it nicely with hand till no lumps are left. This way the pulp has a nice texture and it gives the Parfait a unique taste too. Yes, there is distinct difference in blended pulp and hand squeezed pulp which you will notice when you have the smoothie. 🙂
Hope you will make these and let me know your feedback. So, go grab some mangoes till they last and indulge.

Easy Mango Frozen Yogurt Recipe


Delhi markets are flooded with mangoes of all sorts. The Intense summer heat turns into sweetest of mangoes.  Safeda, Kesar, Sindura, Totapari, Begampalli, Neelam and you will even get Alphonso in bigger stores. Usually I thought Dasheri came after the rains but I see cartloads of them everywhere. After the rains it will be time for delicious Chausa and Langda.

When it comes to mangoes, no one can eat just one and as summer drifts away you are left longing for more. In my childhood summer rains brought Chussi aam, a small variety which we could suck and eat in dozens. I rarely find good ones these days. 

Mangoes need to be eaten with passion and abundance. They make me nostalgic. The first flush of aam ki baur (the flowers) and its intoxicating heady fragrance filling the summer afternoons. Lazying through the  holidays under the mango trees with friends or alone with a book. Stealing the raw ones while elders snoozed.

Raw mango with chili .. the tangy hotness. In my city summer dripped in mangoes which were put in buckets or tubs filled with cold water and then relished uncut. Raw mango pickles filled the home with mouth watering delight. The rope swings on the thick branches of mango trees and the anticipation of rains. It is all so special.

Eating with bare hands is the best way to enjoy mangoes. Juice trickling down the arms.Glasses of kachchi lassi (mix of water, milk and sugar) were forced down our throats after the mango eating session. I would run away before the ritual just to retain the flavor sweet ripeness in my mouth for just a little longer.

Though I do not like mango ice cream much, I love frozen yogurt made with luscious mangoes.

I think it is the next best thing to eating fresh mangoes as fruits. Aamras and aamrakhand also are some of my favorites.

This is a simple recipe of homemade mango frozen yogurt and can be made without an ice cream maker. You can make frozen yogurt with other fruits too, Make sure to whisk the mixture every 45 minutes to ensure  rich, smooth, creamy and ice- crystal free yogurt.

Ingredients:

Good quality ripe mangoes – 2-3 (2 cup of fresh frozen mango cubes)

Regular Yogurt – 1 Cup (you can use Greek Yogurt too)

Honey – 2 table spoon

Ginger Juice – 1/4 teaspoon

Basil leaf – 1 crushed fine (optional)

Lime Juice – 1 Tablespoon

Pure Vanilla – 1 teaspoon (optional)

Powdered Green Cardamom – For Garnishing

Method – 

Take good quality fully ripe mangoes. Wash, peel and cube them. Freeze in a zip lock bag. You can use frozen fresh whole mango also or avoid freezing altogether. Exploring new ideas is the key to amazing recipes. 🙂

Now take a liquidizer or blender and put the frozen mango cubes into it. Process it in the blender till a smooth creamy pulp is achieved. Add yogurt, honey, Vanilla, lime juice, ginger juice and a crushed basil leaf. Ginger and basil leaf are optional. I love the sting it gives to the yogurt. (I rarely add vanilla as it masks the flavor and fragrance of the mangoes but a few people love it so ahead and make two variations. )

Honey instead of sugar is a good idea as liquid sugar doesn’t allow ice-crystal formation and it also makes the yogurt super smooth and easy to scoop.

Blend the mixture for 2-3 minutes till the mixture is creamy and fluffy. Stop once in between to scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl so that it blends evenly.

Process it for another minute or two and then scoop it out in a chilled freezable container. I used an airtight plastic container but metal container is the best if you have one. I sometimes use the cake tin or the bread tin. In that case I use cling wrap to cover. The cling wrap should touch the mixture to avoid formation of ice crystals.

Otherwise, if using a plastic container with lid, close it tightly before putting it away in the freezer for 45 minutes.

You can add raisins in the yogurt like I did along with some green cardamom powder.

After 45 minutes, use a spatula to scrape the already frozen edges of the mixture toward the still soft center and then whisk well. If the mixture is frozen completely, cut it with a knife and churn in the blender for a minute till it breaks and becomes smooth.

Put it back in the container and return to the freezer with lid on or the cling wrap tightly covering it.

Now, keep it in the freezer for two more hours, repeating the stirring process after every 30 minutes.

Keep it in the freezer till completely frozen.

Use chilled bowls to serve it as a soft serve yogurt or scoop it with an ice cream scoop into chilled bowls.

Sprinkle powdered green cardamom and garnish with a fresh basil sprig. You can use salted pistachio shavings as garnish too.

Serve the  smooth, delicately flavored, rich frozen yogurt immediately.

 

If you keep the Frozen mixture overnight or for long hours then make sure to allow it to soften a little before serving. You can give it a light mix with spatula just before serving.

Want to be more adventurous 🙂 ? Add 2 tablespoons of Smirnoff Vodka in the mixture before you keep it for setting. It tastes divine. If you use Vodka then avoid cardamom, basil and vanilla.

This is a healthy dessert and just in case you are in a rush you can skip the freezing part and drink it up as a smoothie too. Just like our own Mango lassi. 😀

Enjoy this sinful delight and let me know if you liked it. The color difference in the photographs is due to my silly phone camera and lighting. Please ignore. :p

Tip- The fully ripe mango will have a heady sweet fragrance. Look for the unblemished fruit and a little part of the stalk should be attached to the fruit which ensures that it has ripened naturally. The area around the stalk shouldn’t be shriveled or sunken. My fruit vendor says we hardly get tree ripened mangoes in Delhi but do try to look for these signs and you may find the finest somewhere.

Enjoy!

 

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.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cookie Crumble Ice Cream With Chocolate Ganache


There is nothing like indulging in sinful preparations that call for chocolate, Oreo, Vanilla ice cream etc. Kid 1 @Darkequinox24 treated me to a wonderful concoction of flavors and textures today. Here is what we had on a sultry August evening.

To make this you will need :

Amul Dark Chocolate bar- 1 Big (55%cocoa)

Amul Fresh Cream – 200ml

Amul Vanilla Ice Cream – 1 liter Brick

Kraft Oreo Biscuits – Small Pack

Britannia Nutrichoice Digestive Oatmeal Biscuits – 250 gm

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To make the Ganache :
1. Heat fresh cream and a little butter in a saucepan
Add vanilla extract(optional)
2. Break the Chocolate bar into pieces.

3. Pour it over bitter chocolate and stir for a while till thick sauce forms.

4. Let it stand for 10 minutes to cool.

5. Stir with a whisk to make it smooth and shiny.

i marveled at the perfect Ganache that he made. Sneaked in to lick it off the bowl so many times. So proud of my boys.

For the Ice Cream Biscuit Mix :

6. Crumble Oreo  and crush the digestive biscuits.

7. Cut the ice cream brick and add to the biscuit mixture. Mix them well.

8. Add 30 ml whiskey\bourbon and 2 teaspoons of instant coffee in a small pot and heat. Tilt the pot a bit to flambé the mix.

To Assemble :

9. Pour it over the Ice cream and biscuit mixture and mix it  all till it forms a rich textured paste.

10. Let it chill for half an hour in the freezer.

11. To serve, make a base of Ganache and top it with the ice cream biscuit mixture. Pipe some more Ganache on top to decorate and add berries, nuts or dark chocolate biscuit crumble.

You can always use your choice of biscuits and make variations of this recipe.

Enjoy !

Quick Dessert – Poached Pears With Spices And Caramel


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Poached fruits are great quick desserts and a good way to convert ho-hum fruits into something fantastically delicious. I love the basic  sugar and water  poaching for everyday dessert because it retains the taste and delicate flavor of the fruit and isn’t loaded with heavy aromas of spices or other ingredients but for special occasions or if I am in a little indulgent mood I add spices, wine, caramel sauce etc according to the mood of the day.

Poaching is done at any stage of ripeness of the fruit but if you have nice and firm juicy fruit it reduces the amount of sugar/honey to be added which is good.

There are a thousand ways one can enhance poached Pears by pairing them with different ingredients. On cold winter days this is one of my favorite desserts. So, how did this idea of poached Pears pop up suddenly. I am writing about the eroticism of cooking alone or for someone special or with someone special and the I think the elegance and sensuousness of perfectly poached warm pears with  chilled vanilla ice cream or hot caramel sauce is unbeatable.  Creating something in the kitchen for me is like making love, you need to give yourself to the ingredients and let them spin the magic for a perfect orgasmic experience of a well made dish.  So here is the recipe for all of you to spice up and sweeten your winter days.

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Ingredients :

6 medium size firm plump ripe Pears of your choice

3/4 inch Ginger peeled and finely chopped

1/2 lemon

Spice mix – 4 cloves, 4 peppercorn, 2 all spice, 1 star anise (broken in half) , 1 cinnamon stick broken in half ( you can choose your own)

Honey – 2 Table spoon

Vanilla essence – 1 teaspoon or one split vanilla bean

Sugar – 1/2 cup Sugar ( you can use sugar according to the sweetness of fruit and use part white and part brown sugar or entirely use brown sugar too. Don’t use honey if using brown sugar)

Water – Just enough to cover the pears. (About four cups should do)

For caramel Sauce –

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup water

A pinch of salt

Method For Poaching Pears:

Wash and peel pears. You can keep them whole or cut them in half from top to bottom. Keep the stems so you can pick them easily.

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Scoop out the middle part with a melon scooper. ( if you are using whole pear scoop out the center from the bottom and cut it flat so it can stand on the plate.

Take a sauce pan and add water,  sugar,  add spices as it warms and bring to one boil. Squeeze lemon juice into it and remove the froth that comes up while boiling.

Add pears and cover the lid. Let it simmer on low heat now till the fruit becomes tender enough for the fork to pierce easily.

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Add honey and vanilla essence at this stage and mix. ( if using vanilla bean add with spices)

Check for tenderness of the fruit and plate those which are done.

Once all the fruit is out on the plate or Bowl let the syrup thicken a little on low heat.

Pour the syrup over the pears along with the spices.

Caramel syrup 

Take a heavy bottom pan and add sugar to it. Let it melt. Swirl the pan a few times so the sugar dissolves equally and doesn’t burn, add tap hot water to it and keep stirring till the syrup is amber gold in color. (Don’t over cook so the sugar will solidify) . Remove from heat when done. Warm the syrup when needed

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Serving

Take out the poached fruit on a plate or in a bowl pour some warm syrup over them along with the spices. Serve with chocolate sponge cake or vanilla ice cream drizzled with generous amount of the luscious caramel syrup.

Variations 

You can poach the pears in simple traditional  sugar and water style or in red wine (I use Merlot or Shiraz) and it will fill your home with an irresistible aroma that will linger in your senses for a long time. Add/remove spices as you wish. Experiment with Jaggery instead of sugar. Serve plain or with chocolate/ caramel sauce. It tastes  great with mint chocolate. I use After 8 for that. There is no limit to to what you can do. Go Indulge.

Enjoy this gorgeous treat and let me know the experience.

Recipe – Delicious Caramel Custard or Crème Caramel


 

The perfect creme caramel

Caramel Custard is one of the earliest recipes I perfected. The smooth elegant egg custard tat quivers at the slightest touch topped with soft luscious amber caramel is the most sensuous sights in the world. I started with  ramekins and slowly graduated to perfectly unmolding the caramel custard pudding from a bigger pudding pan.  Each success of a high. Making a perfect caramel sauce for topping was another thing I learnt with time. Then I learned the variations by adding orange zest , lemon zest ,  cinnamon or chocolate but the classic vanilla remains my all time favorite. Sometimes with a dash of dark rum or Bailey’s Irish Creme.

Crème caramel is the lightest of the three gorgeous custards – Crème brûlée, pot de crème and crème caramel.

Rich and creamy brûlée  is a divine dish with a sheer cracky layer of burnt caramel and can beat any desert any time but for those tender moments like mom’s 82 birthday I decided to make the lighter silkier version.

So here is my Caramel Custard recipe with some Tips. I could not take step by step pictures but I am sure this recipe will turn out perfectly for you.

Let us begin with the Ingredients

3/4 cup sugar

2 1/2 cup full cream milk

1 Teaspoon Vanilla essence

3 eggs

A little lemon juice , say just about 1/2 a teaspoon

Now the method 

To make a perfect honey colour caramel sauce with nice texture and sweetness

Take a heavy bottom steel pan (not non stick). Put it on medium flame with 1/4 cup sugar in the middle and just a little water to wet the sugar. See to it that the sugar doesn’t touch the sides of the pan. With a clean spatula evenly wet the sugar and let it boil on medium heat till it liquefies and turns slightly golden. Do not leave the pot on stove and walk away. Keep a watch and lower the heat. Stir in the mixture till it is dark amber color. Stir gently and shake the pan slightly so the sauce becomes evenly brown.

Keep the pan in which you will make the custard ready with a towel underneath. Pour the caramel evenly and turn the pan around in circular motion so that the caramel covers the base completely and then tip it slightly so the sauce touches the sides too.

Let it cool and set.

To make the luscious custard break the eggs in a mixing bowl and whisk gently. Add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and whisk again till it dissolves. Slightly temper warmed milk and vanilla essence to it and whisk again. Tempering (gradually adding hot to cold mixture) will bring their temperature together. The custard should come out suave, rich and mellow in flavour and to attain that one needs to pay attention to the proportions, temperature and timing.

Once the mixture is ready Put a double boiler or a pressure cooker with four cups of water in it on the stove. Place a ring in it so that you can put the pan on it to steam. You can also put a small bowl full of water in the cooker pan. Making custard over a water bath makes it soft and nice and shields it from harsh heat and high temperatures. Bring the water to boil and we are set to insert the custard pan in it.

Pour the custard mixture in the caramel covered pan. Cover it with an aluminium foil properly and place it on the water filled bowl inside the cooker or in the double boiler.

Place the lid but do not put the cooker whistle (if making in a pressure cooker). A good custard need gentle heat to keep the flame medium low. Caramel custard has egg whites in the base, which are full of proteins that coagulate at a lower temperature remember that.

Let it cook for about 30 minutes. You can always open the lid and test. The time depends on heat, quantity and thickness of the pan etc. To test if the custard is done gently shake the pan. If the mixture wobbles like Jelly O then it is ready. If not then put it back and let it cook for some time till you achieve the desired result.

Once cooked take out the pan and bring it to room temperature and then put it in the refrigerator. Refrigerating helps in setting the custard properly.

Unmolding the custard

Now slide  a small  knife around the custard to loosen it , pressing the custard against the side of the dish.

Hold a serving plate over the top of the pan or ramekin  and swiftly invert.

Set the plate on the counter and gently shake the pan or the ramekin to release the custard and the caramel.

 

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Some of that delicious caramel will remain sticking to the pan or ramekin 🙂

If you are not making individual custards then refrigerate the stunning ambrosia that you just dished out and make slices while serving.

You can decorate the custard with berries and other things but I don’t have patience to jazz it up. I just can not resist temptation . 😀

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Gorgeous, isn’t it ?

Dig in. 

Bon Appetit

Grilled Pineapple with Dash of Rum


I love pineapple. Sweet, juicy, delicious, it is one of the many nutritious tropical fruits. Pineapples are packed with vitamins and minerals  including vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium. It is also rich in fiber and calories. It’s low in fat and cholesterol too.

Apart from the exotic raw fruit one can always indulge in the grilled version and make it as magical as one wants. I love to flavor it with aroma of spices and toss in dark rum to jazz it up and I call them “fruit kebabs” like Nigella Lawson :p

A perfect desert after a sumptuous meal or in breakfast or maybe as an evening snack like I did.

The trick is to pick up a fragrant nice ripe golden color pineapple.  If the fruit is just a little soft to touch then that is what you are looking for. Anything green is under ripe and spotty browns are over ripe.

Now that we have picked the right fruit, lay it on a chopping board and cut off both the ends. Make it stand and cut the skin in strips. Once the fruit is skinned dice it in circles or make wedges. It is up to you whether you want to remove the core or not. This time I did not but usually I do and make wedges instead of circles.

Now, to grill the fruit you can either use the traditional grill or oven or even a non stick pan if you don not have the former two.

Here is how you do it.

Ingredients

Fresh Ripe Pineapple – 1

Dark Honey –  6 table-spoon

Cinnamon – I teaspoon

Powdered cloves – 1 /4 teaspoon

Lemon zest – I teaspoon

Dark Rum – 4 table-spoon

Method 

Prepare  the fruit as described above and collect all the ingredients at one place

all ingredients

Here you see whole cloves but you need to powder them fine.

Take honey in a mixing bowl , add cinnamon and clove powder. Place the pineapple slices or wedges  in it so they are fully covered with the marinade.

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Pineapple in Marinade

Heat the grill or oven (Preheat the grill at 400 degree Fahrenheit ) . I used a non stick pan here. Heat the pan and glaze it with a little olive oil. Arrange  the marinade pineapple slices once hot. keep the flame at medium to low as sweet things tend to burn easily.

If you are using grill or oven arrange the pieces on grill tray and close the lid.

Check  in sometime and if  both sides have a gorgeous deep golden brown tan,  remove in a serving plate.

grill in a pan

This is how it should look from both sides when grilling  in a pan.

Do not throw the remaining marinade , brush it on the top of grilled slices.

Once you have arranged the slices in a serving plate, pour the dark rum and sprinkle the lemon zest.

the sinful grilled pineapple slices

Serve hot  just as it is or with chilled yogurt or vanilla ice cream.

Variations 

Tip 1– You can use brown sugar, maple syrup, golden syrup or if you are adventurous then toss the pieces in marmalade with a little salt sprinkled over them  instead of honey and it  will blow your mind. I hate chocolate syrup with it but folks do use that too. ( too overpowering for me. Kills the natural sensuousness of the fruit)   🙂

Tip 2 –  Try using  fresh cracked black peppercorn and vodka instead of the above ingredients. It will tickle your senses like anything.  Trust me, there is nothing like a spiced up juicy sweet pineapple straight from the grill.

 Tip 3 –  You can also try salt and cayenne pepper or red chili powder too.  It rocks.

Tip 4 –  Try using wooden skewers or chopsticks for each wedge /slice . Makes it easy to eat and looks neat on a party table.

Enjoy this tropical delight and let me know your experience.

Bon Appétit

Simple Baked Apple -Recipe


I love to cook with apples and winter brings a variety of apples from Golden and green to delicious red. Apart from eating them raw I bake a variety of dishes with them like apple crumble, apple pie etc.  Some other favorites are Apple chutney and apple jam.

On a daily basis apple stew or baked apples with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream are hot favorites.

Here is a simple recipe for baked apples with spices, dry fruits, brown sugar and all.

It a quick no nonsense recipe , tried and tested in my kitchen.

Ingredients:

Apples – 2 ( I use whichever variety is available. Here I have used Golden apples)

Brown sugar-  4 table spoon (firmly packed)

Dry Fruits for filling – raisins, walnuts, dried apricots, sultanas, almond shavings

Nutmeg powder-  2 pinches

Cinnamon powder – 2 pinches

Warm water -(enough to cover the bottom of dish

Butter- I dollop for each apple

Dark rum or Whiskey- 2 table spoon (optional)

Method:

Wash and core the apples with the help of  apple corer  or with the help of knife. remove the seeds and keep the hollow approximately 1/2 to 1 inch wide. Remove the top peel for about an inch.

(Select apples which ae firm and ripe with no damage to the skin and no brown spots)

Mix all the crushed nuts , brown sugar, nutmeg powder and cinnamon powder in a bowl .

Once the filling is ready, stuff the hollow of apple with the mixture tightly and slowly pour a little whiskey or dark rum over it.

Preheat the oven to 375 degree Fahrenheit.

Prepare an oven proof dish and line the stuffed apples in it.

Top the apples with a dollop of butter and add a little warm water just enough to cover the base of the apples.

I sprinkle some brown sugar and nutmeg/ cinnamon powder mix  in it.

Place the dish in the oven and bake for 30-40 min or till the apples become tender.

Remove once done and serve in a plate with vanilla ice cream on side

This is what it will look when sliced half . If you like it a bit sweet add maple syrup or honey as per your liking.

Enjoy and let me know your experience with this delicious recipe.

BON APPETIT