Kesar Pista Kulfi


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March has been wonderful this year. My husband and I went on a holiday to the UK. We have family in Aberdeen who joined us in London for a few days before they became perfect hosts in Scotland. The Granite City is breathtaking with its abundance of nature, chilly-wind weather and lung cleansing fresh air. It was a refreshing vacation for the mind and the soul. On arrival in Abu Dhabi, the temperature was slowly rising. Last weeks’ sand-stormish spell was broken with much longed for rain. Unfortunately, this is the sign that summer is right around the corner and it is not long before we will be forced indoors because of the scorching heat.



Right before I left for the holiday, I read about the Indian Food Palooza on Prerna’s blog, Indian Simmer. I had mentally made a note to participate and was toying around with options. If you know me already, I was thinking of dessert. My cousin in Scotland had great success making Kulfi for dessert for a dinner party she had. We planned on making it together during our stay. We were having so much fun that I didn’t remember about it till I came back to Abu Dhabi.


This Indian Food Palooza has been such a great idea. In Prerna’s words, she and her friends Kathy and Barbara came up with “an event where we could motivate people to cook some Indian food and learn a few things about it and maybe along the way can teach us a thing or two as well.” I had bought an ice lolly maker in anticipation of the summer in Abu Dhabi. It made perfect sense to make Kulfi for the Palooza.


Kulfi is an Indian, no-whipped version of ice-cream. If you do a search for Kulfi on the web, most food bloggers native to India have a story how they were not allowed to have Kulfi sold by the ice-cream vendors on the street. Cream, rose, cardamom and mango are just a few flavors this dessert comes in. I knew I wanted to make my Kulfi with Pistachios and Saffron.


Emerald green pistachios have been a lifelong favorite. I’ve always preferred them raw, shelled and unsalted. Saffron competes with Cinnamon for top spice on my list. The deep red spice deceives as it imparts and infuses a sunshine yellow when sprinkled in lukewarm milk. For a hue lover like me, it is a heady experience every time. I associate the flavor of saffron with luxury. True to all the flavors of these ingredients, this Kesar Pista Kulfi was divine.


The original recipe of the Kulfi I made is from the blog, Food for 7 stages of Life. Without further ado, let’s make some Kesar Pista Kulfi.

Kesar Pista Kulfi

Barely Adapted from this recipe.

INGREDIENTS

  • 350 ml or 1 and 2/3 cup Heavy Cream
  • 159 ml or 1 tin Evaporated Milk
  • 1 cup Low-Fat Milk
  • 2 tsp Corn starch/Corn flour
  • 2 tbsp Water
  • 3/4 cup Sugar
  • 20 Pistachios, unsalted and raw
  • 20 Almonds, blanched and skinned
  • 3 Cardamon pods
  • 2 tsp Saffron
  • 2 tbsp Lukewarm Low-Fat Milk
  • Coarsely chopped Pistachios to garnish

METHOD

  • In 2 tablespoons of lukewarm milk, dissolve saffron and let it rest.
  • In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, on a medium flame, add heavy cream, evaporated milk and milk. Keep stirring in between. This will prevent the burning of milk.
  • Pulse the Pistachio and Almonds in a grinder briefly to a sandy texture.
  • Dissolve corn starch in 2 tbsp water.
  • When the milk starts boiling, add this mixture and stir well for 2 minutes.
  • Reduce to a low medium flame .
  • Add sugar and stir well.
  • After 4 minutes, add the nut mixture and stir it well.
  • Let it simmer.
  • When the milk reduces to 3/4 quantity remove from flame and let it cool.
  • Crush cardamon pods with a tsp of sugar in a pestle and mortar.
  • Add cardamon powder, saffron milk and stir well.
  • Allow the milk cream mixture to coom completely.
  • Pour it into ice pop moulds/kulfi moulds and put it in the freezer for 8 hrs or until set.
Notes
The original recipe calls for the pistachios to be finely grated. I prefer grinding pistachios and almonds for a nutty bite.
This recipe filled 8 medium sized ice-lollies. I poured the remaining mixture into a glass jar.
Remove frozen kulfi moulds from the freezer 20 minutes before removing.
These Kulfis’ were a feast for my camera too. Take a look.


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Enjoy the summer.

Have a good food day.

Family Friday Chocolate Cake



Yes, it is another dessert and this time it’s a perfectly moist chocolate cake. Two layers of it. Oh, and smothered and piped and dressed in clouds of Nutella buttercream frosting.  This was the first time I was attempting to make two layers of cake. I found a wonderful recipe on Baked Brees‘ blog. Nervously excited, I sieved and whipped and poured and baked and lo and behold, I had on my hand two perfectly moist layers of chocolate cake in the most tempting hue of chocolate.


Then came the frosting. Whenever I make Chocolate Buttercream frosting, I add Nutella, especially if it is chocolate cake. I’ve always preferred the nutty layer of flavor it gives to what could be an overdose of chocolate.


I was done frosting my cake layers and still had half a bowl of frosting left. To prevent myself from licking the bowl clean and then, slumbering in a buttercream stupor, I quickly got out my round pastry tip and iced the cake completely. Well, not completely. Towards the end of my whimsical icing I realized I wouldn’t have enough to finish it. Aah well. Knowing my family, the cake would be sliced and eaten as soon as I put that cake stand on the table.


My nieces, especially the youngest one (a year and a half) enjoyed the cake. As Bree mentions in her recipe, the coffee really uplifts the flavor of the chocolate. I know I’ve found the recipe for chocolate cake for life.


Chocolate Cake (unabridged)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

METHOD

  • Combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla. A
  • dd the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.
  • Pour in the hot coffee.
  • Pour the batter into two prepared pans. I used 9-inch pans. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Cool in the pans for 30 minutes and then turn them out on a cooling rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Buttercream (unabridged)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 sticks of room temperature butter
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2-3 tablespoons heavy cream

METHOD

  • Cream together the butter and sugar.
  •  Gradually add the cocoa powder.
  • Add just enough cream to get the consistency for spreading.
  • Add the vanilla.
Notes
  • If you would like to add Nutella to the frosting, do so after creaming butter and sugar and before adding cocoa.
  • I added 4 Tablespoons of Nutella. Feel free to add or lesses according to your taste.

Here is the link to this indulgent recipe on Brees’ Blog.

For more foodography of my cake, head over here.

Have a good food day.

Celebrating a Century with Cookies and Cream – Oreo Cream Cheese Truffles


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Raise your hands if you haven’t been able to stop at one Oreo. How can you? I love Oreo. Pulling it apart, trying minimum crumb-falling tactics, feasting on the cream. You get the picture. I haven’t had it with milk. Never been a cookies and milk sort of person. Say cookies and cream and you have my attention.


It so happened that I was writing this post when I came across this one at Nashiras’ Plateful . Her Oreo blizzard would be a relief to gulp down when the temperature rises. Abu Dhabi is being temperamental right now and it won’t be weeks before this lovely spell of cool mornings and whistling winds comes to an end. It was in this post that I read about the Oreo cookie turning 100 years on March 6, 2012. My post will celebrate the cookie that turns a glorious century.


Couple of weekends ago, it was Family Friday  Lunch at my folks place. Nothing grand. Three families devouring into Ummas’ Dum Biriyani, after our Friday prayers. I made my first Double Layer Chocolate Cake too. Fooderati Arabia had planned a picnic in Safa Park the same Friday. I had planned on taking these cookies and cream truffles. Sadly, I couldn’t make it for the picnic. Lunch carried onto late afternoon and before I could think of leaving, tea plans were made. The truth is Ummas’ biriyani has this soothing sedative effect on a Friday afternoon and I couldn’t move.

Dessert was my chocolate cake. I wrongly assumed that the truffles would not be touched after two layers of the moistest cake (ever!) wrapped in clouds of buttercream Nutella frosting. I love chocolate. However, having the truffles would have been a sinful overdose.  Once again, the men in my family proved me wrong as I watched , in horror, Vappa, the husband and cousins popping one truffle after another. Why the surprise? The second ingredient, of the three, in these truffles was cream cheese.

My darling nieces would have enjoyed making these truffles. Really, they are that easy and fuss-free.



My truffles did not live up to my aesthetic expectations. This was because I made a horrible mistake while making the chocolate sauce with an accidental addition of heavy cream. While melting the chocolate I thought adding a tablespoon of milk would make it smoother. Before I knew it my sauce started seizing into a giant cocoa glob. This was followed by frantic whipping hoping to salvage my sauce. One, I did not have any more stock of dark chocolate chips and  two, I hate trashing any kind of food unnecessarily.


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So here is the recipe for these terrific cookies and cream truffles. Hopefully, your truffles will turn out more polished than my rustic ones. I’m sure they’ll still taste as good as these.


Here is the original recipe that can be found on the Kraft Foods website. And here is the link.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pkg. (8 oz.) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened 1 pkg. (15.5 oz.)
  • OREO Cookies, finely crushed (about 4-1/4 cups), divided 
  • 2 pkg. (8 squares each) BAKER’S Semi-Sweet Chocolate, melted

METHOD

  • Mix cream cheese and 3 cups cookie crumbs until well blended.
  • Shape into 48 (1-inch) balls.
  • Place unwrapped chocolate squares in microwaveable bowl.
  • Microwave on HIGH 2-1/2 min. or until chocolate is completely melted, stirring every 30 sec.
  • To easily coat truffles with the melted chocolate, add truffles, in batches, to bowl of melted chocolate.
  • Use 2 forks to roll truffles in chocolate until evenly coated. Remove truffles with forks, letting excess chocolate drip back into bowl.
  • Place truffles on prepared baking sheet; let stand until firm.
  • Sprinkle with remaining cookie crumbs.
  • Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm.
  • Store in tightly covered container in refrigerator.

My Notes

  • I found it much easier combining the Oreo cookie crumbs and cream cheese in food processor. I blitzed my cookies into crumbs and gradually added the cream cheese till it kneaded itself into a soft ball. Make sure not to overwork the mixture unless you want black cookie puree. It helps to freeze the mixture for half an hour before you make it into truffle sized balls.
  • I’m not a fan of microwave cooking. Yes, it was very hard to wean myself off the quick 5 minute mug cake. I used a 120z. Hersheys’ semi-sweet chocolate chips and melted them using the double boiling method. The sauce was silky TILL I added the heavy cream. A lesson well learnt for improvising.
  • After making the truffles I put them in the freezer for half an hour before dipping into the chocolate.

 

For fans of white chocolate, Bakeralla has a fabulous recipe.

Have a good food day.