Rainbow Cake – for a sweet birthday girl

img_9562

This is a long overdue post . A little bit of flashback before that. I had left my job due to personal reasons and was wondering how to utilise the spare time. And to almost all friends whom I  pestered with my ranting on what to do now, the answer was – ” Why don’t you start baking as a start up business? ”  I love to bake, but as a start up –  I’m apprehensive. And seeing the beautiful cakes flooding the net, I am even more petrified. But at some point you have to start … So slowly I am learning the technicalities of cake decorating, one step at a time…

The first “official order ” for cake was for our friend’s little daughter’s birthday.  And I decided to try the Rainbow Cake , which kid doesn’t like a rainbow 🙂 . Later I got worried as one cake won’t be enough for all the friends at the party and so made a Red Velvet Cake too. A selfish motive too – I  wanted people to try out my cakes and get honest feedbacks.

The birthday girl was quite thrilled to see the colourful cakes . My little happy client gave me a thank you note for bringing her the cake. How sweet … !! And as for the verdict from my friends,( or future would be clients 😀 ),  it was a thumbs up 🙂

 

layers4

Let’s move on to the recipe.  This is the same recipe for the 1-2-3-4 cake I had blogged earlier. The batter was divided into 6 parts, added different colours to each layer , poured into individual pans and baked . I could bake 2 pans at the same time , but still baking all the layers will take time. Better bake the cakes a day in advance and then do the frosting the next day .

And here’s wishing all my readers a very vibrant and joyful New Year. May all your dreams come true…

img_9567

RAINBOW CAKE

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE CAKE

  • Butter – 1 cup
  • Powdered Sugar – 2 cups
  • Flour – 3 cups
  • Egg – 4
  • Salt – ¼ tsp
  • Baking powder – 3tsp
  • Milk – 1 cup
  • Vanilla essence – 1 tsp

FOR SUGAR SYRUP

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water

FOR FROSTING

  • Whipping cream – 2 cups
  • Mascarpone cream – 250gm
  • Icing sugar – 3tbsp

METHOD

TO PREPARE THE CAKE PAN

Butter a cake pan and sprinkle about 1 tbsp of flour.  Gently toss the pan so that all sides are coated with flour.

TO MAKE THE CAKE

  1. Separate the egg yolks and whites.
  2. In  a deep bottomed bowl, beat the egg whites till they whip up. It will look like whipped cream. Keep it aside.
  3. In another deep bottomed bowl, beat butter using egg beater for 2 minutes.
  4. Add powdered sugar to the butter and beat well till it looks creamy.
  5. Add the egg yolks one by one and beat well for around 10 minutes
  6. In another bowl, sieve flour and baking powder.
  7. Mix one third of the flour mixture to the egg yolk mixture slowly using a wooden spoon.  Add one third cup of milk  and mix again. Repeat adding flour and milk alternately 2 more times.
  8. Add the vanilla essence .
  9. Add the egg white to the batter . Using a spoon slowly mix in the egg whites using the cut and fold method.
  10. Pour the batter into the pan . The batter should fill only till 2/3 rd of the pan or you can use 2 pans. Bake at 180 degree for around 30 minutes . You can test if the cake is done, by inserting a tooth pick . If the tooth pick comes out clean ( without any crumbs on it) , then the cake can be taken out of the oven .
  11. Let the cake cool to room temperature before applying icing

TO MAKE THE SYRUP:

Stir the sugar, water and essence in a small saucepan and bring to boil. Simmer till the sugar has dissolved, and cool completely.

TO ASSEMBLE :

  1.  When the cake is cooled, use a long serrated knife and cut off the top to make it straight. Slice the cake into 2 halves (if you have used a single cake pan).
  2. Pour the sugar syrup on both halves to make it soft.
  3.  On top of the first half spread the whipping cream or any filling. Place the second half , soaked side down, on top of the first.
  4. Coat the top and sides of the cake with cream to give a thin uniform coating.
  5. Keep in fridge till the icing sets. better to keep for atleast 3 to 4 hours.

fb

 

Perfect Party Cake

IMG_8118-4

After a one year hiatus, I am back into the blogging world.. My world has changed a lot in the  past one year… A new job  ,a handful of very special friends , the many beautiful moments  filled with fun and laughter I spent with them .. and the good byes to a few of them , which is always  the hardest part in a friendship. Though life separates us from our dear ones through distance, they will always hold a special place in our hearts which cannot be erased by  space or time..

IMG_8211-2

And last year I met a few of my dear friends after a gap of many years.. It was like we had met just the other day. Nothing seemed to change, the fun , the warmth, the special bonding..I have often noticed that food plays an important role during get togethers .. like how my best friend cooked biriyani especially for me  when I went to visit him.. or how my friend had particularly asked me to bake a vanilla cake for her when she would visit me for the first time after 15 yrs.. Food and friendship.. it sure does go hand in hand 🙂

On another note, the stats show that my blog has crossed  200,000 hits.. and this blog post is kind of celebration post too.. and a dedication post.. dedicated to all those wonderful friends, who stood by me during the low phases.. who pushed me to continue blogging when I had totally lost interest in it,  who had more faith in me than I had in myself.. whose motivating words kept me going.. Thank you guys, for being there for me..

IMG_8289-3

This was the vanilla cake I had made as per my friend’s request. This is a bit sturdy cake , with a slight lemon flavour.  To make it a bit more moist I added used sugar syrup . The recipe is pretty simple, not with many complicated steps. After the cake cooled down, I sliced it into layers and sandwiched with whipped cream, topped it with ganache. I must say this cake is quite a party pleaser. So go ahead and try it out..

PERFECT PARTY CAKE

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE CAKE

(Recipe source- Baking from my home to yours)

  • All purpose flour – 2 cups
  • Cornflour – 4 tbsp
  • Baking powder – 1 tbsp
  • Salt – 1/2 tsp
  • Whole milk or buttermilk – 1 1/4 cup
  • Egg whites – 4 large
  • Sugar – 1 1/2 cups
  • Grated lemon zest – 2 tsp
  • Unsalted butter – 1 stick (113gms)

FOR THE SUGAR SYRUP

  • Sugar – 1 cup
  • Water – 1/4 cup

FOR THE WHIPPING CREAM 

  • Dreamwhip – 2 sachet
  • Cold Milk – 1 cup
  • Vanilla Essence – 1tsp

FOR THE GANACHE

  • Semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces – 8 ounces (227 grams)
  • Heavy whipping cream – 3/4 cup (180 ml)
  • Unsalted butter – 1 tablespoon (14 gram)

METHOD

FOR THE CAKE

  1. Sift together the flour, cornflour, baking powder and salt.
  2. Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl
  3. In another bowl, put the sugar and lemon zest in a bowl and rub them together with fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant.
  4. Add the butter to the sugar and beat with egg beater ,till the butter and sugar are very light
  5. Add one third of the flour mixture, beating at medium speed
  6. Beat in half of the milk egg mixture .
  7. Repeat adding the flour and milk alternately till all the flour and milk is incorporated well.
  8. Pour the batter into the pan . The batter should fill only till 2/3 rd of the pan . Bake at 180 degree for around 30 to 35  minutes .
  9. To test whether the cake is done, insert a tooth pick. If the tooth pick comes out clean ( without any crumbs on it) , then the cake can be taken out of the oven .
  10. Let the cake cool to room temperature .

TO MAKE THE SUGAR SYRUP

Stir the sugar, water and essence in a small saucepan and bring to boil. Simmer till the sugar has dissolved, and cool completely.

TO MAKE THE WHIPPING CREAM

Mix the contents in 2 small sachets of Dreamwhip with 1 cup cold mix and a teaspoon of vanilla essence. Beat on high speed for 5-7 minutes till you get light fluffy peaks. This will give about 4 cups whipped cream.

TO MAKE THE GANACHE 

  1. Place the chopped chocolate in a medium sized stainless steel, or heatproof bowl. Set aside
  2.  Heat the cream and butter in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil.
  3. Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth.
  4. When Ganache has completely cooled, beat until soft and fluffy. Then spread the frosting on top of the cake.

HOW TO ASSEMBLE

  1. When the cake is cooled, use a long serrated knife and cut off the top to make it straight. Slice the cake horizontally into 2  or  3 equal parts..
  2. Pour one-third of the sugar syrup on the first cake layer .
  3.  Spread the whipping cream over the first layer.
  4. Take the second cake slice on top of the first layer . Pour one third of the sugar syrup and spread the whipped cream.
  5. Repeat the process with the third layer.
  6. Cover the whole cake with whipping cream.
  7. Pour the ganache over the top of the cake and spread it . Spread the ganache to the sides of the cake .

Foodgawker-5 blog

Eggless No Bake Mango Cheesecake

No Bake Mango Cheesecake 1

Back to blogging after a long break… Hubby’s parents and sister n family were with us for 2 months vacation. Was really engrossed with the cooking, outings , shoppings 😉 Kids were all excited to have cousins over ..

collge

One day my father in law showed me an article that came in the newspaper . The author was mentioning how hectic it was with her family visiting them for vacation and how she will miss them when they go back , but at the same time she was longing to get back to her usual routine and writing . My father in law was pulling my leg asking if that was how I too feel , the only difference would be that I am not into writing 😉 I replied laughing , I will get back to my blog later.. 🙂  But now house does feel a little empty without them here…

collge2

After the No Bake Dates Cheesecake here is yet another no bake cheesecake for you. Since it is mango season what better option other than mangoes?  And this recipe is for all my friends who have been asking for easy , not complicated recipes.. 🙂  This recipe takes only about 15 minutes to prepare.. (apart from the freezing time) And you have a rich delicious cheesecake that will make others go for a second serving .. . I had made this no bake mango cheesecake when in laws were here.. And it was well appreciated. Preparing the cheesecake in individual glasses is a great idea as they give a visual appeal too.. or you could use a loose bottomed spring form pan.

No Bake Mango Cheesecake IMG_5456

I found this recipe from the beautiful blog Maria’s Menu. I have been following her blog for a long time now, even before my blogging days. Do try out this recipe. ..

No Bake Mango Cheesecake mix

EGGLESS NO BAKE MANGO CHEESECAKE

EGGLESS NO BAKE MANGO CHEESECAKE

  • Servings: 12
  • Time: 15 min
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE BISCUIT LAYER

  • Digestive biscuits – 250 gms, finely crumbled
  • Unsalted Butter – 100 gms, melted

FOR THE CHEESECAKE LAYER

  • Philadelphia full fat cream cheese – 340 gms/ 12 oz (or any other cream cheese available)
  • Whipping cream – 250 ml (1 cup approx)
  • Mango pulp – 1½ cup
  • Mango – 1-2, cut into small bite size pieces (optional)
  • Gelatin – 1 tbsp/10 gms
  • Hot water – ½ cup
  • Icing sugar – 2-3 tbsp
  • Sugar – ⅓ cup

FOR THE GLAZE TOPPING

  • Mango pulp – 1 cup
  • Gelatin – 1 tbsp/10 gms
  • Hot water – ½ cup

METHOD

FOR THE BISCUIT LAYER

  1. Combine the finely crumbled biscuits and melted butter. Press this mixture to a loose bottom tin or the dish you are using. Refrigerate it while you make the rest of the cheesecake.

FOR THE CHEESECAKE LAYER

  1. Dissolve gelatin in hot water.
  2. Whip the whipping cream with 2-3 tbsp icing sugar, till soft-medium peaks form.
  3. Combine the cream cheese and sugar, till it becomes smooth.
  4. Combine the mango puree and warm gelatin mixture. Add this to the cream cheese mixture. Mix well.
  5. Add the whipping cream to this in two batches and combine well.
  6. Add the mango pieces (if using) and mix well.
  7. Pour this mixture over the biscuit base and return it to the fridge.
  8. Make sure that this layer is refrigerated for a minimum of 2 hours, before adding the glaze topping

FOR THE GLAZE TOPPING

  1. Dissolve the gelatin in hot water. When it is warm, add it to mango puree and mix well.
  2. Pour this over the cream layer, once it is set. Refrigerate for another 2 hours or till you serve. Garnish with strawberry/ mint leaves.
  3. Keep at room temp 10 mins before serving, so that the biscuit layer softens a bit.

 

No Bake Mango Cheesecake IMG_5492

Dulce De Leche Pudding

IMG_5189Often I get feedback from friends and my readers that they tried out a recipe from the blog and it turned out good , which makes my day !! 🙂  From the feedback I get the Dulce de Leche Pudding recipe is the one that I got the most applauds for ..

IMG_5081

Dulce de leche is the name for cooked condensed milk .. Cook the condensed milk in a pressure cooker with the weight on for 45 minutes and you get a thick toffee mixture which is Dulce de leche..  After my first attempt in using the dulce de leche as it is for the pudding, I found it too sweet.. To reduce the sweetness I have added milk and used conrflour to thicken the mixture..

You can cook the condensed milk (which is dulce de leche ) and refrigerate for future use.. That way you can whip up this pudding within 10-15 minutes…

IMG_5055I felt that my previous snaps were not doing justice to this silky delicious pudding..So revamping the Dulce de Leche pudding !! All those who haven’t tried this , go ahead and try this yummy treat !!

collge1I had been thinking of adding recipe cards for sometime now.. Here’s my first attempt at it.. Do you like the design?

dulce de leche recipecrdIMG_5072blog

1-2-3-4 Cake

1 2 3 4 Cake

Wishing You all a Happy New Year ! May this year bring you happiness and peace !!

Last month,  my friend Shemeem asked me an easy cake recipe , as she was planning for a surprise birthday party for her nephew.. She said all recipes in my blog seem difficult for newbies , too much complicated !! Now, I had never thought of that.. a cake recipe from a beginner’s point of view..

I gave her the recipe for 1 2 3 4 cake – which is a favourite in the family  . I had made this for my hubby’s birthday ..  The cake  tastes good even without the icing.. Actually, this is a very frequent cake in my kitchen, perfect for an afternoon tea.

1 2 3 4 Cake

I had been wanting to try the pastel swirl effect for sometime.. hmm.. not quite perfect..  I think I need bit more practice..

Here’s Shemeem’s version  .. Loved the smurf icing.. Should try that out some day!!

smurf

The recipe is quite simple and the cake never fails !! The cake got its name from the ingredients’ quantity…

1-2-3-4 Cake

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE CAKE

  • Butter – 1 cup
  • Powdered Sugar – 2 cups
  • Flour – 3 cups
  • Egg – 4
  • Salt – ¼ tsp
  • Baking powder – 3tsp
  • Milk – 1cup
  • Vanilla essence – 1 tsp
  • Orange rind – 1 tsp

FOR SUGAR SYRUP

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp orange essence

FOR FROSTING

  • Whipping cream – 2 cups

METHOD

TO PREPARE THE CAKE PAN

Butter a cake pan and sprinkle about 1 tbsp of flour.  Gently toss the pan so that all sides are coated with flour.

Note :

  •  Eggs, butter and milk should be at room temperature
  •  The bowls used for mixing and the egg beater should be dry.
  •  Mix in flour and milk to the batter using a wooden spoon, do not use beater.

TO MAKE THE CAKE

  1. Separate the egg yolks and whites.. be careful that the whites do not have even a tinge of yolk in it. ( There is a video at the end of the post, I found on You Tube , which shows how to separate the yolks and whites)
  2. In  a deep bottomed bowl, beat the egg whites till they whip up. It will look like whipped cream. Keep it aside.
  3. In another deep bottomed bowl, beat butter using egg beater for 2 minutes.
  4. Add powdered sugar to the butter and beat well till it looks creamy.
  5. Add the egg yolks one by one and beat well for around 10 minutes
  6. In another bowl, sieve flour and baking powder.
  7. Mix one third of the flour mixture to the egg yolk mixture slowly using a wooden spoon.  Add one third cup of milk  and mix again. Repeat adding flour and milk alternately 2 more times.
  8. Add the vanilla essence and orange rind
  9. Add the egg white to the batter . Using a spoon slowly mix in the egg whites using the cut and fold method. (Video at the end of the post)
  10. Pour the batter into the pan . The batter should fill only till 2/3 rd of the pan or you can use 2 pans. Bake at 180 degree for around 30 minutes . You can test if the cake is done, by inserting a tooth pick . If the tooth pick comes out clean ( without any crumbs on it) , then the cake can be taken out of the oven .
  11. Let the cake cool to room temperature before applying icing

TO MAKE THE SYRUP:

Stir the sugar, water and essence in a small saucepan and bring to boil. Simmer till the sugar has dissolved, and cool completely.

TO ASSEMBLE :

  1.  When the cake is cooled, use a long serrated knife and cut off the top to make it straight. Slice the cake into 2 halves (if you have used a single cake pan).
  2. Pour the sugar syrup on both halves to make it soft.
  3.  On top of the first half spread the whipping cream or any filling. Place the second half , soaked side down, on top of the first.
  4. Coat the top and sides of the cake with cream to give a thin uniform coating.
  5. Keep in fridge till the icing sets. better to keep for atleast 3 to 4 hours.
  6. Apply a thicker coating of cream on top and sides and decorate with chocolate curls or sprinkles.

1 2 3 4 cake

Few links for details…

How to separate and fold egg whites   –
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Yie5V37E1w

How to beat egg whites
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpicWVE76l0

1 2 3 4 cake

Orange And Almond Cake – Celebrating a year of blogging !!!

Back to blogging after a big gap.. and I have my excuse too 🙂 … Well, I was on vacation at my hometown… Had a hectic schedule, but enjoyed each moment of it, hanging out with my dear ones … My little nephews and nieces are growing up fast.. and they are quite a bunchful too, like different flowers in a garden –  the emotional one, naughty ones,  girly ones and the quiet ones..  Miss you dears…

Was really looking forward for the meeting my school friends had planned .. to meet our teacher, mentor, guide – Father Mathew Vithuvettickal..  am so happy that I could make it for the get together… that was the moment for which I was looking for since long time – I was meeting my friends after a long gap of 18 years!!!  After all these years, we could feel the same camaraderie.. It was like travelling back to our school days, recollecting the  fun times we had .. And it was a blessing that I could meet my favourite teacher after so long !!!

And yes, the other main thing is my blog is turning a year old.. I have to thank all my dear friends for their continuous love and support.. Your feedback means a lot to me.. and thank you for trying out so many of my recipes and sharing the result..So A Big Thanks guys, for all your love.. it is appreciated more than you will ever know.. Keep it coming.. And love and thanks to my dear sis in law , Zareena, for being the unofficial proof reader of my blog 🙂

For this blog anniversary, decided to deviate from my comfort zone of chocolate and coffee cakes… and finalised on an orange and almond cake from one of the recipe books. The cake batter uses almond flour and semolina … And the cake is soaked with orange flavoured sugar syrup.. On retrospect, I could have reduced the quantity of semolina a little more.. and hubby suggested that the sweetness could have been brought down a bit.. But apart from that, this is wonderfully moist cake, with the citrus flavour bursting in…. So here goes the recipe..

INGREDIENTS

  • Orange – 1
  • Butter, softened – 115gm
  • Powdered sugar – 115 gm
  • Eggs – 2
  • Semolina – 3/4 cup (The original recipe uses 1 cup)
  • Ground Almonds -1 cup
  • Baking powder – 1 1/2 tsp
  • Icing sugar – for dusting

For the syrup

  • Orange juice – 1 cup
  • Superfine sugar –  100gm ( You can reduce the quantity of sugar, depending on the sweetness of orange)
  • Cardamom pods, crushed – 3

Method

  1. Grate the rind from the orange, reserving some for the decoration and squeeze the juice from one half.
  2. Place the butter, orange rind, and sugar in a bowl and beat together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the semolina, ground almonds and baking powder , then fold into the creamed mixture with the orange juice.
  4. Spoon the batter into a greased cake tin and bake at 180 degree for 30 – 40 minutes or a tester comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
  5. To make the syrup , place the orange juice, sugar and cardamom pods in the pan over low heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil and let it simmer for 4 minutes or until syrupy. Strain and keep aside.
  6. Turn the cake out into a deep serving dish. Using a skewer make holes over the surface of the warm cake. Spoon the syrup over the cake and let stand for 30 minutes.
  7. Dust the cake with confectioner’s sugar and serve.

Layered Moss Pudding


This is a pretty simple pudding. The basic Moss pudding between slices of cake and jelly. Serve it in individual glass for a visual treat  🙂

Moss pudding is made by adding melted China grass (or agar agar) to milk and boiling till the mixture thickens, and then cooled in refrigerator. This basic recipe can be used in many variations. One pudding which I used to make regularly was – the base layer with caramalised pineapples, then top with moss pudding layer and finally a layer of whipped cream..  yummy!!!

Okay, let’s get to the recipe

INGREDIENTS

  • China grass strands (Agar agar) – 8 gm
  • Water – 1 cup
  • Condensed milk – 1 tin
  • Milk – 3 cups
  • Sugar – 1 tbsp
  • Vanilla essence – a few drops
  • Strawberry Jelly – 1 packet
  • Sponge cake

PROCEDURE

To make the china grass layer

  1. Cut china grass into small pieces. Soak it in 1 cup of water for an hour.
  2. Transfer to a non stick pan and boil the china grass and water. Reduce heat and stir till the china grass dissolves completely.
  3. In a pan , mix together milk , condensed milk , vanilla essence and sugar. Boil it and remove from flame.
  4. Sieve the melted china grass and add to the milk mixture.
  5. Keep this mixture back on medium flame and stir continuously till the mixture thickens (for around 5 minutes). Remove from fire . Sieve once more and allow to cool for around 10 minutes.

To Assemble

  1. Arrange the cake slices at the bottom of the individual glasses. (If you prefer, you can use a rectangular dish and arrange the cake slices to form the bottom layer )
  2. Pour the cooled china grass mixture on top of the cake pieces. Refrigerate for 4-5 hours till the pudding sets.
  3. Prepare the jelly according to the instructions on the packet
  4. Pour the jelly over the set pudding and refrigerate again till the jelly sets.

Sending this to Joy from Fasting to Feasting, Iftar Nights and Any One Can Cook Events



Mango Layer Pudding

mango

I love puddings… and I love to cook them too… Actually I am always on the look out for new pudding recipes, it’s kind of my weakness 🙂 …During one vacation in Kerala , while I was searching recipe books for pudding recipes , Zareena (my sister in law) said that she has got  a new recipe from her friend – it is a five layer pudding.. Five layers? Now I got really excited. So  Zareena and I got to work and made the pudding, both of us really eager to see how the layers would turn out. While we were whipping it out, my brothers would peep in asking “Is it ready now?” … And finally the pudding was in the fridge. Now my brothers got really impatient, asking every now and then “Why is it taking so long?”  The result – we had to take the pudding out before it was fully set.  We never got to see the layers 🙂  Back in Abu Dhabi , I tried the pudding again and called up Zareena to say that this time I did see the five layers 🙂

I  made this pudding recently at a get together and it got awesome responses.. So check out the recipe and try it out..


Recipe Source – Zareena

INGREDIENTS

For the first layer (Biscuit Layer)

  • Marie Biscuit – 100gm
  • Butter (unsalted)- 50 gm
  • Sugar – 1tbsp

For the second layer (Butterscotch Layer)

  • Caramalised sugar – 2 tbsp
  • Butter  (unsalted) – 50gm
  • Sugar – 25 gm
  • Condensed milk – 1/2 tin

For the 3rd layer (China grass Layer)

  • China grass (Agar Agar)- 5gm
  • Water -3/4  cup
  • Condensed Milk – 1/2 tin
  • Sugar – 1tbsp
  • Milk – 3/4 tin( measured in the condensed milk tin)
  • Vanilla essence – 1 tsp

For the fourth layer (Mango Layer)

  • Mango – 2
  • Sugar – 1/2 cup
  • Water – 1/4 cup

For the fifth layer (China grass Layer again)

  • China grass(Agar Agar) – 5gm
  • Water -3/4  cup
  • Condensed Milk – 1/2 tin
  • Sugar – 1tbsp
  • Milk – 3/4 tin( measured in the condensed milk tin)
  • Vanilla essence – 1 tsp

PREPARATION

For the first layer (Biscuit Layer)

  • Crush the Marie biscuits . Mix the butter and sugar to make a dough. Spread this on a greased tin.Keep it in the fridge to set for atleast half an hour.

For the second layer (Butterscotch Layer)

  • Mix all the ingredients in a saucepan and boil for 5 minutes. You will get a thick caramel flavoured mixture. When it cools down a bit, pour it over the biscuit layer.Keep the pudding back into the fridge.

For the third layer (China grass Layer)

  1. Soak the china grass in water for 30 minutes. In a saucepan , boil the china grass with water till you get a clear liquid. Remove from fire and sieve.
  2. Boil the milk, condensed milk and sugar. Take it off the fire.
  3. When both the china grass mixture and condensed milk mixture are of the same temperature, mix the two .
  4. Return this mixture to the stove and heat on medium flame stirring continuously. Stir for around 5 minutes till the mixture thickens.
  5. Remove from fire, add the vanilla essence. When it has slightly cooled down, pour it over the butterscotch layer.
  6. Keep it back in fridge to set.

For the fourth layer (Mango Layer)

  • Puree the mangoes with the sugar  in a blender. It should be of a thick consistency. Add water as required and blend once more. When the china grass layer is set, pour the mango mixture over it. Keep back to refrigerate.

For the Fifth Layer (China Grass Layer)

  • Repeat the process as in the third layer. Pour the cooled mixture slowly over the mango layer. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours

That’s it.. You can top the pudding with whipping cream or pralines.(That will make it a six layer pudding 🙂 )


Sending this to Bookmarked Recipes- Every Tuesday hosted by Aipi and Priya

and to Kerala Kitchen hosted by Magpie’s Recipes

FROM PHYLLO TO BAKLAVA!!! – THE DARING BAKERS’ JUNE, 2011 CHALLENGE

Last week we had our college batch reunion…A small gathering of 20 friends and their families .. Friends seeing each other after a gap of 12 long years.. The excitement and fervor .. Catching up with old times, filling in the details.. Had  a really great evening. And I’m still in that blissful state after seeing faces that were part of life years ago… And from the facebook comments flowing in , I can feel that I am not the only one in this euphoric state.. ‘ Let’s have more get togethers ’ is the mantra now.. 🙂

And another thing that I would love to mention is –  thank you from the bottom of the heart to my friends for all their appreciation and support to this blog.. Thank You guys, your words mean a lot to me and motivate me to keep going..

So back to the recipe… This month’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge was Baklawa... “Baklawa  is a rich, sweet pastry made of layers of pastry filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with syrup or honey” – Wikipidea

I was really intimidated after seeing the challenge for this month.. Initially I was not sure how rolling out the dough will turn out, but I was quite surprised to see that the dough was really silky soft and had no problem in rolling it out super thin (though I had minor rips in the dough, it really didn’t matter in the end product..) … What I did falter though was on the sweetness of the Baklawa.. Hubby and me are  not fond of too much sweetness in the Baklawas. Knowing that, I should have reduced the amount of sugar syrup than mentioned in the recipe.. hmm, next time should keep that in mind.. But when I served them to my Baklawa loving friends, they mentioned that these are better than those bought from the bakery… hmm… Music to the ears… 🙂 .

But I must say this recipe is a keeper.. I wouldn’t have ventured to preparing Baklawas starting from the dough had it  not been for the Daring Bakers.. Thank You Erica for this wonderful challenge.. I really enjoyed making them..

Erica of Erica’s Edibles was our host for the Daring Baker’s June challenge. Erica challenged us to be truly DARING by making homemade phyllo dough and then to use that homemade dough to make Baklava.


Phyllo Dough:

To fill a 8” x 5” baking dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 cups (320 ml) (185 gm/6½ oz) unbleached all purpose (plain) flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon (2/3 ml) (¾ gm) salt
  • 1/2 cup less 1 tablespoon (105 ml) water, plus more if needed
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2½ ml) cider vinegar, (could substitute white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar, but could affect the taste)

Directions:

  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer combine flour and salt.
  2. Mix with paddle attachment.
  3. Combine water, oil and vinegar in a small bowl.
  4. Add water & oil mixture with mixer on low speed, mix until you get a soft dough, if it appears dry add a little more water
  5. Change to the dough hook and let knead approximately 10 minutes. You will end up with beautiful smooth dough. If you are kneading by hand, knead approx. 20 minutes.
  6. Remove the dough from mixer and continue to knead for 2 more minutes. Pick up the dough and through it down hard on the   counter a few times during the kneading process.
  7. Shape the dough into a ball and lightly cover with oil
  8. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and let rest 30-90 minutes, longer is best ( I let mine rest overnight)

Rolling your Phyllo

  1. Unwrap your dough and cut off a chunk slightly larger then a golf ball. While you are rolling be sure to keep the other dough covered so it doesn’t dry out.
  2.  Be sure to flour your hands, rolling pin and counter. As you roll you will need to keep adding, don’t worry, you can’t over-flour.
  3. Roll out the dough a bit to flatten it out.
  4. Rotate and repeat until it is as thin as you can it. Don’t worry if you get rips in the dough, as long as you have one perfect one for the top you will never notice.
  5. When you get it as thin as you can with the rolling pin, carefully pick it up with well floured hands and stretch it on the backs of your hands as you would a pizza dough, just helps make it that much thinner. Roll out your dough until it is transparent. NOTE: you will not get it as thin as the frozen phyllo dough you purchase at the store, it is made by machine
  6. Set aside on a well-floured surface. Repeat the process until your dough is used up. Between each sheet again flour well. You will not need to cover your dough with a wet cloth, as you do with boxed dough, it is moist enough that it will not try out.

Baklava Recipe

Ingredients      

For the syrup:

  • 1 1/4 cups (300 ml) honey (I used only 1 cup)
  • 1 1/4 cups (300ml) water
  • 1 1/4 cups (300 ml) (280 gm/10 oz) sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 (2-inch/50 mm) piece fresh citrus peel (lemon or orange work best)
  •  a few cloves or a pinch or ground clove

When you put your baklava in the oven start making your syrup. When you combine the two, one of them needs to be hot.

Directions

1. Combine all ingredients in a medium pot over medium high heat. Stir occasionally until sugar has dissolved

2. Boil for 10 minutes, stir occasionally.

3. Once boiled for 10 minutes remove from heat and strain cinnamon stick and lemon, allow to cool as baklava cooks

Ingredients for the Filling:

  • 1 (5-inch) cinnamon stick, broken into 2 to 3 pieces
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) (170 gm/6 oz) blanched almonds
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) (155 gm/5½ oz) raw or roasted walnuts
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) (140 gm/5 oz) raw or roasted pistachios
  • 2/3 cup (160 ml) (150 gm/ 5 1/3 oz) sugar
  • phyllo dough (see recipe above)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4.

2. Combine nuts, sugar and spices in a food processor and pulse on high until finely chopped. If you do not have a food processor chop with a sharp knife as fine as you can. Set aside

3. Trim your phyllo sheets to fit in your pan

4. Brush bottom of pan with butter and place first phyllo sheet

5. Brush the first phyllo sheet with butter and repeat approximately 5 times ending with butter. (Most recipes say more, but homemade phyllo is thicker so it’s not needed)

6. Sprinkle 1/3 of the nut mixture on top

7. Continue layering phyllo and buttering repeating 4 times

8. Sprinkle 1/3 of the nut mixture on top

9. Continue layering phyllo and buttering repeating 4 times

10. Sprinkle 1/3 of the nut mixture on top

11. Continue layering and buttering phyllo 5 more times. On the top layer, make sure you have a piece of phyllo with no holes if possible, just looks better.

12. Once you have applied the top layer tuck in all the edges to give a nice appearance.

13. With a Sharp knife cut your baklava in desired shapes and number of pieces. If you can’t cut all the ways through don’t worry you will cut again later. A 9×9 pan cuts nicely into 30 pieces. Then brush with a generous layer of butter making sure to cover every area and edge

14. Bake for approximately 30 minutes; remove from oven and cut again this time all the way through. Continue baking for another 30 minutes. (Oven temperatures will vary, you are looking for the top to be a golden brown, take close watch yours may need more or less time in the oven)

15. When baklava is cooked remove from oven and pour the cooled (will still be warmish) syrup evenly over the top, taking care to cover all surfaces when pouring. Over night the syrup will soak into the baklava creating a beautifully sweet and wonderfully textured baklava

Next morning all syrup is absorbed

16. Allow to cool to room temperature. Once cooled cover and store at room temperature. Allow the baklava to sit overnight to absorb the syrup.

17. Serve at room temperature

Dulce De Leche Pudding


Hubby’s aunt (Elemma, as we call her) is a wonderful cook.. Everytime we visit her, I would be curious to see her new dessert preparation… 🙂 ..Once we had a new pudding and I asked her what the ingredient was. She said ‘Condensed milk cooked in pressure cooker’. At first I thought she was pulling my leg, but later found out it was true!!! And I used to call it ‘puzhungiya condensed milk pudding’ 🙂 (steamed condensed milk ) ..  After I started blogging, found out there was a technical name for it – Dulce De Leche (hmmm.. sounds more stylish … :))..

The first time I tried the pudding it was way too sweet.. And I hadn’t tried to make it again for a long time.. Recently I thought to try it again by cutting down the sweetness and this time it was a success.. Had made this one during our friends’ visit and yes, it was a hit. My friend Azna, who is an expert cook, has given me the green signal to mention in the blog that she loved the pudding 🙂

So here goes my version of dulce de leche pudding…


Recipe Source
Elemma

Ingredients

  • For the First Layer
    • Ladyfinger biscuits – 1 pkt (around 15 no.) * You can use Marie Biscuits also
    • Water – 1 cup
    • Instant coffee powder – 3 tsp

    For the Second Layer

    • Condensed Milk – 1 tin
    • Milk – 3 cup + ½ cup for cornflour mixture
    • Powdered sugar – ¾ cup
    • Cornflour – ½ cup
    • Nestle cream – 1 tin
    • Sliced Almonds – 2-3 tsp
    • Vanilla essence – a few drops

    For the Third Layer

    • Whipping cream – 1 sachet
    • Milk – ½ cup
    • Vanilla essence – a few drops


Preparation

Layer 1

  1. Dissolve the instant coffee powder in water
  2. Dip the ladyfinger biscuits in the coffee mixture one by one and arrange on a pudding dish  .(Do not soak the ladyfinger biscuits, else they will be too soggy. If you are using Marie biscuits , you can add a few tsp of sugar to the coffee mixture).
  3. Keep it the fridge while you prepare the second layer.

Layer 2.

  1. In a pressure cooker ,place  the condensed milk and fill water till the can is immersed completely.
  2. Close the cooker and cook on medium flame with the weight on. After the first whistle, reduce the flame to low and cook for 45 minutes .
  3. Allow the cooker to cool and then open and take out the can. After the can is cooled well , open it. Voila, the condensed milk has turned to a toffee like semi solid mixture .This is the Dulce de leche…
  4. In a thick bottom pan, mix together the dulce de leche, 3 cups milk, powdered sugar and nestle cream. Heat this on a medium flame and when it starts to boil , add the cornflour dissolved in ½ cup milk.
  5. Stir well till you get a thick mixture. Remove from flame , add the sliced almonds and a few drops of vanilla essence.
  6. Pour this mixture over the biscuit layer. Keep it back to the fridge and allow it to set for atleast 2 hours.

Layer 3

  1. Using an egg beater ,beat whipping cream powder , milk and vanilla essence till soft peaks form.
  2. Spread this over the pudding and cool once for atleast 2 hours.


Sending this to Bookmarked Recipes Events by Aipi of US Masala and Priya of Mharo Rajasthan Recipes

Bread Pudding

As summer is nearing, its time for cold puddings 🙂 … This is an easy and simple pudding, actually one of my first attempts which was successful . The plus factor is that preparation time is less than  fifteen minutes..All you need is bread slices,milk, cream, condensed milk and pistachios or nuts of your choice.  This pudding is made in 3 layers and you have to use a rectangular tray for arranging the bread slices. So here goes the recipe…


Ingredients

  • Bread slices – 20
  • Milk – 1 ½ cups
  • Condensed Milk – 1 tin
  • Whipped Cream – 2 cups
  • Chopped Pistachios – ½ cup
  • Vanilla essence – 1tsp

Method

  1. Mix the milk , condensed milk and vanilla essence.
  2. Trim the edges of the bread slices and cut them into half .
  3. Dip the bread slices into the milk and lay them on a rectangular tray. Continue this till you have made one layer.
  4. Take about one third of the cream and spread  it over the bread slices.
  5. Spread some chopped pistachios over the cream.
  6. Top this layer using bread slices dipped in the milk mixture, followed by cream and pista.
  7. Repeat once more so that finally you have 3 layers.
  8. Chill for a few hours and serve

Note : If the milk mixture is remaining pour it on top of the bread slices and then spread the cream .

Apple Crumble

I was having sore throat and cold and yearning for a good dessert..  The taste of caramalised apples with cinnamon was flashing in my mind.. As i didn’t have the patience to make an apple pie, I settled on the easier version – Apple Crumble.   Delicious and can be prepared in a jiffy.. I got the recipe from here, modified it to cut down the butter and sugar.

 

crumble3

APPLE CRUMBLE

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

For the crumble
  • 250g plain flour, sieved pinch of salt
  • 50g unrefined brown sugar
  • 50g  unsalted butter, cubed at room temperature
  • Knob of butter for greasing

For the filling
  • 2 apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1cm pieces
  • 50g unrefined brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 pinch of ground cinnamon

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
  2. Place the flour and sugar in a large bowl and mix well. Taking a few cubes of butter at a time rub into the flour mixture. Keep rubbing until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  3. Place the fruit in a large bowl and sprinkle over the sugar, flour and cinnamon. Stir well being careful not to break up the fruit.
  4. Butter a 24cm/9in ovenproof dish. Spoon the fruit mixture into the bottom, then sprinkle the crumble mixture on top.
  5. Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes until the crumble is browned and the fruit mixture bubbling.


P.S: Sending this as entry for Bake-off round up at Versatile Kitchen , A.W.E.D-British Event by Reva and DK,
Celebrate Sweets – Warm Desserts Event hosted by Priya and Nivedita and Taste Buds – Cooking With Fruits event

Celebrate Sweets – Warm Desserts Event hosted by Priya and Nivedita.

Gajar Ka Halwa (Carrot sweet)

gajarhalwa2

As a kid  I had always heard  “Gajar ka halwa” mentioned in Bollywood movies and I still remember the first  time I had a chance to savor this delectable dish..   For me it was love at first bite..  it still is one of my favourite desserts…

Gajar ka halwa is a very traditional Indian sweet. Grated carrots are boiled in milk in a low flame. When milk is almost dry, sugar is added and cooked again. Though the cooking procedure is very simple it  takes time. I heat the halwa in microwave after  adding sugar to save effort 🙂 …


Ingredients

Carrots – 500gmsMilk – 750 ml

Ghee – 2tbsp

Sugar – 200gm

Almonds – 15 to 20
Green Cardamom powder – 1 tspDirections1.   Peel, wash and grate carrot

2.   Heat ghee in a thick bottomed pan . Add grated carrots cook on a medium flame for 8 to 10 minutes

3.   Add milk and green cardamom powder. Bring it to a boil and then reduce flame.

4.   Cook on a slow flame until milk is almost reduced.

5.   Add  sugar and cook until dry. Stir constantly.

(this stage can be done in a microwave also..  Heat in Medium High setting for 25 to 30 minutes… )

6.   Garnish with sliced almonds.

This halwa tastes best when served warm..

Sending this to AWED Indian Cuisine Event hosted by Umm Mymoonah of  Taste of Pearl City , started by DK of Chef In You

... and to Indian Mithai Mela at What’s Cooking by Kalyani