Strawberry Savarin

Strawberries are just divine. They burst with flavour when you pop them into your mouth. I can’t think of anything better than strawberries and cream on a hot summer day. It’s my favourite dessert. These berries are organic and they taste so much better and more natural than the hybrid variety. I’m sad that we don’t get them throughout the year.

I have made this Savarin several times. A Savarin is actually a brioche dough baked in the shape of a ring. It’s where bread meets cake! I once made the recipe from the queen of cakes – Rose Levy Beranbaum. It took two days but the result was superb. She recommends resting the dough overnight in the fridge and does not use instant yeast. I have used instant yeast for this recipe, which is quite easy. Don’t worry if the dough is wet. It all turns out perfectly in the end, I promise you. It’s quite simple to make and the syrup has to be poured on the savarin and left aside for a few hours. The best way to do this is to unmould it first and put it back in the mould after some time. I made some holes in the cake bread and then poured the sugar syrup over it.

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I used rosewater to flavour the syrup and the cream. It was a refreshing change from the usual rum or vanilla. Rosewater and strawberries turned out to be a lovely flavour combination. You can also fill the savarin with Chantilly cream and serve the berries on the side. Either way, it’s just delicious. If you want to make something special, then this savarin will be perfect. As you can see in the photo below, the texture of the Savarin is great.

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PREP: 15 minutes COOK TIME: 4050 minutes TOTAL TIME: 2 hours

Ingredients

135 gms plain flour

3/4 ozs instant yeast

15 gms caster sugar

2 eggs

3 ozs warm milk

40 gms butter

Pinch of salt

Syrup

120 gms sugar

1/2 cup water

1-2 tbsp rosewater

Crème Chantilly

Instructions

Grease a 7 inch Savarin pan.

Sift the flour into a large bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of sugar, beaten eggs and yeast to the warm milk and mix well. Tip the mixture into the centre of the flour and beat for about 5 minutes. A stand mixer is a good option, but if you don’t have one, then just beat well with a wooden spoon. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and leave to prove in a warm place until it doubles in size – around 40-50 minutes. Cream the butter and salt and beat it into the yeast mixture with the remaining sugar. Beat for about 5 minutes and pour the batter into the prepared pan and prove until the mixture reaches the top of the pan – around 15-20 minutes. Preheat the oven at this point to 200C, while the dough is proving. Bake for 20-30 minutes until well browned.

While the Savarin is baking, prepare the syrup. Dissolve the sugar in the water and boil steadily for 5 minutes. Flavour with the rosewater and set aside.

Loosen the savarin from the pan and turn it out carefully on to a wire rack. When it is still warm, put it back into the pan and make small holes with a toothpick. Baste the savarin with the syrup until the cake is completely soaked through. Leave it in the pan for 4-5 hours or overnight and turn it out carefully on to a serving plate. Fill the centre with the strawberries and serve with Chantilly crème.

Pear and Pistachio Ganache Mille- Feuille

What could be better than making this lovely mille-feuille for a special occasion? Crisp layers of puff pastry with juicy pear and a delicious white chocolate pistachio ganache – It just melts in your mouth!

Readymade puff pastry makes this an easy option. I made the pistachio paste from scratch because it’s not available here. I got the recipe from here https://www.sweetandsavorybyshinee.com/homemade-pistachio-paste/. It was really good. Instead of the usual Creme Patissiere I opted for a white chocolate ganache for the filling and mixed it with the pistachio paste. It blended perfectly with the pears. I used regular baking chocolate and I was happy with the result. You could use Guittard if it’s a special occasion. 

There are many good white chocolate ganache recipes available on the web. It’s also really easy to make either by the stovetop method or by microwave. However, this is the recipe that I used – https://letthebakingbegin.com/white-chocolate-ganache/.

I cut out the pastry heart shapes before baking them. This makes it much easier to handle and assemble. I hope you enjoy making them. This recipe makes around 7-8 mille-feuille pastries.

PREP:   15 minutes  COOK TIME:  30-40 minutes  

Ingredients

250 grams puff pastry

1 large pear, thinly sliced

1 cup white chocolate ganache

5 tbsp pistachio paste

Green food colour (optional)

Icing sugar 

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Blend the white chocolate ganache with the pistachio paste and a drop of green food colouring, if using. Transfer this mixture to a piping bag and chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes. 

Roll the puff pastry to a thickness of about 2mm using a little flour to dust the surface and cut out the heart shapes. Use the remaining pastry in the same way. Prick the pastry with a fork to prevent them from rising. Line a baking tray with parchment and place the heart-shaped pastries on it. Cover it with another piece of parchment and place a baking tray over it. Bake for about 20 minutes rotating the tray halfway to ensure even baking. The pastry should be golden brown in colour. Remove the tray from the oven and transfer the pastries from the parchment on to another tray. Let the pastry cool completely.

To assemble, place some pear slices on top of a pastry and pipe some pistachio ganache on it. Place another pastry on this and repeat the same process. Top with another pastry heart and dust with icing sugar on top. Assemble all the pastries this way. 

 

 

Lime and Plum Trifle

A British classic, this dessert has many variations. Originally it consists of sponge cake soaked in syrup, topped with fruit and custard and whipped cream to finish it off. I decided to experiment with the numerous limes that my tree had borne this year. Asian limes are much stronger than lemons and so a little bit goes a long way.

I also wanted something without too many calories and so I substituted Greek yogurt for the cream. I also made a coconut milk custard instead of the usual egg custard, which is both dairy free and eggless. You can make this completely vegan by using vegan cake and coconut milk yogurt. 

Lime and coconut is a wonderful combination. Trifle is all about layering. The bottom layer consisted of sponges sandwiched with lime jam that I had made earlier. These were soaked in syrup and topped with the coconut milk custard. Then I topped this off with the plum compote and the final layer was the lime curd folded with the Greek yogurt.

The layers blended well together and the result was a lovely trifle with a decidedly sharp lime flavour. I love lime and lemons and so I found it delicious. You can let your imagination run riot and experiment with various fruits such as raspberries, strawberries, oranges, etc.

PREP:  20 minutes  COOK TIME:  40 minutes

Ingredients

6-8 trifle sponges or shop bought cake cut into slices

400 ml+ 3 tbsp coconut milk

3 tbsp cornflour

1/3 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

600 ml water

350 grams sugar

1 tbsp lime zest

500 gms plums

400 ml Greek yogurt

1/3 cup lime/lemon curd

6-8 tbsp lime/lemon jam 

3-4 tbsp vodka (optional)

Instructions

First, make the sugar syrup by boiling the 600 ml water with the 350 gms sugar for about 10-15 minutes until you obtain a syrup. Add the lime zest and allow it to cool.

Cut the plums around the middle and twist to remove the stone from the centre. Place the plums in a small pan and add about a cup of the sugar syrup. Cook for about 10 minutes until the plums are softened but still whole. You can also cook them completely to make a sauce but I just left them whole. Reserve some of the syrup for decoration.

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Mix the 3 tbsp coconut milk with the cornflour to make a slurry. Place the 400 ml coconut milk in a pan with the 1/3 cup sugar, vanilla extract  and add the slurry. Heat the mixture, stirring vigorously until the mixture thickens to a custard. It will take about 10 minutes. Cool completely.

Place the lime curd in a bowl and fold the Greek yogurt through it, until they are well blended. Do not overmix.

Sandwich the sponges with lime jam or any other jam that you prefer. Place the sponges in a wide glass dish and spoon about a cup of the sugar syrup on them to soak them completely. Splash the vodka on top. Next spoon the coconut milk custard on the sponge layer and then the plum compote. Finish the dessert with the lime curd and Greek yogurt mixture. Decorate with the reserved plum syrup and enjoy.

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yoghurt and matcha swirl with mango

This modern and elegant dessert shows how well matcha goes with yogurt, chocolate and fruit. I was surprised when I tasted this lovely dish. It was wonderful to taste the silky combination of mango with the white chocolate and yogurt and I could get the subtle flavour of matcha too. It’s the perfect ending to a special party! Keep your guests wondering  what actually goes into making this super easy and delicious dessert.

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This superb dessert recipe is from http://www.epicurious.com and was created by Meryl Rothstein.

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PREP: 30 minutes SERVES: 4

Ingredients

1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted, cut into small cubes

4 tsp sugar divided

31/2 oz high-quality white chocolate

11/2 cups Greek yogurt

1 tsp matcha powder

Instructions

Mix the mango with two teaspoons of the sugar and macerate for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the white chocolate in a metal bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir until melted. Remove from heat and whisk until smooth. Cool slightly and gradually whisk in the yogurt. Divide the mixture between two small bowls.

Whisk the remaining two teaspoons sugar and matcha powder in another small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon hot water and whisk to form a smooth paste. Add the paste to one bowl containing the white chocolate-yogurt mixture. Whisk to blend well.

Divide the mango into four and place them in attractive glasses. Make a well in the green yogurt mixture and pour the white yogurt mixture into the centre. Fold gently once or twice just enough to create swirls. Spoon over the mango, dividing equally. Chill until you are ready to serve.

Olive, Lemon and Coconut Pots

I have been intrigued by savoury desserts for some time. The concept is not new, but many chefs have taken this to a whole new level. I had earlier made a Tomato Soup Cake which fits the bill for savoury desserts. However, I wanted to try something different.

Olives and lemon are a great combination and I thought of including coconut with these flavours. I used Greek yoghurt instead of cream and the dessert was light and creamy.

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For those of you that love savoury foods, this recipe will be ideal. If you’re also looking to cut down on your sugar cravings, this dessert is perfect.

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Anyway, the result was surprising, but in a nice way. I loved the taste – the olives were more prominent and I could taste the other ingredients, though it was more subtle. It’s quite filling and you can snack on these without feeling too guilty!

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PREP: 15 minutes COOK TIME: 40-50 minutes SERVES: 4

Ingredients

400 gms Greek yoghurt

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 tsp cornflour

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

!/8 tsp salt

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/2 cup coconut milk

1/8 tsp coconut extract, optional

1/3 cup black olives, pitted

2 tbsp lemon juice

Olive and lemon slices for garnish

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 160C.

Grease four ramekin dishes with a little butter.

Place the olives in a blender and process until smooth.

Place the Greek yoghurt in a mixing bowl and beat well until smooth. Add the granulated sugar, cornflour, vanilla extract and salt and beat well.

Add the beaten egg slowly and mix well. Add the coconut milk, olive paste, lemon juice and coconut extract and beat until combined. Spoon the mixture into the ramekin dishes. Place them in a roasting pan half-filled with hot water and bake 40-50 minutes until it is set. Remove the roasting tin carefully from the oven and remove the ramekins. Cool.

Cover with clingfilm and place in the refrigerator. It will store for up to a week. Garnish with the olive and lemon slices before serving.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mango Custard with Grapes

The summer brings forth the mango season and though I missed a good part of the season due to the lock down, I still managed to make a few dishes using this golden fruit. There’s nothing quite like the perfume of mangoes wafting through the kitchen. It’s just lovely!

I had this idea to make mango custard. It turned out to be a great success. Everybody loved it. I have used grapes, but you can use any fruit of your choice. It’s a light and refreshing end to a summer meal.

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You can serve this silky, smooth custard warm or chilled. Either way, it’s a refreshing and unusual dessert. Sponge fingers would be ideal to serve with this custard.

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PREP: 15 minutes COOK TIME: 20 minutes

Ingredients

3 egg yolks

1 tsp cornflour

4 tbsp sugar

2 cups milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

A pinch of saffron

1 large mango, cubed

A few grapes, deseeded

Instructions

Mix the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour to a paste in a pan. Add the milk and saffron and cook over moderate heat, stirring continuously until the mixture is thickened. Remove from heat and let the custard cool. Add the vanilla extract.

Blend a cup of the custard with the mangoes until the mixture is smooth and free of lumps. Add the blended mixture back to the custard and mix well.

Place the grapes in the bottom of four individual glasses and spoon the custard over them. Serve warm or chilled with sponge fingers.

No-Bake Chocolate-Lemon Mini-Tarts

My first reaction to a chocolate flavoured with lime was disbelief. That was quite a while ago and since then I have come to love this combination. So, when I had some lemon filling left over from my cake (please refer my earlier post Lemon Cheese Cake), I decided to make these tarts.

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The original recipe for the chocolate shells are from Hershey’s. I just used lemon filling instead of their cream cheese filling. It tasted amazing! I just loved the sharpness of the lemon against the rich chocolatey tarts.

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You need to make only half the filling for the tarts. I already had some left over after using it as a filling for the cakes.

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If you decide to make these, please let me know. They’re really simple – just mix all the ingredients for the tart shells and refrigerate. This recipe makes around 20 tarts.

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PREP: 30 minutes

Ingredients

8 egg yolks, beaten

1 cup lemon juice

5 tbsp flour

21/2 cups sugar

115 gms butter (¼ lb)

½ cup hot water

Tart Shells

2 cups icing sugar

1 cup vanilla wafer crumbs

1 cup ground almonds

½ cup Hershey’s cocoa

¼ cup milk

Combine icing sugar, wafer crumbs, ground almonds and cocoa in a bowl. Sprinkle in milk, a little at a time, mixing until the ingredients are moistened and cling together. Shape into walnut sized pieces. Place in 20 paper-lined 11/4 inch muffin cups. Press the dough against the bottom and sides of each cup. Chill.

To make the filling, beat all the ingredients together with ½ cup hot water together. Cook in a double boiler, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and is of spreading consistency. Cool and fill the tart shells with the filling. Sprinkle some desiccated coconut on the top.

Lemon Cheese Cake

I have no idea why this cake is called Lemon Cheese Cake. It has nothing to do with Cheesecake. I guess it’s because the filling is like lemon cheese. The filling is really gorgeous – intensely lemony! I loved it.

I used 8 inch cake pans because I wanted the height, but you could also use 9 inch cake pans. It keeps very well in the fridge for up to a week but it didn’t last that long at my home. If you love lemons, then you will probably like to try this out. I am definitely going to make it again. It’s easy and delicious. Perfect for a summer afternoon.

This recipe is from American Cooking.

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PREP: 30 minutes COOK TIME: 1 hour

Ingredients

1 cup butter

2 cups sugar

31/3 cup flour, sifted

2 tsp baking powder

Pinch of salt

1 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla

8 egg whites

Filling

8 egg yolks, beaten

1 cup lemon juice

5 tbsp flour

21/2 cups sugar

115 gms butter (¼ lb)

½ cup hot water

Instructions

Preheat oven to 165 C. Grease and flour three 8 inch cake pans.

Beat the egg whites until they are stiff and stand in peaks.

Cream butter and sugar together until it is light and fluffy. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together. Add a third of the flour mixture to the creamed mixture alternating with a third of the milk. Beat well. Repeat this process twice until all the flour and milk has been incorporated, beating after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and fold in the stiffly beaten egg whites. Spoon the batter into the tins and level the surface gently. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes until the cake tests done. Cool the layers thoroughly and remove from the pans.

To make the filling, beat all the ingredients together with ½ cup hot water together. Cook in a double boiler, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and is of spreading consistency. Cool and spread between the layers of the cake. Dust with caster sugar on the top.

Apricot Passion Fruit Slice

A refreshing change, this unusual combination of dried apricots with Passion fruit makes it an extra special dish to serve for a festive breakfast. A sweet treat for your guests for the New year or for any occasion really! You could also serve this as a dessert – either way it’s delicious.

As you bite into it, the sweetness of the apricots mixed with the tangy flavour of the passion fruit is lovely.

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PREP: 30 minutes COOK TIME: 40 minutes

Ingredients

140 g rolled oats

125 g brown sugar

125 g wholemeal self-raising flour

185 g butter, melted

2 tsp grated lemon rind

Filling

155 g dried apricots, chopped

125 ml (4 fl oz) water

60 ml (2 fl oz) passion fruit pulp

2 tbsp sugar

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 180 C.

Grease a shallow 7X11 inches cake tin.

Place the oats, sugar and flour in a large mixing bowl and mix well. Stir in the butter and lemon rind and mix together. Press half the mixture on the base of the tin.

To make the filling, combine all the ingredients in a small pan and bring to the boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer until the apricots are soft and all the liquid is absorbed. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Spread evenly over the oat mixture.

Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture over the filling and bake for 40 minutes or until browned and crisp. Cut into slices and serve warm with a dollop of cream or yogurt.

Gateaux De Riz Au Figues

Rice pudding exists in several countries in varied forms – please see the link below for a brief history on rice pudding.

http://writinginthekitchen.com/2017/10/08/a-brief-history-of-rice-pudding/

India itself has several forms of rice pudding, with each region having their own take on it. In South India, a form of rice pudding called ‘Pongal’ is made for the Harvest Festival which occurs in January each year. This is flavoured with jaggery and has nuts and raisins in it and is scented with ghee and cardamom. Another form of sugar, called rock candy or rock sugar can also be used to flavour rice. The flavour is really distinctive. An Indian rice pudding, called ‘kheer’ or ‘payasam’ is also very popular. It can be made with milk or coconut milk.

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I got this recipe from http://www.tarteletteblog.com/2011/08/recipe-gluten-free-fig-gateau-de-riz.html .

However, I used basmati rice. I think that it really makes a difference – the aroma of basmati rice is unique and so is the flavour. It elevates the dish and I used jaggery instead of brown sugar and added ghee and cardamom powder. I also served it with chocolate sauce. The figs looked superb and the dish tasted wonderful. This is so easy to make and it can be made in advance and heated up whenever you want to serve it. It’s also gluten free.

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PREP: 15 minutes COOK TIME: 50 minutes

Ingredients

1 cup basmati rice

1 cup water

13/4 cups coconut milk

½ tsp salt

2/3 cup jaggery

6 large eggs

1/3 cup ghee/butter

1 tsp cardamom powder/vanilla essence

20 small figs, sliced thinly

Chocolate sauce/Sweetened cream

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 180 C. Line a 13×9 inch pan with parchment paper.

Soak the basmati rice in 1 cup of water and 1 cup of coconut milk for 15 minutes with the salt. Cook in a rice cooker until the rice is cooked. Do not overcook. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Combine the jaggery, eggs, ¾ cup coconut milk, ghee and cardamom powder. Add this mixture to the rice and mix until well combined. Spoon into the prepared baking dish and arrange the figs on top. Bake for 30-40 minutes until it is lightly browned on top. Serve hot with chocolate sauce or a dollop of sweetened cream.