Raspberry Lemon Tiramisu

Made this for a sweet friend’s baby shower. She was expecting a girl and I wanted to make a pink dessert. Actually, I am completely against the pink for girls and blue for boys tradition but I was in the mood to make a pink dessert so this was a perfect opportunity ūüėČ

Every time I make something, I have to do something different as it gives me opportunity to learn and experiment ..at the expense of my friends ūüėõ This was a crowd pleaser btw ūüôā

So, I have made Tiramisu many a times. I specifically love Mascarpone cheese. To me it’s perfect in desserts. It’s smooth, creamy, light and it doesn’t taste cheesy at all. Of course, it has a distinct taste that I think gives it’s unique flavor to Tiramisu. I also love lemon and use it as much as I can. I knew Raspberry and lemon goes well together so ventured on this and I am glad I did.

Raspberry Lemon Tiramasu-3

Disclaimer РI did not measure ingredients but have tried my best to size them below.

Servings – 12-16

Ingredients

Lady fingers 48 count

Mascarpone cheese 16 oz tub

Whipping cream – 4 cups

Raspberries – fresh/frozen mashed a little

lemon syrup РBring 1 cup of water with 1/2 cup sugar to boil, and peel of 2 lemons, 6-8 mint leaves, simmer for a couple mins and remove from heat. Cool down.  OR simply mix lemon curd and mint leaves with hot water and you get the same result.

Zest of 1 lemon

Sugar 1 cup

Method

Mix the mascarpone, sugar, raspberries, zest of 1 lemon and whisk until the whipping cream becomes thick and everything is mixed well.

You can keep another small cream mix ready for frosting. Do not add raspberries to it but add raspberry liquid until you get a pale pink color.

I used a cheese cake pan for this so removing the pan after the cake was set was easy. Layer the pan with parchment paper or foil.

Strain the lemon syrup and take it in a shallow dish.

Now layering,

Dip a lady finger in the lemon syrup. You don’t want it to soak too much liquid.¬†Place in the pan.

Once a layer or lady fingers is formed. Add a layer of the raspberry cream.

Keep doing this until the pan is filled.

Freeze for 5/6 hrs.

Remove the Tiramisu from the pan. Frost it with the cream saved for frosting. Decorate with fresh raspberries.

Raspberry Lemon Tiramasu

 

 

 

 

 

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Dates honey and almond Biscotti with hints of lemon

A healthy and middle eastern twist on Italian biscotti.

I was watching Chef Vikas Khanna talking about his approach to cooking recently. He said, in my cooking I love to add layers of flavors. He is an idol  and I felt so happy to hear that as I try to do the same when I cook. I love to come up with my own flavor combinations, layers of it and then work with a recipe and see how it turns out.

I have had my shares of failures especially when I try to make a recipe too healthy ¬†ūüôā¬†But this turned out good. I try to use no sugar or as little sugar as I can and try to increase the health quotient of any recipe. So instead of All purpose I use whole wheat flour. Instead of sugar, added sweetness with dates and honey and so on.

HoneyDateAlmodBiscotti-4

Quantity – 28-30

Ingredients

2 cups All purpose flour or whole wheat flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup canola oil

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup honey

2 eggs

2 tsp lemon zest

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup chopped dates

1 cup chopped almonds

 

Mix chopped dates with little flour and keep aside.

Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl to combine.

In a separate larger bowl, whisk eggs, oil, sugar, honey, lemon zest and vanilla until smooth.

Stir in dry mixture into the wet mixture. Mix well and then add dates and nuts and mix well.

Refrigerate the dough for atleast an hr.

Preheat over on 350 degree.

Divide the dough in 3 parts. Roll each one into desired size log. After first baking the logs will be double in size. The logs will be then cut into biscottis which we will bake again.

Line baking tray with mat or parchment paper. Place the logs on the tray. keep enough distance between them.

Bake for 20 mins, turing the pan once after 10 mins. Remove from oven. But do not turn off the oven.

Let the logs rest for 15 mins and then slice them to the required thickness. I like 1/2 inch. That way you also get more biscotti.

HoneyDateAlmondBiscotti-5

Transfer the slices back to baking pan, cut side up and bake for 12 mins. Remove and cool in the tray itself.

It stays good for at least a week at room temp.

HoneyDateAlmodBiscotti-3

 

 

Profiteroles with Pistachio icecream w/ hints of rose and orange blossom

Posting after a while. I love cooking¬†and experimenting but blogging doesn’t come to me naturally. I have to make it a discipline to blog. Made something special for a special person so had to share with you all.

We did a small celebration for¬†Anagha Godbole‘s¬†participation in Master Chef India today. Each one of us prepared a recipe from her blog and presented to her. It was a great fun to see Anagha totally caught by surprise ūüôā A lovely, down to earth person, who shares so many interests with me apart from having the same name. A true inspiration for me on my food journey.

This recipe combines classic french and Persian flavors together. I made profiteroles like one¬†from her blog(Link – https://thesaffrontouch.com/tag/profiteroles/ ). Filled them with pistachio icecream that has a hint of cardamom and rose. I perfumed the profiteroles with light Orange blossom water syrup. The inspiration for the icecream and the¬†Orange blossom water syrup came from another one of her recipe where she made a cookie with these ingredients (Link –¬†https://thesaffrontouch.com/2016/12/11/pistachio-cookie/ ).¬†Do check these out. She takes great effort in explaining every step.

In short, Profiterole is a french cream puffs generally filled with something sweet like pastry cream, icecream, custard etc. The base for this puff is choux pastry (pronounced as shoe pastry) dough. A versatile dough that can be turned into many popular desserts such as french  eclairs, beignets, spanish churros etc.

Profiteroles

servings – 20-24

Ingredients

1 cup milk

1 stick butter (8 Tbsp)

1 cup flour

a pinch of salt

4 eggs

Heat milk and butter together until butter melts. Add flour and salt. Mix well. Keep stirring until a lump forms. Continue stirring until you see that the lump starts sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Move the dough from the hot pan¬†into a different room temp. pan. Add one egg at a time and keep mixing. Using food processor or hand mixer works well. Before adding last egg do a test – take a piece of dough between your thumb and index finger. Pull the fingers apart, you will see peaks on both the fingers. You will see peaks of the dough. If the peaks stand firm on your fingers, you need more moisture so add the remaining egg. If the peak bends, you have enough moisture and you don’t need the last egg.

Pipe the dough into desired shape on to a baking tray and bake at 425 degrees for 20 mins or until you can lift the profiterol from the tray and they sound hollow from inside.

 

profiteroles with Pista icecream_0368profiteroles with Pista icecream_5027

Pistachio icecream

Ingredients

1 cup of half and half

1 cup of full fat milk

1 cup of whipping cream

1 cup of pistachio – lightly roasted and ground

1/4 cup pistachios crushed but not ground

1 tbsp of rose petals

2 drops of rose essence

Put all the ingredients in the icecream maker and let it do the work. I love Cuisinart Frozen yogurt Icemaker for this.

I also made a quick light syrup of orange blossom water by heating a 4 tbsp of water, 1 tsp of orange blossom water and 1 tbsp of sugar.

Assembly

Cut a profiterole in half. Add a dollop of the icecream on one half. Add a little orange blossom syrup. cover with other half and sprinkle with some crushed pistachios.

profiteroles with Pista icecream_7193

 

Indian Sloppy Joes

Who doesn’t like Sloppy Joes? Back in Wisconsin, I found varieties of Sloppy Joes. It’s a comfort food. This is what Wikipedia says about Sloppy Joes – A sloppy joe is a sandwich consisting of ground beef, onions, tomato sauce or ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and other seasonings, served on a hamburger bun. The dish originated in the United States during the early 20th century.

Here is my Indian version of Sloppy Joes using a  popular street food in India, specifically found in Maharashtra called Kheema Pav. The Kheema is made out of any minced meat and the pav is a kind of bun but much softer than the hamburger bun, the kind we get in India.

You can buy the pav from an Indian store or bakery. I chose to bake it at home. Will post the bread recipe soon.

Sloppy joes1

Servings 2

Ingredients

1/2 pound or 1/4 kg minced chicken or lamb ( i used chicken)

Whole spices –

1 cinnamon stick

1 whole black cardamom

2 green cardamoms

1 bay leaf

2 star anise

1 tsp garam masala

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

2 tsp cumin powder

2 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp chat masala

2-4 tbsp oil

Lemon juice as per taste

salt as per taste

Cilantro choppd

1 large onion finely chopped

1 tbsp ginger and garlic grated

2 green chillies finely chopped and or red chili powder.

2 large tomatoes finely chopped

4 to 6 pieces of Pav

Method

Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan. Add all the whole spices. Once you get a good aroma of the spices, add the onion, chilies and ginger garlic. Saute until onion is golden brown. Add the minced meat. Mix and let it cook completely.

Then add the tomatoes and rest of the spice mix and powders. Cook until oil oozes out to the sides. Squeeze lemon and garnish with cilantro.

Serve it like a Sloppy joes with the kheema stuffed between the pav or the indian style as you see below.

kheema pav.jpeg

 

Lemon curd-Greek yogurt pastry with Raspberry Coulis

The name sounds gourmet, the presentation in inviting, it tastes equally good and it is a semi-homemade dessert you can make in a very short time and wow your friends and family.

Not a single day goes by where I have not thought of something creative. I have to. It’s who I am. I feel dull if my creativity is not challenged some way. So, this week, when I invited my art craft group friends over for a lunch and craft afternoon, I was thinking of a dessert that is tasty yet easy on me as I am sort of handicapped right now with an injury.

For a long time, I have been planning to use Croissant dough(the readily available in stores) in some ways. Decided to turn the dough into a pastry. Next comes my favorite ingredient – lemon. Thus a lemon pastry is born. I also wanted to incorporate Greek yogurt somehow. You can stop here and eat this for dessert or as a fancy breakfast. Or go ahead and add raspberry coulis to further the flavor profile.

You can build a variety of desserts this way. Contact me if you would want ideas.

On the side we made these origami flowers called kusudama.

kusudama

Servings 8

Ingredients

Croissant dough that turns into 8 croissants

8 tsp Lemon curd

3/4 cup Greek yogurt

1/2 tsp vanilla

2 tbsp sugar

1/2 cup Raspberry coulis

Method

Unroll the croissant dough into 8 precut pieces. Shape them a little so they can hold the lemon curd and yogurt.

Mix the greek yogurt, vanilla and sugar well.

Mix raspberries with sugar and keep aside.

Drop some greek yogurt on the pastry. Cover it with lemon curd.

Bake for 12-15 mins on 360-365 degree F.

Serve with the raspberry coulis.

 

 

 

 

 

Modern take on Rajasthan classic Ghevar Rabdi

Those who have tasted the traditional Ghevar drool even¬†with a mention of it. Top it with Rabdi and it’s match made in heaven ūüôā Only problem with this traditional dessert like any other Indian dessert is that it is loaded with fat(trans fat to be specific), sugar and everything unhealthy that you can think of. ¬†Ghevar is made with Maida that is deep fried in ghee, soaked in sugar syrup and rabdi is made with malai(full fat cream) and sugar and all of it takes a long time to get it right.

I made my own interpretation of this combo. My goal was to get the flavors but keep it healthy. So in place of ghevar, I made graham cracker crust flavored with ghee and spices. For Rabdi, I used combination of heavy cream and Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is healthy and adds tangy flavor.

 

ghevar-rabdi-2

So here it goes.

Servings 4

Ghevar Ingredients

1 cup Graham crackers crushed (already has sugar in it)

1 tbsp ghee

1/4 tsp cardamom powder

pinch of nutmeg

pinch of mace powder

Method

Roast the crushed crackers into ghee until crispy and sprinkle with the spice powders. Keep aside.

Rabdi Ingredients

1/4 cup(or as per your taste) heavy cream

1/4 cup greek yogurt

1 tbsp chopped nuts – cashew, pistachio, almonds

a couple of Saffron strands mixed with a little warm water

a drop of rose syrup

1/4 tsp of cardamom powder

3-4 tbsp sugar or honey as per your taste

Method

Whip the cream, sugar and greek yogurt together. Add a little milk if the mixture feels heavy.

Mix in the nuts, rose syrup, saffron water and cardamom powder.

You can serve it as you see in the photo or layer it in a cup like below.

ghevar-rabdi-4

 

 

 

 

Fire crackers with love

On to crackers today. Played with some flavor combinations. Got very interesting results. Here are some that I liked. You can use just plain salt as well. You could also add crushed black pepper.

kalonji/onion seeds + sesame seeds + salt – great with Indian tea

Oregano + rosemary + thyme + salt – great with italian or mexican dips

crushed fennel seeds + coriander seeds + salt – by itself loved this combo, flavorful. Goes well with India tea.

everything Or Achari combo –¬†crushed fennel seeds + coriander seeds + red chili flakes + ajwain + sesame seeds + kalonji/ onion seeds – firecrackers in the mouth ūüôā

cracker-spices

Ingredients

‚ÖĒ cup butter

1 tsp sugar

¬Ĺ tsp salt

2 cups flour

1 egg

2 – 3 tbsp cold water

spiced-crackers-1

Method

Heat the oven to 400¬įF.

Mix butter, sugar, salt, water and egg in a bowl and mix well.

Add the flour and mix quickly only until it holds together. Do not overwork.

Roll out the dough and cut into any shapes you like. You can poke the dough with fork. If you don’t you will get a puffed cracker. Your choice.

Bake for 10 mins or until golden brown.

Serve with dip or hot India tea.

spiced-crackers-2

Red wine Poached pear with orange cream and pistachio crumble

I love love poached pears or for that matter any poached fruit. It not only keeps the freshness of the fruit intact but the flavor infusion elevates the the enjoyment to a different level.

So far I have poached pear only in spices but this time did it in red wine. As I was poaching that I thought why not make a Sangria dessert. So decided to serve the pear with fresh orange cream and fresh pistachio and praline crumble. Turned out to be a great combination.

poached-pear5

Servings 8-12

Ingredients for Poached pears

3 Fresh firm Pears

3/4 bottle of any red wine

2 cups of water

5-6 inches long Cinnamon stick

2-3 star anise

3/4 cup of sugar

Ingredients for cream

1 pint Heavy Whipping cream

1 tsp orange zest

1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar

Method

Peel the pears keeping the stem intact.You can cut the pear in half.

In a heavy bottom pan, mix everything else for the poaching, let it come close to boil, add the pears and simmer for 2-3 hrs. make sure the pears don’t get mushy.

Whip the cream, sugar and orange zest together. Fill in a piping bag.

For crumble РI just crushed my leftover praline from my previous praline recipe and some fresh pistachios.

To serve, cut the pear into pieces or serve half or whole however you like it and pipe some cream and top with the crumble.

poached-pear-1

 

 

 

Cardamom Saffron Panna Cotta with rose syrup topped with pistachio praline and rose petals

Made this Panna Cotta 2 weeks back for a dinner party at friend’s place. I love Panna Cotta as it is rich light Italian dessert and to me, it’s a blank canvas that you can paint with any flavors. Lately I have been studying Middle eastern-Persian flavors. So decided to add the persian flavors to the panna Cotta and it turned out to be the best panna cotta I have ever had. The key is in balancing the flavors and not let any one flavor take over. It’s mild, creamy with the crunch of praline. Heaven !!

Persian cuisine is rich with aromatic herbs like mint, basil, parsley, and spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg. You will find generous use of fruits such as orange, figs, prunes, and almonds, pistachio nuts. Like India, Persian food is influenced by flavors surrounding countries such as Afganistan, Pakistan, Turkey and even parts of Europe as it was part of the ancient silk route.

persianpannacotta2

Servings 8

Ingredients

Pistachio Praline

handful of pistachios cleaned and crushed

1/2 cup sugar

2 tbsp water

Rose Syrup

1 and 1/2 tsp rose water

a little red food color (I used water from boiled beets)

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

Panna Cotta

1 tbsp or 1 envelope unflavored gelatin

2 tbsp cold water

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup half and half

7-8 cardamom pods

a couple of saffron strands

1/3 cup sugar

Directions

Sprinkle gelatin over water and let it sit and bloom.

In a heavy saucepan, heat the cream, half and half and sugar together. Open each cardamom pod a little and add to the pot. Heat it on med heat close to boil but not boiling. Add the 1 tbsp bloomed gelatin. Mix well until the gelatin is dissolved. Strain and then add the saffron strands. Cool down.

In another small pan, combine ingredients for syrup Рsugar, rosewater and water over medium heat. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low and cook, stir for 1 minute until sugar dissolves. Add the food color and mix well until you get a light rose color. 

For Praline, line a baking tray with parchment paper. Spread the pistachios. Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high, bring to the boil, then cook, without stirring, until you get the desired color. Pour the syrup over the pistachios immediately and let it chill for an hour. Break the Praline into crystals or pieces.

pista-praline

To set, take 8 individual bowls, add the rose syrup at the bottom, let it chill in the freezer until it gets thick. Divide the panna Cotta mixture in the 8 bowls and put it back in fridge this time.

For serving, damp the bowls in warm water for 3 seconds, run a knife around and see it will come out and turn upside down on a plate. Top with the pistachio crystals and rose petals.

Tip РIf you want to make a single large panna cotta, increase the amount of gelatin by 1/2 tbsp.

persianpannacotta1

 

 

 

 

 

Lemon and cardamom flavored Christmas cookies

It’s winter, you hear christmas jingles everywhere, the homes are lit up and my mind flows through the wonderful aroma of baked goods around the kitchens ūüôā ¬†And these cookies makes me feel festive.This is my take on the christmas fruit cake but with my favorite flavors. These cookies have the colors from the¬†nuts and fruits¬†and they are¬†packed with flavors of different fruits and nuts and the light hints of lemon and cardamom are so refreshing.

I love shortbreads. They are so versatile, you can make wonders by adding a variety of flavors to them. The ratios of ingredients are similar to the Indian nankhatai the textures are very different and that is due to temperature of butter and the way you mix it with other ingredients. That is the magic of baking science. Nankhatai has a little more crispy crunchy texture, shortbread is a crispy cookie but a little softer core that is sort of like a cake. Again that also depends on how long you bake it and how long you freeze the dough etc.

You can keep the shortbread dough ready in the freeze for later use. The longer it stays in the fridge affects the color and the texture. It is nicely explained in this articles.

Generally, the formula for shortbread cookies is 1-2-3 of sugar-butter-flour. Add more to this recipe to compensate for the sour ingredients. Some add cornstarch to this recipe to give the cookie more crumbly texture and more shortbread type taste. It also acts as a binder. To add cornstarch, replace the 2 tbsp of flour with cornstarch.

dry-fruits-shortbread-cookies-3

Ingredients

1/2 cup sugar ¬†(I used 1/3 cup as I don’t like ¬†lot of sugar)

1/2 cup butter (1 stick of butter Рhas marking of cup measurement on it)  Рat room temp, softened.

1 cup and 2 tbsp All purpose flour

Pinch of salt

1 tbsp of lemon zest

1/4 tsp cardamom powder – you can add more for pronounced test. this is quite light.

Dried fruits and nuts – cranberries, pistachio, almonds, pecans, dried fruits (crush the nuts and chop the fruits somewhat)

Directions

In a bowl beat together the butter, sugar and salt until it is light and fluffy.

Add cardamom powder, lemon zest. Mix well.

Add flour and dried fruits and nuts and mix into a soft dough.

Put it on a plastic wrap, wrap it and them shape into a round log or square, triangle any shape you like. Pack the wrap on both sides and fridge at least for an hour or 2.

Set the oven to 320 degree F.

Take the log out of fridge. Slice¬†the dough into 1/4 inch thick slices. Its a bit tricky to cut through the nuts and fruits. You need patience ūüôā

dry-fruits-shortbread-cookies-2

Put it on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Leave around an inch of space between them as they do expand.

Bake on the middle rack for 12-15 mins or until the edges turn slightly brown. The cookie will be a little soft at the middle and will set as it cools down. Check on from 12 mins onwards.

Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.