ROASTED ALMOND CAKE

ROASTED ALMOND POUND CAKE

THIS MAKES A LARGE 10 INCH BY 4  BY 4 INCH LOAF. YOU CAN USE  2 OR 3  SMALLER LOAF PANS INSTEAD IF YOU WANT TO MAKE THEM TO GIVE AS GIFTS. THIS CAKE HAS A DEEP ROASTED ALMOND FLAVOUR AND AN ALMOST MARZIPAN LIKE RICHNESS. ITS LIGHTER THAN A TRADITIONAL POUND CAKE BECAUSE IT USES LESS BUTTER AND EGGS.

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 EGGS AT ROOM TEMPERATURE
  • 400 GRAMS BUTTER SOFTENED
  • 450 GRAMS CASTOR OR GRANULATED SUGAR
  • 400 GRAMS MAIDA OR ALL PURPOSE FLOUR, SIFTED
  • 100 GRAMS ROASTED AND FINELY GROUND ALMONDS WITH SKIN
  • 1.5 CUPS UNROASTED FINELY SLIVERED OR SLICED ALMONDS WITH SKIN
  • 1.5 TEAPSOONS VANILLA EXTRACT
  • 1/2 TEASPOOON ALMOND EXTRACT (OPTIONAL)
  • 2 TABLESPOONS WHOLE MILK
  • 1/2 TEASPOON BAKING POWDER

ROASTED ALMOND LOAF CAKE

METHOD

  • PREHEAT OVEN TO 350 f. PREPARE LOWER RUNG OF OVEN. GREASE A 10 INCH LOAF PAN.
  • WHISK THE BUTTER AND SUGAR TOGETHER IN A STAND MIXER OR USING A HAND WHISK UNTIL FLUFFY. ADD EXTRACTS AND WHISK AGAIN. USE A SPATULA AND  SCRAPE THE SIDES AND BOTTOM TO ENSURE UNIFORMITY.
  • ADD EGGS ONE AT A TIME AND BEAT UNTIL WELL INCORPORATED ON MEDIUM SPEED
  • ADD MILK AND CONTINUING WHISKING
  • ADD ALMOND FLOUR AND WHISK AGAIN.
  • ADD BAKING POWDER AND ONE CUP FLOUR AT A TIME. BEAT ON A LOWER SPEED.
  • ADD HALF THE SLICED ALMONDS AND BEAT UNTIL UNIFORMLY INCORPORATED. DO NOT OVERBEAT THIS BATTER.
  • PUT THE BATTER IN THE LOAF PAN. DO NOT OVER FILL LEAVE ATLEAST 3/4 INCH SPACE FOR THE CAKE TO RISE. TAP THE CAKE PAN TO REMOVE AI BUBBLES. SPRINKLE REMAINING ALMONDS OVER THE TOP AND PAT DOWN WITH A SPATULA.
  • COVER WITH FOIL AND BAKE 35 MINUTES.
  • REMOVE FOIL AND MOVE CAKE TO MIDDLE RUNG AND BAKE UNTIL GOLDEN AND CRACKED ON TOP AND A CAKE TESTER INSERTED IN THE CENTRE COMES OUT CLEAN.
  • KEEP REFRIGERATED IN A HUMID CLIMATE. SERVE AND ROOM TEMPERATURE.

BADAM PISTA MILK FUDGE

 

INGREDIENTS

I tin condensed milk about 400 grams
150ml Whole-milk from a tetrapak
450 grams Brown sugar

110 grams unsalted Butter

1 teaspoon almond extract

Pinch salt

1/2 cup crushed badam pista cashew mix

9 inch square tin lined with wax or parchment paper

METHOD

Combine sugar milk, condensed milk, butter and salt in a heavy bottomed saucepan and Cook on a medium flame until fully incorporated and sugar has melted. Continue to cook another 13-14 minutes stirring constantly on medium heat. Mixture will froth and bubble. Scrape and stir to prevent burning.

Add almond extract stir well and remove from the fire.

Cool exactly five minutes then start beating it using a hand held or stand mixer until mixture gets thick and sticky about 10-12  minutes.

Spread mixture into a pan and sprinkle with badam pista kaju mixture. Let set 3-4 hours then cut into squares.

Stir in an airtight container in a cool place for 2-3 days.

COCONUT MAWA LADOO

INGREDIENTS FOR 8-10 LADOOS

1.5 CUPS FRESH KHOYA OR MAWA

2 CUPS FRESHLY GRATED WHITE MEAT OF COCONUT

3 TBSPNS GHEE

1 CUP CONDENSED MILK

1 TEASPOON POWDERED NUTMEG OR SEEDS OF GREEN CARDAMOM

15-20 STRANDS OF SAFFRON SOAKED IN 2 TABLESPOONS OF HOT MILK

 

METHOD:

Toast the coconut in a dry non stick skillet about 4-5 minutes. Dont brown, just dry the coconut out a bit. Reserve. Crumble the khoya or mawa and saute on a low flame with ghee until bubbly and soft. Add condensed milk and stir well. Add powdered spices and saffron with milk and stir again. Add coconut and stir until mixture comes together. Stir until bubbly. Taste for sugar and spice levels and adjust to taste. Switch off flame and let mixture cool 10 minutes. While it is still warm divide into 8 equal parts and roll each into a ball. Cool completely and keep refrigerated in an air tight container for 48 hours.

 

CARAMEL RUM BUNDT CAKE

This recipe can be adapted for different flavours. You can substitute the rum with caramel or maple water. You can use cinnamon instead of nutmeg and allspice. Whiskey is also an option to dark rum. Make sure to butter and flour the pan evenly and preheat oven to 350F. Watch Bundt Cake Tips on my Instagram profile or Facebook Videos.

INGREDIENTS

  1. 1.25 cups melted unsalted butter
  2. 1 cup dark rum or caramel or maple syrup water (see note below*)
  3. 4 eggs at room temperature
  4. 1.5 cups brown sugar
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (2 if you are not using dark rum)
  6. 1 teaspoon powdered nutmeg (cinnamon and cardamom powders can be substituted as well)
  7. 1/2 teaspoon powdered allspice or cinnamon
  8. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  9. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  10. 1 teaspoon lime or lemon juice
  11. 1 cup buttermilk
  12. 2.5 cups all purpose flour sifted plus more for flouring
  13. Vegetable oil or non stick cake spray for Bundt cake pan (10 cup capacity pan)

OPTIONAL FOR GLAZING

1 cup caramel sauce mixed with 2 tbsp dark rum or whiskey

or

1 cup toffee sauce

OR

Confectioners sugar for dusting

METHOD

  • Preheat oven to 350F and prepare lower rack.
  • Grease the Bundt cake pan (I used Heritage Nordicware Pan) with excessive oil then dust generously with flour to cover all crevices  and nooks of the Bundt Cake pan. Then turn pan over and tap out the excess by smacking the pan lightly on the counter top.
  • In a mixing bowl of a stand or hand mixer combine the first  8 ingredients and whisk thoroughly.
  • Add the lemon juice and baking soda to the buttermilk, stir and whisk into the batter.
  • Cup by cup add the flour and beat until well incorporated. Do not over beat.
  • Pour into Bundt Cake pan. Tap pan a few times against the counter to ensure the batter settles into the shape of your pan and air bubbles are removed. Use a spatula and smooth the top of batter.
  • Bake 40-45 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  • Remove from oven and cool 25 minutes in the pan. Donot unmold it for several hours.
  • Brush some of the caramel sauce over the top of the cake as it sits in the cake pan with a pastry brush if you are using a sauce. Do not pour it over the cake or into the sides. This is done to keep the top moist while the cake cools.
  • Cool completely for several hours if required until the pan is at room temperature.
  • To unmold shake the pan a little to loosen the cake. Avoid using a knife if possible. Turn over slowly onto a cake plate.
  • Brush with more sauce or just dust with confectioners sugar.

*FOR RUM SUBSTITUTE

Stir together 2 tbspns maple syrup and one cup hot water. Cool then add to batter.

Heat 3 tbsp caramel or toffee sauce with 1 cup water until dissolved. Cool and add to batter.

 

BUN MASCA CHOCOLATE BREAD PUDDING

THIS IS AN EASY DISH THAT EVERYONE LOVES. BUN MASCA  (MASCA MEANS BUTTER )IS AVAILABLE AT ANY IRANI BAKERY. IT COMES PARTIALLY SLICED AND BUTTERED. IT IS COMFORT HOME COOKING. IF YOU DONT LIKE CHOCOLATE LAYER THE BREAD WITH A GOOD JAM, ALMONDS, CARAMEL SAUCE, EVEN LEMON CURD.

SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 BUN MASCA FROM IRANI BAKERY
  • 1 CUP CHOCOLATE CHIPS SEMI SWEET
  • 1 TEASPOON BUTTER
  • FOR CUSTARD
  • 5 EGGS CRACKED AT ROOM TEMPERATURE
  • 1.5 TEASPOONS VANILLA EXTRACT
  • 1/2 CUP LIGHT CREAM (TETRAPAK) WARMED
  • 2 CUPS WHOLE MILK HOT
  • 1 CUP SUGAR CASTOR OR GRANULATED

BAKING TRAY TO FIT BOTH BUNS SNUGLY (ATLEAST 1.5 INCHES DEEP)

METHOD

TO ASSEMBLE BREAD

BUTTER YOUR BAKING PAN.

OPEN THE FIRST BUN UP (WATCH MY VIDEO ON IGTV) AND LAY EACH HALF ACROSS THE BAKING PAN OF YOUR CHOICE SO THE BREAD IS SPREAD EVENLY ACROSS THE PAN OF YOUR CHOICE. SCATTER CHOCOLATE CHIPS ALL OVER. OPEN UYP THE SECOND BUN MASCA AND LAY IT OVER THE STOP. PRESS DOWN SO IT FITS SNUGLY INTOT HE PAN. THEN USE A KNIFE AND CUT THE BREAD ACROSS ALLTHE WAY THROUGH IN TWO PLACES LENGTHWISE.

PREHEAT OVEN TO 325 AND PREPARE LOWER RUNG WITH BAKING RACK.

FOR THE CUSTARD

WHISK EGGS AND VANILLA WITH SUGAR UNTIL WELL INCORPORATED IN A MIXING BOWL. SLOWLY ADD WARM CREAM AND WHISK CONTINUOUSLY. ADD HOT MILK AND WHISK AGAIN. USING A SIEVE, STRAIN HALF THE MIXTURE OVER THE LAYERED BUNS. PRESS THE BUNS DOWN SO THE CUSTARD CAN SEEP INTO IT EVENLY. LET IT SIT 15 MINUTES.

SIEVE THE REMAINING MIXTURE OVER THE BUNS AND LET SIT 15 MINUTES.

BAKE 30-35 MINUTES UNTIL GOLDEN BROWN. WHEN YOU PRESS DOWN WITH A SPOON THE CUSTARD SHOULD NOT OOZE OUT BUT YOUR PUDDING SHOULD BE SOFT AND CUSTARDY INSIDE.

 

PUFF PASTRY IN INDIA

Puff Pastry photo Tara Deshpande

 

Puff Pastry- Where to Buy It in Mumbai and What to Make with It

Before the chicken puff came puff pastry. In India Pattice and savory Khara biscuits available at Irani cafes are the most commonly eaten snack made from puff pastry. 

Puff Pastry also known as butter paste and puff paste originated in France where it is called pâte feuilletée or feuilletage. Feuille is the French word for leaf.

 Puff pastry, unlike pâte brisée is a laminated dough where layers of dough are repeatedly rolled and rested with layers of butter to produce a very flaky, fine and crisp dough.  In some early, medieval recipes eggs were also added to the dough. 

The process is far more time consuming than short crust or the choux pastry (pate a choux) so many home cooks buy it frozen or readymade at a bakery.

photo Gallica

The first published recipe for puff pastry appeared in François Pierre La Varenne‘s “Pastissier Francois” in 1653.

But it was invented some years before this in 1645 by a French pastry cook’s apprentice, Claudius Gele who accidentally stumbled upon the technique for puff pastry while trying to make a loaf of bread for his bed ridden father. 

Claudius later went to work for the Brothers Mosca’s pastry shop in Florence, Italy where he continued to produce the puff pastry for his employers all the while keeping the recipe secret. He made his employers a fortune. 

While many food historians agree puff paste was a logical outcome of short crust pastry others believe that it was influenced by Middle Eastern Phyllo and werqa dough made with olive oil and fine sheets of dough. 

My 1765 edition of The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy by a Lady has an early recipe for ‘Puff-pafte’. By the early 1800’s Puff Pastry become the standard term used in English cookbooks.

photo

 

In Mumbai you can buy Puff Pastry to order at Worli’s City Bakery.  They sell it by the kilogram and must be ordered with 24 hour notice. It is also available refrigerated in 250 gram sheets at American Bakery in Byculla. Both are vegan. Check with the local Irani cafés in your city –if they make khara biscuits and pattice, chances are they will sell you the readymade dough. You can also buy it in the frozen section in supermarkets and some club shops.

I would advise you keep the fresh puff pastry refrigerated (not frozen) at all times and use it within 24 hours.

For me puff pastry is the go to when I don’t have time to make leavened dough or a short crust pastry.

Here are some of the easy, elegant and delicious recipes I make. You can also make chicken pot pies, cheese straws, vol au vents, poisson en croute (whole fish wrapped in pastry.

No Huff, Puff Pizza photo Bini Bharucha

NO HUFF PUFF PIZZA

Perfect for large groups, you can add on almost any filling.  While this recipe calls for a red sauce you can also do a Pizza Bianco or a sweet dessert pizza with fruit compote and almonds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NAPOLEONS

This classic layered dessert should be served plated as individual portions. They are impressive and elegant but easy to make.

Napoleons with pastry cream and fruit photo by Bini Bharucha

http://www.taradeshpande.in/mixed-fruit-napoleons-with-pastry-cream/

MUSHROOM AND GOAT’S CHEESE BEGGARS PURSES

Beggars Purses with puff pastry photo Beynaz Mistri

Knotted with chives these delicate purses can be stuffed with meat, prawns, tofu or turn them into a dessert.

http://www.taradeshpande.in/puff-pastry-beggars-purses-with-mushrooms-goats-cheese-and-thyme/

APPLE, HONEY AND CINNAMON TURNOVERS photo Bini Bharucha

Turnovers are so easy. I bake them just before the dessert course and serve them warm with vanilla ice cream and some honey drizzled over the top. A winner! 

http://www.taradeshpande.in/easy-apple-honey-and-cinnamon-turnovers/

 

Poisson En Croute

A classic French preparation this is a complex dish but makes a spectacular main course.

poisson en croute with puff pastry photo Tara Deshpande

 

ORIGINAL DEVIL’S FOOD CAKE RECIPE

Original Devils Food cake

THE ORIGINAL DEVIL’S FOOD CAKE RECIPE PUBLISHED IN SARAH TYSON RORERS NEW COOKBOOK IN 1906 IS COMPLETELY DIFFERENT FROM THE MODERN VERSION OF THE DEVILS’ FOOD CAKE THAT IS NOW SO POPULAR ALL OVER THE WORLD. IT IS HOWEVER DELICIOUS, ESPECIALLY WHEN PAIRED WITH A RICH FROSTING OR FILLING.

Modern Devils Food cake (left) and original Devils Food Cake (Right)

THE ORIGINAL DEVILS FOOD CAKE IS ESSENTIALLY A LIGHTLY FLAVOURED CHOCOLATE SPONGE CAKE. IF YOU LEAVE THE CHOCOLATE OUT OF THIS CAKE IT IS MORE LIKE AN EGGY GENOISE.

THIS CAKE IS MADE WITH CHOCOLATE AND NOT COCOA UNLIKE MODERN DEVIL’S FOOD CAKE RECIPES. THE QUANTITY OF CHOCOLATE USED IS MUCH LESS THAN IN THE MODERN VERSION OF THIS CAKE. IT ALSO EMPLOYS BUTTER AND CALLS FOR WHIPPING EGG WHITES. THIS CAKE IS MUCH DRIER THAN CAKES WE ARE USED TO SO I WOULD SUGGEST BRUSHING THE CAKE WITH SIMPLE SYRUP TO MOISTEN IT. IVE MADE ADAPTATIONS TO THE RECIPE BELOW BECAUSE I FOUND THE ORIGINAL RECIPE BATTER TOO THICK TO FOLD EGG WHITES INTO.

ORIGINAL DEVIL’S FOOD CAKE RECPE (adapted from Sarah Tyson Rorer’s Cookbook)

 

Makes 2 8 inch round cakes

3 cups of Maida or all purpose flour sifted together with a pinch of salt and 2 teaspoons baking powder

450 grams unsweetened baking chocolate broken into pieces

1/2 cup commercial cream

1.5 cups water

1/2 cup unsalted butter softened

1 cup castor or granulated sugar

4 large eggs at room temperature, separated carefully

FOR ASSEMBLY

5-6 cups dark chocolate butter cream

Beat together 1 cup regular cocoa, 1/4 tsp salt, 3 cups confectioners sugar and 500 grams unsalted butter until fluffy, 2 tablespoons or corn flour dissolved into 1/2 cup of warm milk.

1 cup simple syrup (optional)

Boil together 2 cups water and 1 cup sugar until reduced to 1 cup. Cool.

 

METHOD

Grease cake pans and line with parchment. Preheat oven to 350F and prepare middle rack.

Heat the milk and water on a medium flame. When it reaches a bubble turn off the flame and stir in the chocolate pieces and keep stirring until completely dissolved.

Reserve.

Beat the butter and sugar in a stand mixer or use a hand mixer. Beat on medium speed until soft, fluffy and creamy. Add vanilla extract and whisk again. Add one egg yolk at a time and beat until well incorporated. Add the chocolate mixture and beat again on high speed until completely incorporated. You will have a thick batter.

Beat the egg whites on medium speed for 2 minutes. Increase speed until egg whites reach stiff peaks.

Slowly using a spatula fold these egg whites into the batter.

Divide the batter into the two cake pans. Smoothen the tops gently.

Bake in bottom rung about 25 minutes. Then move to middle rung for another 15 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Your cake will have a light mocha or caramel colour. The top will be cracked like this-

This is what the original Devils Food cake looks like even when I added extra chocolate

 

 

Cool completely before unfolding.

ASSEMBLE

Use a sharp knife to slice the uneven tops off.

Slice each cake into 2 equal halves. Glaze with sugar syrup if desired.

Frost each layer and then cover the entire cake with frosting.

Serve at room temperature.

Frosted 4 layer Original Devils Food Cake

 

 

 

 

 

JAGGERY AND COCONUT MILK SHEERA

This cream of wheat dish is a variant of the traditional sheera I make with coconut milk.

 

 

 

 

If you use margarine this sheera is vegan.  You can also replace the coconut milk with whole milk and use charoli seeds instead of cashews.

 

Serves 6

2 cups fine semolina (raw or sooji)

3/4 cup  ghee or margarine

3/4 cup jaggery grated

1 teaspoon nutmeg powder

1/2 cup unsalted cashew pieces (1 tsp reserved for garnish)

1/4 cup fresh finely grated white meat of coconut

2.5 cups boiling hot water

1 cup coconut milk

METHOD

Roast the rawa or semolina in a large non stick skillet on high heat about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the cashews and or almonds and stir again. Add the margarine or ghee and stir it into the nuts and semolina and roast another 4-5 minutes. Add the  nutmeg and stir well. Add jaggery to the hot water and coconut milk and stir well. Stir in shredded coconut Immediately add the hot liquid to the semolina.

The mixture will splutter and steam so keep stirring vigorously until the water evaporates and the halwa/sheera thickens to a consistency you like. The sheera will have a faintly amber color on account of the jaggery.

Cool for a few minutes and serve. You can garnish with a few more  cashew pieces.

BUTTER SHEERA OR SUJI KA HALWA WITH BUTTER

Sheera or semolina halwa is really a spiced up version of cream of wheat. It is one of India’s most enduring desserts served to man and God, on sad and happy occasions. It is comfort home cooking at its best. I don’t make mine with ghee which is the norm and I use less sugar and butter than the standard recipe. I prefer a slightly salty butter. The combination of sweet and salty is irresistible.

Serves 6

2 cups fine semolina

1 cup butter (if using unsalted add a pinch of salt)

3/4-1 cup castor sugar (as per your taste)

1 teaspoon green cardamom seeds powder

8-10 crushed saffron strands

1/2 cup slivered almonds or cashew pieces or both (1 tsp reserved for garnish)

4.5 cups boiling hot water

METHOD

Roast the raw or semolina in a large non stick skillet on high heat about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the cashews and almonds and stir again. Add the butter and stir it into the nuts and semolina and roast another 4-5 minutes. Add the saffron and cardamom and stir well. Add sugar and stir quickly and immediately add the boiling hot water.

The mixture will splutter and steam so keep stirring vigorously until the water evaporates and the halwa/sheera thickens to a consistency you like.

Cool for a few minutes and serve. You can garnish with a few more almonds and cashews.

 

APPLE RUM AND RAISIN RICE PUDDING/KHEER

APPLE RUM AND RAISIN RICE PUDDING/KHEER

APPLE RUM AND RAISIN RICE PUDDING/KHEER

Ingredients

SERVES 5

1/2 CUP GOLDEN RAISINS SOAKED IN 1/4 CUP DARK RUM

FRESH JUICE OF TWO APPLES

2 APPLES PEELED AND DICED INTO 1/2 INCH PIECES

3 TABLESPOONS MEDIUM GRAIN RICE OR KHEER RICE, WASHED

3 CUPS WHOLE MILK, PLAIN

8 CASHEWS SPLICED IN HALF LENGTHWISE

2 TABLESPOONS BUTTER

Instructions

COOK THE RICE AND MILK TOGETHER IN AHEAVY BOTTOMED SAUCEPAN ON MEDIUM FLAME. STIR REGULARLY TO PREVENT BURNING UNTIL MILK IS DOWN TO 1.5 CUPS AND RICE IS COOKED.

STIR IN NUTMEG.

AS RICE COOKS COOK THE APPLE AND JUICE IN ANOTHER SKILLET ON MEDIUM HEAT UNTIL APPLES ARE VERY TENDER AND BEGIN TO CARAMELIZE.

ADD THE APPLES AND ANY SAUCE TO THE COOKED RICE AND MILK. STIR WELL. STIR IN RUM AND RAISINS.

TASTE FOR SWEETNESS. YOU CAN ADD HONEY OR REGULAR GRANULATED SUGAR IF YOU LIKE IT SWEETER. TOAST THE CASHEWS IN BUTTER ON A MEDIUM FLAME AND DRIZZLE OVER THE KHEER.

SERVE HOT OR COLD.

http://www.taradeshpande.in/apple-rum-and-raisin-rice-pudding-kheer/