Tag Archives: sweet

3 Easy steps + 3 Tips for a creamy Blueberry Shrikhand

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Nutella, peanut butter, Dulche de leche, Speculoos, jams, lemon curd, flavoured butters or cheese, when it comes to spreads/dips, the list is indeed long. But I root for Shrikhand. A little dollop spread out on a chapati and rolled up along with a hot cup of tea makes a simple breakfast to fill my day. Shrikhand is basically sweetened hung yoghurt that has flavours added to enhance it. In India, the most popular ones would be Kesar-Pista Shrikhand (Shrikhand with saffron and pistachios) or Amrakhand (Mango Shrikhand).

While yogurt with fruit has been a fad lately, Shrikhand has been a part of the Indian culinary heritage. For breakfast with rotis or for lunch/dinner with Puris, or as an accompaniment – something cool and sweet along with the hot and spicy food, the perfect Yin-yang of Indian meals. Or just a little scoop for dessert.

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On a regular I’m missing home kind of a day, an expat like me, would probably rush to Lulu or Al Adil to get our comfort fixed. I did that once. But unlike in India, here in Dubai, you get the big packs for store bought Shrikhand. And since I’m the only Shrikhand consumer in my household, the pack stays longer in my fridge than it should. The next time I shared the thought of wanting to have some Shrikhand, I received an ultimatum that we won’t be buying it any more because a lot just gets wasted. Seemed right to me, but I had to find my way out. And so I decided to make it at home. That way I could not only make it in a smaller quantity, with the flavours I want, but I could also make it anytime. Win-Win situation right?

The recipe is so simple, that I actually found it funny. I don’t know why I had always thought of it as something so complicated. All you need is a little patience (since you need to strain the yogurt overnight). Here are 3 easy steps for making the Blueberry Shrikhand, followed by 3 tips that will ensure you have a nice deliciously creamy Shrikhand.

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Blueberry Shrikhand

Ingredients:

  • Hung yogurt 160 gms (I used 400 gms of regular yogurt, strained in a muslin cloth for 24 hours in the fridge that yielded around 160 gms of thick hung yogurt – See note)
  • Sifted Icing sugar 55 gms
  • Blueberries 80 gms

Method:

  • Whisk the hung yogurt and the icing sugar together, to get a smooth creamy Shrikhand base. Whisk it gently but firmly, you essentially need a lump free, thick and smooth texture. You can use the hand blender in short bursts. The important thing is not to over beat the yogurt, else it will be too runny.
  • Pulse or puree the blueberries in the mixer. Gently fold the puree in the Shrikhand. Serve chilled. Fruits which are sweet and slightly tart go well.
  • You can add chopped nuts of your choice. Add the nuts only before serving to retain the crunch.
  • You can store this Shrikhand in a clean, airtight jar, refrigerated for up to 7 days.

Note: For preparing the hung yogurt, I referred to this guide which has step by step pictures. I referred to it ONLY for the preparation of the hung yogurt, nothing other than that.

3 Tips for a deliciously creamy Shrikhand

  1. Use regular (non-sour) yogurt. The packaged ones we get in Dubai are anyways not sour. But local Indian dairy shops have really sour yogurt. The mass manufactured and packaged one is less sour so I suggest you use that.
  2. Use sifted icing sugar. This ensures two things – a) That the sugar is lump free, so that you wont have to whisk it much at the risk of making the yogurt runny. b) Icing sugar dissolves quickly compared to other sugars, again ensuring that you don’t have to whisk way too much than required.
  3. Gently fold in the fruit puree till well combined.
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7 Tips for a Perfect Pavlova

After watching all those MasterChef series, I too wished to be a part of such cook-offs. The thrill of using your creativity and cooking knowledge to wow the judges, and all that in a limited time frame is just too exciting. As a culinary enthusiast, I love taking up a cooking challenge to learn something new. I found a perfect opportunity when Beacon Holidays organized the #TasteNewZealand cook off challenge.

me

The challenge: To cook a New Zealand dish with atleast one of these ingredients – Lamb chops, Lamb mince and Kiwis. As soon as I read about the challenge, my baking instincts took over and I decided to bake a Kiwi Pavlova.

me in the kitchen

Now I have made pavlova just twice and although a fairly simple dessert to whip up, the trick lies in getting the meringue right. So here is the recipe I used and a few tips to help you bake a perfect pavlova.

kiwis

Serves 4-5 people
Prep time: 15-20 mins
Baking time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

2 eggs
1/2 cup castor sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tbsp cornflour
1 cup whipping cream/double cream
2 ripe kiwis
2 tbsp white chocolate ganache (optional)
milk chocolate for piping (optional)

Method:

1. Separate the eggs whites from the yolks and whip on high speed.
2. When soft peaks form, add sugar 1 tbsp at a time.
3. Once stiff peaks form, add vanilla essence, cornflour and vinegar. Fold in till combined.
4. Spread out on a lined baking tray. Bake at 140 degrees C for an 55-60 mins.
5. Allow to cool completely. Almost an hour.
6. Whip the cream till soft peaks are formed, add in white chocolate ganache, and half a kiwi, finely chopped – almost mashed to puree. (for the ganache, chop a tbsp white chocolate and add a tsp of really hot milk, stir till it melts completely)
7. Spread this mix on the cooled pavlova. Top it with kiwi slices and pipe on some milk chocolate.

Image credit: Shanti Padukone Image credit: Shanti Padukone

7 Tips for a Perfect Pavlova:

1. Egg whites…and just eggs whites! Not even a dot of yolk. Start with a clean bowl and separate the egg white one at a time. I use a different bowl to separate the eggs whites from the yolk and then transfer the egg whites one at a time. This is a very very crucial step because if you don’t get this right, the egg whites won’t whip up to the desired consistency.

2. Consistency: Stiff Peaks. Whip the egg whites with an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer on high speed. Initially, it will just froth up and you will be able to see bubbles and the runny liquid. Be patient, give it some time. After about 5-10 minutes, it will start getting white and gradually soft peak will form. Soft peaks is when the hand mixer moves you can see it leaving a trail of its movement. Start adding the sugar when you see the soft peaks. Once all the sugar has been added, the meringue will look glossy. Keep whipping it till stiff peaks are formed. Stiff peaks: when you lift the hand mixer out a stiff peak will be formed at the tip.

Another famous test is holding the bowl inverted above your head. When you tilt the bowl, if the meringue slides, its not ready yet.

3. Once it has baked, allow it to cool in the oven itself, keeping the over door slightly ajar. After a while you can keep it out to rest, but allow it to cool completely. Even though the surface seems cold, the inside takes a while to cool. It is important to let it cool completely else the whipped cream that you are going to top it with, will melt completely.

4. For mini pavlovas, when you hold it and gently knock on the base, will sound hollow. For a larger pavlova you might not be able to test with this method, but an hour in the oven should be just right for the pavlova to bake completely.

5. Avoid trying to transfer it while it is hot. It will fall apart into pieces. After its cold, you can gently lift it or just slide the parchment itself on the serving plate. Because of the weight of the cream and fruits, it is best to put on the toppings after you have transferred it to the serving plate.

6. Crack are normal. A proper pavlova will have cracks so don’t worry. You can cover it with whipped and fresh fruits.

7. Bake the pavlova in advance, top it with whipped cream and fruits just before serving.

Here is my prize from the cook off, a bottle of New Zealand wine, Sauvignon Blanc 🙂 Thank you Beacon Holidays!

wine bottle

You can view the entire photo album of the cook off here – http://tinyurl.com/ounzxy2

Learning from Pinterest…I baked a White Chocolate Mud Cake

When something new starts, I am curious. I wouldn’t really say quickly but I do get on to the bandwagon.
With Pinterest I wasn’t really sure. I didn’t know what it was all about or how it would help me but I signed up anyways.

pinterest

Obviously, the food & drink category was my go-to place. Checking out the lovely pictures that make you drool, Stumbling from one blog to another, getting inspired enough to go to the kitchen and cook something. I started bookmarking ( or rather pinning) recipes I wanted to try. And one of them was the White Chocolate Mud Cake.

white choco mud cake

“Melts in your mouth” was the description. Surely, that was enough to get my attention. Now, I must tell you that I have tried many recipes that I’ve got online. But many a times it doesn’t quite turn out the way they portray it.

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I had never baked a cake with white chocolate before. So I felt it’s worth a try. And I’m glad I tried. It truly lives up to its description. My family and friends loved it.

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I think it should be called – The Cake that Everyone Loves.
White Chocolate Mud Cake Recipe source
I’ve saved all the recipes I’ve tried and worked well, this one is the latest addition.

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Filled Strawberry Cupcakes, Boston Cream Style

Have you had Boston Cream Cupcakes? Well, I have never but I quite like the idea. Cupcakes filled with vanilla pudding. Some day I’m going to try them.

Strawberries

For the time being, I had some Strawberries with me and had this urge to bake some cupcakes.

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So I just made Strawberry Cupcakes with strawberry butter cream. I used fresh Strawberries…no artificial colours, no artificial flavouring agents!

Cupcaked filled with fresh strawberries

I cut out the crown of the baked vanilla cupcakes. Scooped out cake from the center to make a small well. Filled the well like hole with finely chopped strawberries.

cupcake with strawberry

Put the crown back on and piped the butter cream frosting on top.

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And…there you go! 🙂

Strawberry cupcakes

Won a Contest at Nature’s Basket … and made Tiramisù!

Each time I step into a Godrej Nature’s Basket (GNB) food store, I am transported to a different world. As I walk through the isles, my gaze drifts from one product to another. I actually feel like Alice in Wonderland. For a culinary enthusiast like me, who likes to experiment with food, it is a bit disheartening to be unable to do so simply for the lack of a single ingredient or two because it is not available at the local market. Fortunately, Nature’s Basket has put an end to that spell. They have a wide range of products from around the world. Not only that, GNB takes tremendous efforts to impart food knowledge through various workshops they conduct.

GNB

They are also on Twitter – @NaturesBasket
Sometime back, they had the Tiramisù contest on Twitter. And I won! Yayy! 🙂

They gifted me with a hamper with everything I needed to make the ultimate sensuous dessert.

Tiramisu ingredients

Tiramisù translated literally means ‘pick me up’. It is an Italian layered coffee based dessert, the most popular one actually. Deconstructed, the Tiramisù consists of 3 parts – Savoiradi biscuits/ Sponge fingers, Coffee solution and a creamy filling.

deconstructed tiramisu

1) Savoiradi biscuits/ Sponge fingers – Is the dehydrated version of a sponge cake. While some make these at home, others use plain sponge cake instead.

Savoiardi

2) Coffee solution – Freshly brewed coffee with addition of Kahlua (coffee liqueur). While Kahlua can be omitted to make a child friendly dessert, Dark rum is used as an alternative. I personally don’t like Dark Rum as it has a distinct strong flavour. I read that Port Wine can be used instead.

3) Creamy filling – Mascarpone cheese with eggs and sugar. The Eggless version would include whipped cream in place of the eggs (not the same quantity though). Zabaglione (Zabayon/Sabayon) is also used as the cream filling.

creamy filling

Tiramisù

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Tiramisù
Recipe source: Adapted from the recipe created for Nature’s Basket by pastry chef Kishi Arora
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 cup strong brewed espresso coffee
30 ml Kahlua
2 eggs (separated)
250 gms mascarpone cheese
30 gms caster sugar (divided into 2 portions of 15 gms each)
10-15 Savoiardi biscuits
3 tsp cocoa powder
grated dark chocolate to garnish

Method:
1. Put the coffee and coffee liqueur together in a bowl and chill.
2. In a bowl, beat the egg yolks with 15 gms sugar, keep aside.
3. In another bowl, whip the egg whites till soft peaks form. Add 15 gms sugar, one tbsp at a time and whip till stiff peaks form.
4. Whisk mascarpone untill lump-free. Add this to the yolk mix.
5. Fold in half the egg whites gently till fully incorporated and then the remaining half.
6. Dip the sponge fingers in the coffee and liqueur mix and place about one third on the base of your serving dish.
7. Assemble: Cover with mascarpone mixture and repeat these layers until you have finished your ingredients, finishing with mascarpone mix on top.
8. Sieve the cocoa powder and dust the surface thoroughly. Garnish with grated chocolate.
Chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours before serving.

Tiramisu

Although I havn’t tried this, I have also mentioned the Recipe for an Eggless Tiramisù. Just in case you are looking for an eggless version to try, do let me know how it turns out.

Eggless Tiramisù
Recipe source: BBC Good Food
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 cup strong brewed espresso coffee
30 ml Kahlua
30 ml cream
300 gms mascarpone cheese
100 gms caster sugar
60 ml dark rum
20 Savoiardi biscuits
3 tsp cocoa powder

Method:
1. Put the coffee and coffee liqueur together in a bowl and chill.
2. Whip cream until still in a separate bowl.
3. In another bowl, beat the mascarpone, caster sugar and rum till just blended. Don’t over-beat or it may curdle. Fold in the whipped cream gently to this mix.
4. Dip the sponge fingers in the coffee and liqueur mix and place about one third on the base of your serving dish.
5. Assemble: Cover with cream and mascarpone mixture and repeat these layers until you have finished your ingredients, finishing with cream on top.
6. Sieve the cocoa powder and dust the surface thoroughly.
Chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours before serving.

Notes:
1. I made Kahlua at home using this recipe – Making Kahlua
2. You can make every component of the from scratch like Shaheen from The Purple Foodie – Homemade Tiramisù
3. While Tiramisù is generally served layered, I came across this unique way of serving it – Deconstructed Tiramisù