Cheats rasmalai

Another traditional Indian dessert, made without the traditional faff.

Rasmalai – dumplings made from milk powder (traditionally milk curd – like ricotta), submerged in sweetened milk, flavoured with cardamon, saffron and lots of nuts. The balls double in size when soaked in the milk. They become light, fluffy, puffs of creamy dough.

The traditional method can be found here – Love & Lentils. You will need a full day to make these babies from scratch.

Alternatively, you can try my ‘cheats’ method which takes under an hour.

Rasmalai

DUMPLINGS

  • 1 cup unsweetened milk powder (Nido) or dry milk – I used a tea mug as a measure
  • 1 heaped tsp baking powder
  • 1 levelled tbsp plain flour
  • 1tbsp ghee, melted (or any oil)
  • 1 egg, beaten

SWEETENED MILK

  • 1 litre whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar – I used the same tea mug as above
  • 5/6 whole cardamon
  • Pinch of saffron
  • Handful of chopped nuts (pistachios and almonds, or anything you like)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamon

METHOD

  1. Place the milk, sugar, saffron and whole cardamon in a large pot, and bring it to the boil. Once boiled, leave it on a low heat for 10 minutes. 
  2. Meanwhile – in a separate bowl, mix together the powdered milk, flour and baking powder. Add the ghee (or oil) and mix well.
  3. Slowly add the eggs. Stop adding egg, when the mixture just starts to hold together. If the mix wont hold together, even after all the egg is added, add a tiny bit of milk. Don’t worry if the dough is a little crumbly – it’s better this way.
  4. Knead the dough for a few minutes.
  5. Make small balls from the dough (remember they double in size). Try to work with light hands, not squeezing the balls too tightly, as they may not cook the whole way through, yet making sure they wont separate when boiled. Don’t leave the balls out for longer than 5 minutes – cover with a damp tea towel if you absolutely must wait longer.
  6. Gently place the balls in the simmering milk. Turn the heat up to high, and bring the milk to the boil – watch it doesn’t make a mess!
  7. Once the milk has boiled, cover the pot, turn the heat down for about 10-15 minutes, or until the balls are fully cooked through. Here is where your dough balls become light fluffy dumplings.
  8. Leave the dumplings on the slowest flame for a further 2-3 minutes, to eliminate any chances of an uncooked dumpling (hard in the middle).
  9. Gently transfer them to a glass serving bowl, and sprinkle with nuts and ground cardamon.
  10. Chill in the fridge before serving.

Slightly adapted from The Chef in Me – Thanks C!

Rasmalai

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Whipped!

“Haaaaapppy birthday to youuu”

I love birthdays. I think I love other people’s birthdays more than they do! Surprising people with lovely treats and gifts is SO much fun.

Cue today’s treat:

Profiteroles. FILLED with different flavoured whipped cream.

Whipped cream

Cinnamon, Chantilly, Chocolate, Hazelnut and Lemon.

CINNAMON CREAM

  • 150ml double cream
  • 1tbsp icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Alter the above quantities, depending on the amount of cream you are whipping. Replace the cinnamon for any powdered flavour you like (like ginger)!

METHOD

  1. Whip the double cream to soft peaks.
  2. Add the icing sugar and ground cinnamon, and whip to medium peaks.
  3. Be careful not to over whip, from which point there is no going back!

CHANTILLY CREAM

See previous blog post!

CHOCOLATE CREAM

  • 150ml double cream
  • 50g chocolate, chopped

METHOD

  1. Heat the cream in a saucepan until it reaches boiling point.
  2. Pour it over the chopped chocolate, in a heat proof bowl, and let them mingle for a minute.
  3. Stir together until properly combined, and leave to cool completely.
  4. When cool. whip away until you reach the desired peak level.
  5. Note that it takes longer to whip this cream, so be patient!

HAZELNUT CREAM

  • 150ml double cream
  • 1tbsp icing sugar
  • Handful of chopped hazelnuts
Alter the above quantities, depending on the amount of cream you are whipping. Replace the hazelnuts for any nuts you like (macadamia?)

METHOD

  1. Whip the double cream to soft peaks.
  2. Add the icing sugar, and whip a tiny bit more.
  3. Throw in the chopped hazelnuts, and enjoy the CRUNCH!

LEMON CREAM

  • 150ml double cream
  • 1tbsp icing sugar
  • Zest from 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/2tsp lemon juice
Alter the above quantities, depending on the amount of cream you are whipping. Replace the lemon with any other citrus fruit you like (Oranges – mmmm)!

METHOD

  1. Whip the double cream to soft peaks.
  2. Add the icing sugar, and lemon zest, and whip a little more.
  3. Mix in the lemon juice, a little at a time.

Slightly adapted from Kitchen Simplicity – Thanks K!

Follow my previous blog post and make profiteroles, and replace the cream with any flavour you like! My favourite was cinnamon – I just couldn’t get enough!

Birthday treats!

Marshmallow topped chocolate cupcakes (vegetarian)

Marshmallow fluff. It has been sat in my cupboard for too long. I just couldn’t think what to do with it… Until now!

Marshmallow fluff

Sumptuous chocolate cupcakes topped with dreamy marshmallow icing. Get involved!

Marshmallow topped cupcakes

CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES

  • 60g butter (at room temperature)
  • 150g sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 20g cocoa powder
  • 150g plain flour
  • 140ml buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 1/2tsp white wine vinegar

METHOD

  1. Make buttermilk. Bring normal milk to the boil. Once it has cooled, add a teaspoon or so of lemon juice or white wine vinegar (whichever is on hand). Give it a mix – and voila – you have buttermilk!
  2. Preheat your oven to about 170C, and prepare your tin by lining it with cupcake cases.
  3. Mix the butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy.
  4. Mix in the egg.
  5. Mix in the cocoa powder.
  6. Add the flour and buttermilk, and lightly mix it round a couple of times.
  7. Add the bicarbonate of soda and vinegar, and fold the mix until everything is combined. Try not to mix it too much, else your cakes might not be soft.
  8. Spoon the mixture evenly between the cupcake cases, and bake them for about 25 minutes.
  9. Remove the baked cupcakes from the oven, and put them on a wire rack. Leave to cool completely.

Slightly adapted from The Love Bakery – Thanks L!

MARSHMALLOW FLUFF ICING

  • 75g butter (at room temperature)
  • 150g icing sugar
  • 100g marshmallow fluff
  • 1tbsp milk

METHOD

  1. Mix the butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Get in a sticky mess by adding the marshmallow fluff and milk and mix until it resembles fluffy clouds.
  3. Lick the spoon and bowl. Try not to eat all the icing!

Slightly adapted from a lovely blogger, Judy – Thanks J!

ASSEMBLY

  1. Throw the icing on the cake (and in your mouth), in any fashion you prefer!

From now on. Marshmallow fluff is a staple in my household. FACT.

White chocolate & raspberry tartlets

I love making tartlets for dinner parties. It means everyone has their own share of a little dessert, and you can fill them with almost anything!

This tartlet is one of my favourites because the filling is easy, and can be prepared well in advance. Oh also it looks AWESOME!

IMG_1629

  • 20g raspberries
  • 180g white chocolate, chopped into tiny pieces (I used Green & Blacks)
  • 20g unsalted butter, diced
  • 90ml double cream
  • 6tsp raspberry jam
  • 1/2 or 1/4 a portion of my sweet pastry (or pre-baked tartlet cases in which case, skip to step 7)

METHOD

  1. Brush your tartlet tins with a little melted butter, and pop them in the fridge to set.
  2. Lightly flour your work surface, and roll out your sweet pastry until it is thin and even. Keep turning it as you roll. Try to work quickly so that the pastry doesn’t get too warm.
  3. Once the pastry is about 2-3mm thick, cut out 6 circles using a pastry cutter, or the rim of a bowl. Place the circles of pastry inside the tins and gently press them into the corners and sides. Try to ensure that the pastry is taller than the tartlet tin, as it will shrink slightly as it bakes (you can always chop off the excess later). Leave them to rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat your oven to about 150C. Prick the base of the pastry tarts with a fork.
  5. Line each pastry case with a circle of scrunched up greaseproof paper or a piece of cling film. Fill the cases with dry beans, or rice and place them in the oven to bake blind for about 25 minutes. They should now be a golden-brown colour. If they are not quite there, remove the beans and lining and continue to bake them for another 5-10 minutes.
  6. Carefully remove the tarts from their tins whilst still slightly warm, and leave them to cool completely.
  7. Crush the fresh raspberries with a fork, and pass them through a fine sieve to remove the pips. Set the smooth coulis aside.
  8. Put the white chocolate and butter in a bowl.
  9. Bring the cream to the boil, and pour it over the chocolate and butter. Stir it gently until it has all melted and you are left with a shiny ganache.
  10. Just before the ganache sets, spoon some raspberry jam into the tartlet cases.
  11. Carefully pour the ganache in. It should almost reach the rim of the tartlet (if the ganache has begun to set, heat it very gently over a pan of hot water before you pour it). Be very gentle and try not to shake the tartlet cases.
  12. Spoon a tiny amount of the raspberry coulis – not more than 1/2 tsp – into the centre of each tart. Use a toothpick or the tip of a knife to swirl the coulis around to form a lovely ‘artistic‘ pattern.
  13. Transfer the tarts to the fridge and leave them there to set. Remove them at least 30 minutes before you serve them.
  14. Prepare to wow your guests!
Slightly adapted from my wonderful Ottolenghi recipe book – Thanks O!

Chantilly cream profiteroles

Fireworks!

…and a Happy New Year!

I hope you have all had a great start to 2013. I most certainly did. I brought in the new year with some of my favourite things: food, cheese, friends, laughter, and DESSERT!

We started 2013 with a mountain of my profiteroles, bathed in a mixture of chocolate mousse and chocolate ganache. We just dove in, fingers first.

It. Was. SO. Good.

Profiterole dessert

Profiteroles come with a slight contention in my mums house. They are traditionally my sister’s classic dessert. Not using her recipe meant the little profits were under real scrutiny.  Eek!

CHOUX PASTRY

This mixture made about 70 small profiteroles. Yes I was shocked to see so many. Please don’t hesitate to half the mixture. Unless you want to feed an army of course.
  • 125ml milk
  • 200ml water
  • 150g plain flour
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 100g butter
  • 4 medium eggs, lightly beaten

CHANTILLY CREAM

Is basically cream infused with vanilla pods. Sorry about the fancy pants name.
  • 1 vanilla pod, split
  • 600ml double cream
  • 3-4tbsp icing sugar

GANACHE TOPPING

  • 200g chocolate (use your favourite)
  • 100ml double cream

METHOD

  1. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Place the milk, cold water and sugar in a pan and set over a low heat. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the butter. Once the butter has melted, bring to a rolling boil. Turn off the heat then tip in the flour and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon. As soon as the mixture starts to come away from the side of the pan, stop beating and tip onto a plate to cool.
  2. Return the mixture to a bowl, and gradually beat in the eggs, a little at a time, mixing well between each addition, until you have a smooth paste. Be sure to add the eggs slowly, as your mixture is at risk of turning lumpy.
  3. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper, and pre-heat the oven to about 200C.
  4. Spoon the choux pastry into a piping bag fitted with a large plain nozzle (about 1.5cm in diameter). Pipe a small blob of the pastry mix under each corner of the greaseproof to keep the paper in place. Now pipe about 20 walnut-sized balls onto the baking sheet, spaced well apart. Level the peaked tops with the tip of a wet finger then bake for 18-20 minutes until well risen and golden brown. Repeat and repeat if you make the full quota.Unbaked profiterole
  5. Remove the profiteroles from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before filling.
  6. For the Chantilly cream scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod into a large mixing bowl. Add the cream, and icing sugar then whisk together until the consistency of a soft meringue with floppy peaks. Spoon the cream into a clean piping bag, fitted with a small plain nozzle. Pierce the base of a choux bun with the tip of the nozzle and pipe in the cream until oozing-ly full. Repeat with the remaining choux buns.
  7. For the ganache, break the chocolate into small pieces in a heatproof bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and heat. Once melted, remove from the heat and mix in the double cream. Let the mixture cool before you top the profiteroles. If the mixture is too solid, warm it in the microwave for 10 seconds, or until it becomes easier to work with again.

If you would like to make a profiterole dessert like I did, then you will need to prepare a portion of my chocolate mousse.

In a large bowl, layer the profiteroles, chocolate mousse and ganache. Cover with sparkles, gold balls, gold leaf (it was NYE), more sparkles and sparklers, and bring to the table to wow your friends.

Choux recipe slightly adapted from Gordon Ramsay – Thanks G!
Attributes also to my lovely sister, who ‘supervised’ my kitchen activities – Thanks P!

Cranberry-licious mince pies

My sisters LOVE mince pies. Our cupboards are filled with the shop bought kind, right from the moment they hit the shelves of the supermarket.

When asked to make mincies over the Christmas period, I thought to try a newer recipe, filled with fruity cranberries – both fresh and dried! Once made, the mincemeat was pretty sour… But I persevered, and when wrapped in my buttery sweet pastry, they tasted an absolute perfect delight.

I served them with a generous splash of double cream. Please wait while I devour the one sat beside me.

Christmas mince pies

  • 100g soft dark brown sugar
  • 60ml juice of an orange
  • 300g fresh cranberries (or frozen)
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2tsp ground cloves
  • 1tsp ground ginger
  • 75g currants
  • 75g raisins
  • 30g dried cranberries
  • 1 clementine, zest and juice
  • few drops almond extract
  • 1/2tsp vanilla extract
  • 3tbsp honey

Mincemeat

You will need 1 portion of my sweet pastry, unbaked.

METHOD

  1. Butter two shallow cupcake tins, and sprinkle them with some plain flour. Pop them into the fridge.
  2. In a large pan, dissolve the sugar with the orange juice.
  3. Add the fresh (or frozen) cranberries, and stir.
  4. Add the cinnamon, cloves and ginger. Add the currants, raisins, dried cranberries and the juice and zest of the clementine.
  5. Cover the pan, and leave it on a slow heat for about 20 minutes – or until all the fruit has broken down and absorbed most of the liquid.
  6. Remove the mixture from the heat, and allow it to cool down a little.
  7. Add the almond extract, vanilla extract and honey, and stir it well with a wooden spoon. Have a taste of the mincemeat, and amend it to your personal tastebuds.
  8. Leave the mixture to cool completely, and pop it into a glass jar to use when ready.
Slightly adapted from Nigella Lawson – Thanks N!

MINCE PIE TIME

  1. Preheat the oven to about 160C. Get the cupcake tin from the fridge.
  2. Roll out a small portion of sweet pastry. Ensure it is a thin, even layer. 
  3. Cut out round circles, to fit in the cupcake holes.
  4. Add a generous spoonful of mincemeat to the cuppie hole.
  5. Cut out a shape to fit the top. Use a star, flower, circle… Anything you like, and add it to the top of the mince pie. Pop the finished tray of mince pies into the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  6. Brush the top of the mince pies with my non-egg glaze, sprinkle a little more sugar on the top, and pop in the oven for about 15-20 minutes.

Mince pie

We enjoyed these once they were cooled to room temperature. The filling tastes better and better as the days go on, so if you can hide one from the rabble, I wont tell!

Sweet shortcrust pastry

“So this is Christmas…”

This one was a little different from the past few years. After a pretty major catastrophe in the mothership’s household, we moved a new set of grandparents into her house. On a brighter note… This means I have more people to FEED!!!

This post is a pointless pre-amble to the good stuff, which will arrive soon… I hope.

Sweet pastry

This is a sweet pastry recipe that I swear by. I hope it works as well for you as it does for me.

  • 330g plain flour
  • 100g icing sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 180g butter
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 4-8 tbsp ice cold water

METHOD

  1. Put the flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest into a large mixing bowl. GIve it a quick mix so all the ingredients are combined.
  2. Add the butter and rub it into the flour mixture, until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
  3. Add the egg yolk and water, and mix until the mixture just starts to come together. If you clump some in your fist the dough should stay together. If it is still too crumbly add another tablespoon of water and mix again.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a few seconds; just until you have a uniform dough. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap in cling-film and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or freeze for up to a month.
  5. Depending on what you are making with your pastry, brush your mould/tart tray with melted butter and pop it in the fridge. Roll the dough to about 3mm thick. Cut out your dough, then line your refrigerated mould with the disks. Place the moulds in the fridge for another 30 mins. Line the tart shells with parchment or foil and fill with baking beans or rice and bake in a oven preheated to 150C/300F. Bake for about 25 mins or until golden brown. If not browned after 25 mins remove the beans and parchment and bak for another 5 minutes until browned. Leave in the mould to cool.
Slighly adapted from my fave Ottolenghi – Thanks O!