No bake | Dark Chocolate & Persimmon Mousse #vegetarian #fall #dessert #orange

“If it be not ripe, it will draw a man’s mouth awry, with much torment, but when it is ripe, it is as delicious as an apricot.”
Captain John Smith

Dark Chocolate & Persimmon Mousse 1Dark Chocolate & Persimmon Mousse … light, smooth, deep and delicious. The persimmon puree adds a pop of colour that welcomes fall with it’s bright orange like nothing else. OK maybe a papaya, but then the papaya lacks the translucent jelly like beauty of this special fruit.

A couple of years ago, we landed in Sydney on a cold night. I headed straight for the kitchen since I knew my sweet Ukrainian friend would always have something special waiting for me. I was duly rewarded… a line of persimmons sat neatly on her windowsill. It was instant fruit therapy, but they weren’t ripe, she pointed out. 

hachiya persimmonsCut to now. After waiting almost forever I gently inquired at my local fruit & vegetable vendor why persimmons, or Ramphal/Amarphal as they are locally referred to, weren’t showing up yet. You see Ruchira in Islamabad had already excitedly announced their foray, made a mousse and waxed eloquent about this delicious fruit.

Hachiya persimmonsI immediately developed persimmon withdrawal symptoms! Must have been my lucky day, because the guy at the shop came back two minutes later saying I should have asked for something else. He cranked open a fruit crate to uncover lines of persimmons, that too hachiyas, the variety I so love! They were all tickled pink that I asked for something and it popped out of the crate! I was chuffed!

hachiya persimmons Of course they were unripe. Very firm, very hard and barely a deep orange. Bite into a persimmon at this disastrous stage and you will be sorely {or surely} punished! It’s a strange fruit. When unripe it’s very edgy and astringent. Make the mistake, and you might never come back to it.

hachiya persimmonsBut allow them to sit out on the kitchen counter {or windowsill}; be patient, VERY PATIENT. Mine took almost 3 weeks to ripen. They will turn a bright, translucent orange, evenly coloured, with a few blackish spots; very soft to touch. The time is ripe to chill them and dig in, or just dig in if you can’t wait any longer! Sweet as honey and slippery like jelly, it’s an amazing fruit!

Dark Chocolate & Persimmon Mousse 2I HAD to make something with the puree. Unfortunately, only one hachiya was completely ripe, the fingertips sinking right into the fruit when I gently pressed it. Some quick thinking later I decided to make a dark chocolate mousse {inspired by this two ingredient winning recipe by Hervé This}. Had to keep the dieting diva in mind as she is off on another hair brained dieting venture.

Dark Chocolat & Persimmon Mousse The chocolate had to be dark {as it’s good for dieting she announced as she readily nibbled away on my precious stash}. 85% dark Lindt it was, and then a tasting later I figured it could use some low fat cream and a dash of sugar. The Dark Chocolate & Persimmon Mousse  is so rewarding to make, considering just a combination of chocolate and water can yield something so magical.

Dark Chocolate & Persimmon Mousse I added a dash of Grand Marnier {very optional}. It gave very slight orange undertones, enhancing the taste of the mousse gently. I did add a small dash to the persimmon puree as well to tie the flavours in. Separated by a layer of unsweetened low fat cream, it was a dessert we enjoyed!Dark Chocolate & Persimmon Mousse  Any dessert serving followed by ‘Can I have more?‘ is a sign of success! This Dark Chocolate & Persimmon Mousse  was one such example!


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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

Baking | Pumpkin Pie Spice and Walnut Loaf Cake with Buttermilk Frosting … #fallbaking #pumpkin

“Cake baking has to be, however innocently, one of the great culinary scams: it implies effort, it implies domestic prowess; but believe me, it’s easy.”
Nigella Lawson

Pumpkin Pie Spice and Walnut Loaf Cake with Buttermilk FrostingPumpkin Pie Spice and Walnut Loaf Cake with Buttermilk Frosting. I’ve waited to bake a pumpkin tea cake for long. This humble fall vegetable is entirely charming, so full of promise, yet so underrated!

pumpkin loveOver the years, the season has continued to inspire me. It’s a culinary delight to see the number of pumpkin dishes falling into the inbox day after day. From pumpkin soups, to waffles, to chili, scones, smoothies and so much more tumbling in, it was but natural for me to roast more pumpkin. Felt right!

Pumpkin Pie Spice and Walnut Loaf Cake with Buttermilk Frosting I roasted a large batch the other day. Half headed for pumpkin soup. That recipe inspired my mother to make a similar soup, a vegetarian version. She roasted a bunch of vegetables on the side, didn’t use stock, and yet came up with a winner! The remaining puree was reserved for cake!

Pumpkin Pie Spice and Walnut Loaf Cake with Buttermilk Frosting This Pumpkin Pie Spice and Walnut Loaf Cake with Buttermilk Frosting is based on the buttermilk pound cake which I make very often. I tried to keep it nice and healthy, with a generous dose of whole wheat flour. The pumpkin and pie spice added a nice deep dimension to it. I knew the kids would love it. The boy LOVES anything with pumpkin pie spice.

Pumpkin Pie Spice and Walnut Loaf Cake with Buttermilk Frosting The frosting was simple, yet finger licking good. Quite close to tasting like a salted butter caramel sauce, but sans the caramel. It’s quick and easy to make. Complimented the cake really nicely.

Pumpkin Pie Spice and Walnut Loaf Cake with Buttermilk Frosting As always, it’s difficult for my fidgety hands to leave well alone. I had a rather large cinnamon scroll that a sweet cousin had sent me. And I thought some marzipan art was in order. Despite being rushed for time, my hands got down to kneading the last remaining marzipan from Finla. I had a field day.

Pumpkin Pie Spice and Walnut Loaf Cake with Buttermilk Frosting Making pumpkins with marzipan is no rocket science. It’s a step back into playschool and such a load of fun. I made some a few years ago for this cake with homemade marzipan. I love the way simple garnishing can add a pop of colour and add oomph to a loaf cake. 

Pumpkin Pie Spice and Walnut Loaf Cake with Buttermilk Frosting It tastes just as good without the ‘decor’ but the kids {read young adults} fought for marzipan bits and bobs! I love the slight bitterness the marzipan has. Not to sweet and a 100% delicious.

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

Baking| Perfect Pumpkin Pie … and simple too {#getsmart}

“Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie.”
Jim Davis

Perfect Pumpkin Pie India is pretty much pumpkin country, the yellow and rather mellow squash that you will find around every nook and corner all year through, a vegetable I looked at rather disdainfully until I made my first Praline Pumpkin Pie 2 years ago. The lad nudges me this time every year to remind me he l♥ves it! This one is for him – a Perfect Pumpkin Pie.Perfect Pumpkin Pie Mentally conditioned by food blogs, lovely pumpkin posts painting the net in a orange hue, I eagerly await fall. It makes me look at the pumpkin in wonder, a rather underestimated veggie, yet one that holds a lot of promise. The beautiful flavour of the pumpkin soup I shared with Jamie in London holds a special connect. It was the company, the atmosphere, the euphoria of that first time we all met. Somewhere in the middle of all this, the humble pumpkin got an even more elevated status in my life!Perfect Pumpkin Pie I made soup last year, and for some silly reason it never got blogged. This pumpkin pie is the result of inspiration out of the blue. I saw a mail in my inbox saying ‘If you had two extra hours in a day, how would you spend it?‘ … and I thought, hmmm, I wonder!Perfect Pumpkin Pie An extra 2 hours for the obsessed baker in me is like an impossible dream. My life seems to run choc-a-bloc morning to night, balancing the fine act of racing through laundry, trying to feed a blog, a brood, a pooch, snatching a few harassed moments to take photographs while the dog is now tall enough to get to table tops {… CUTE as a button too}, grocery {sigh}…and then emails of course!CocoThat thought stayed in my mind while I ran the laundry that morning, and teased me while I went to the vegetable vendor, our fabulous sabziwala. Someone was buying pumpkin and the fellow cut a nice bright one for her. That was my cue!Perfect Pumpkin PieGive me 2 extra hours and watch me bake with joy, bake something to fill home with autumnal aromas, pumpkin gently roasting {of course you can buy it canned as well in the rest of the world, but we know no luxuries of the sort in India!}. Much from scratch with this too, I have never had tomatoes or pumpkin out of a can here. I have read though that fresh roasted pumpkin beats the canned one hands down. Got an extra hour? Roast some!Perfect Pumpkin Pie

Perfect Pumpkin PieI always have tins of condensed milk on hand after having indulged in this absolutely addictive Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream from Perfect Scoop. You need less than an hour to make it, need resolve to keep away from the freezer, and finally 10 minutes to polish it off. But if you can grab those two extra hours, then I recommend you head for pie!
Perfect Pumpkin PieThe verdict was delicious! The terrible teen screwed up her nose and said “Ewwwwwww …. pumpkin!!,” and then predictably went on to ravenously demolish the slice, and ask for another. There was something about it!! The boy lapped it up … it was his on request after all!!Perfect Pumpkin PiePerfect Pumpkin PieThis is a pie right for fall. The filling … silky, smooth and spicy! The crust just right, not too crisp, yet offers a handsome bite, gently teasing the palette with beautiful pistachio flavours and a pleasing texture. I wish I could offer you a slice…it was that good, and it went FAST!

Perfect Pumpkin Pie …with fresh roasted pumpkin puree


Prep Time: 15 minutes

Bake Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

Yield: One 9 inch pie


Perfect Pumpkin Pie …with fresh roasted pumpkin puree

This is a pie right for fall. The filling … silky, smooth and spicy! The crust just right, not too crisp, yet offers a handsome bite, gently teasing the palette with beautiful pistachio flavours and a pleasing texture. {Filling from Eagle -}


Pumpkin puree

600gm pumpkin with peel

2tsp pumpkin pie spice

50gm powdered sugar

Pistachio Pie Crust for 1 9" pie

100gm unsalted butter, chilled, cubed

150gm cups all-purpose flour

2 tbsp sugar

50gm pistachios

1/2 teaspoon salt

2-3 tbsp cold water

Pumpkin Pie Filling

440gm roasted pumpkin puree {recipe above}

1 can condensed milk

2 large eggs

1/2 vanilla bean scraped

1/2 teaspoon salt


    Pumpkin puree
  1. Remove seeds etc of pumpkin {I used a long slice}, wrap in foil and bake at 180C for about 45 minutes.
  2. Once warm enough to handle, peel and chop the roasted pumpkin, add pie spice and sugar and puree. I find that the pie spice gets an enhanced flavour in warm puree and matures well.
  3. Yields about 425-440gms of pumpkin puree {approximately 1 15oz can}
  4. Perfect Pie Crust
  5. Blend flour, pistachios, sugar and salt in processor till nuts are ground very fine, {Thermomix: Speed 8, 7 seconds}
  6. Add butter and blend until you get breadcrumb like mix, and then a little more {2-3 seconds}. Add water, 1 tbsp at a time, and process till the dough begins to hold together when you pinch it. {Thermomix Speed 6, 5 seconds}
  7. Turn onto work surface and pat together gently into a ball {donot overwork dough}
  8. Either roll between 2 sheets of baking parchment to line the pie tin, or push into place with your fingertips. Chill for about 30 minutes.
  9. Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 15 minutes. Cool. {I baked mine in the last 15 minutes while the pumpkin was roasting}
  10. Assembling Pie
  11. Preheat oven to 190C. Whisk pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, spices and salt in medium bowl until smooth. Pour into crust. Bake 15 minutes.
  12. Reduce oven temperature to 180C and continue baking 35 to 40 minutes or until knife inserted 1 inch from crust comes out clean. Cool. Garnish as desired. Store leftovers covered in refrigerator.

And since I had so much extra time, I shot some pictures of out CUTE Coco … she was ‘all eyes’!! Oh to have those extra two hours more often!Coco
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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

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