{No Bake Dessert / Vegetarian} MANGO KULFI … Traditional Indian Ice Cream

“Their’s not to reason why,
Their’s but to do and die:”
Alfred Lord Tennyson 
 We spend a lifetime teaching the kids not to give in to temptation, not to be unreasonable.  That there are lots of things in the world that one would like to do but self restraint is a virtue that needs to be exercised … blah blah blah. After all, we’ve been there, done that … and we know better! The lines from Tennysons The Charge of the Light Brigade’, which we studied in school eons ago, flood my mind often, especially the word ‘reason‘!  I really do like the lines now. Hated them in school though as they sounded like gobblygook then!
Food blogs these days are tempting, to put it mildly, and in some ways I am ever so glad to be the empress of the kitchen! No mother to tut tut at me while I succumb to temptation, no one to question why I cannot resist what I see, and no one to check my free run amidst pots and pans! One day, I fell into Spice Spoons blog post virtual trap, and saw the kulfi which was served in enviable shot glasses, coloured stirrers used as sticks. Predictably, I fell into a dreamy trance, knowing just where I was headed … ‘our’s not to reason why, ours but to do and die‘! I HAD to make the Shayma’s kulfia traditional Indian style of ice cream that needs no churning, is dense and creamy, and sublime to the very last bit.

While in the kitchen, here’s a sneak peek of our kitchen remodeling – a simple country style kitchen, with a warm wooded look that I love. Things are looking up finally, with work progressing at more than snails pace now. Still can’t bake as much, but have become quite passionate about frozen desserts … Fresh Cherry Fro Yo, Plum Fro Yo Popsicles, Peach-Ginger & Plum-Vanilla Granita to name a few. So the kulfi was  one I could not let pass by. I sneakily bought a litre of low fat cream. A tin of condensed milk has been sitting with me forever because it wanted to be made into Dulce de leche but never quite got there. Figured this was destiny’s plan!
The pictures on Shayma’s post called my name, and I soon made them. The kulfi, a dessert which is very popular across the sub-continent, was absolutely divine. With the low fat cream, I didn’t need to simmer it for more that 15 -20 minutes, but I did err in that I forgot to give it the odd stir every few minutes, so it got slightly caught on the base of the pan. Didn’t matter because I got this beautifully burnt caramelized flavour … a little more apathy and I would have been crying over disaster. Take heed dear readers, don’t forget to stir!

The idea of using pistachios and almonds slightly ground or rather finely chopped in the blender is certainly novel. I’ve never heard of it before, and it’s quite genius. It helps thicken the cream, and distributes a beautiful nutty flavour though out the ice cream, making it almost luxurious, a royal serving! The teeny nutty bits get sort of soft with the cooking and plump up enticingly making the end result deeply satisfying.
I added some pureed mango to about a quarter of the batter after it was cooked and set some kulfis with half plain half mango mixture, others with a layer of mango etc.  I used a variety of metallic moulds from my collection, and saw at Cherrapeno that silicon works well too. I had fun and the flavours were fabulous. This is a recipe I shall make often. Taking pictures was a downright pain as it was sweltering hot, cloudy and humid that day, but the taste made up for everything!

Mango Kulfi {Indian Ice Cream}

Adapted minimally from Spice Spoon
Serves 12-15 if using kulfi molds. {You will need a heavy-bottom pan to prepare this, otherwise the cream and sugar will stick to the base of the pan and burn.}
1/2 cup almonds,skins removed
1/2 cup pistachios, shelled; unsalted
1 litre half-and-half {I used 25% low fat cream}
300 ml condensed milk {about 2/3 rd of a 400ml tin was enough for me}
1 large mango, pulp pureed in blender till smooth, strained
Method:
Grind almonds and pistachios in a blender {not a food processor} by pulsing a few times. At the base of the blender, where the blade is, some of the nuts will turn into a flour like powder. This will help thicken the kulfi.
Place pan on medium heat on the stove. Pour in half-and-half.
Add almonds and pistachios.
As the temperature of the half-and-half rises, start adding in condensed milk. You will have to do this by a taste test. I used about 2/3rd of the tin. Once the mixture starts to bubble, turn the heat to low. STIR!!
A skin will form on top, just keep stirring it in. You will continue to stir for 20-25 minutes {one hour if using half and half} till the mixture thickens and reduces, becoming thick.
Allow to cool for 15-20 minutes. Add the mango puree to half, or the whole, and stir in to mix uniformly. Pour slowly into popsicle moulds {or shot-glasses}.
Place moulds/glasses in freezer. At the 30 minute mark when the kulfi has started to form, place popsicle sticks in each mould/glass.
Freeze overnight or for at least 8 hours.
To unmould, dip quickly in warm water.
Serve with a scattering of pistachios and almonds.

 

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{Baking} CORNMEAL DROP BISCUIT PEACH COBBLER … for times when the mason doesn’t show up!

“There’s your karma ripe as peaches.”
Jack Kerouac

Even while the hammers rain blows down, and the kitchen is in shambles, I have a list of things to do. A cobbler was on my must bake list before the stone fruit season bid us adieu. It’s been bookmarked ever since I saw it on Leites Culinaria when I stopped by attempting to try and bake a recipe off the site for a photography competition. This cobbler was high on my list, until Monsieur Lebovitz’s Absolute Best Brownies knocked me off my perch!

Not one to stay knocked off for so long, I was soon winging my way back to my must bake list. We’ve had some minor issues while the kitchen renovation goes on … stuff like minor flooding {never touch the plumbing if it works fine!!}, and then a day with minimal work done when the mason took a rainy day off! For me, minimal work being done was a golden opportunity to get down to baking. If the mason doesn’t show up, it’s cobbler time!

Cobbler is a traditional dish in both the United States and the United Kingdom, although the meaning of the term is quite different in each country. In the United States, it is usually a dessert consisting of a fruit filling poured into a large baking dish and covered with a rolled pastry dough, then baked in an oven. In the United Kingdom it is usually a savoury meat dish, typically a lamb casserole, which is covered with a savoury scone-like topping, each scone (or biscuit) forming a separable cobbler. Fruit-based versions are also increasingly popular in the United Kingdom, although they still retain the separate cobbler (or biscuit) topping of the meat version, and savoury or meat versions are not unknown in the United States. The Crisp or Crumble differ from the cobbler in that the cobbler’s top layer is more biscuit-like. Grunts, Pandowdy, and Slumps are a New England variety of cobbler, typically cooked on the stove-top or cooker in an iron skillet or pan with the dough on top in the shape of dumplings; they reportedly take their name from the grunting sound they make while cooking.
Jeanne @ Cooksister had an Apple Pecan Cobbler posted just recently, and I knew the time had come. for me to try the peach cobbler. This was one fruit dessert I hadn’t tried so far.  A fridge full of peaches, a few plums too, soon I had a pie dish full of fruit. I chopped the peaches instead of slicing them, all done in haste, but cobbler I made! It’s not a beautiful thing to photograph, but I took a shot. I love the rustic fruity look the cobbled top offered, somewhat like a mosaic, with colourful fruit and juices peeping through. I threw in some pistachio nuts in the biscuit topping, just to add to the taste and, maybe colour!
This particular recipe is from the cookbook The Lee Brothers Simple Fresh Southern by Mat & Ted Lee. Very ‘Simple, Fresh and Southern’ as the book title goes, it is a versatile one too. I added a few plums for colour with the peaches. I think like in most cobblers, apples, blackberries, blueberries etc  all work wonderfully under the drop biscuit crust. The fruit juices get cooked and combine with the sugar to form a thick syrup which rises above the biscuit edges to give a cobbled stone like appearance. The cobbler was rustic beautiful and moorish, and full of bursting good flavours.

I’m glad I made the cobbler. It was delicious and ever so fruity. Mr PAB said, ‘What is this ‘thing’ Deeba? It’s delicious!‘ The daughter said, “I love this mushy, ugly thing. Can I have some more?”, and the son loved it too, especially the biscuit crust {anything with butter is!}. I served it chilled because it’s still summer here and we’d rather have cold dessert than warm. Also, chilling it meant that all the fruit juices thickened up nicely and the flavours matured. Of course, it wasn’t very picture-worthy, but heck… My first cobbler was downright delicious, and is off to the Food Photo Competition @ Leite’s Culinaria!

Cornmeal Drop-Biscuit Peach Cobbler
Recipe from Matt and Ted Lees book, The Lee Brothers Simple Fresh Southern

Adapted minimally from recipe @ Leites Culinaria
For the peach filling
1 kg ripe peaches, stoned , chopped {or sliced}
3-4 plums, stoned, chopped
1/2 cup brown sugar {or more, depending on your peaches and your sweet tooth}
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the biscuit dough
3/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1/4 cup fine cornmeal
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup pistachio nuts, shelled
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon iodized salt or fine sea salt
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for the baking dish
1/2 cup cold buttermilk {I used low fat}
Method:
Preheat oven to 220C. Butter a 9″ pie dish
Place all filling ingredients in a large bowl, and toss to mix well. Allow to stand for ten minutes while you make the drop-biscuit dough
Drop-biscuit dough
Place the flour, cornmeal, brown sugar, baking powder, pistachio nuts and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse for a few seconds till the nuts are chopped fine, and the mixture blended. Add the butter and give 2-3 short pulses till the butter cuts through, and the mixture becomes like coarse meal with pea size bits of butter. Add the buttermilk and stir with a rubber spatula just until a tacky, wet dough comes together, which should take no more than a few seconds.
Gently plop spoonfuls of the biscuit dough on top of the peach filling or, if the dough is too sticky to plop, simply spread it unevenly. The dough should be patchy and should not cover the entire surface of the filling.
Bake until the cobbler’s syrup is bubbly and the biscuit top is alluringly browned, 20 to 25 minutes.
Scoop the warm cobbler into small dessert bowls, ramekins, even cocktail glasses. Serve warm.

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STIRRING UP SOME TURKISH DELIGHT!

‘Eat sweet and speak sweet’
Turkish proverb

Another PINK for October, and this time it’s candy! When Ilva said she was making Turkish Delight last month, I jumped right in too. Another opportunity to use Indulge – 100 Perfect Desserts by Claire Clark which I reviewed for BloggerAid recently. This would mean 3 down , 97 to go, as I had done an Apple & Black Grape Bande Aux Fruit & a basic chocolate sponge from the book recently. Getting to a 100 desserts, page by page! Claire Clark is counted among one of the world’s best pastry chefs, and has been a celebrated chef at The French Laundry. She has an easy style of writing, & a personal touch which offers a little culinary connection with each recipe. Turkish Delight is part of the Petits Fours section of the book, and at first glance I thought, ‘Cool, will sail right through’. It was another thing that I was eating my words pretty soon. Delightful as this Turkish delicacy might be, it comes with it’s baggage of work. Ilva tried once, not quite right, and then went on to her second try, which she did beautifully. Turkish Delight ((Rahat) Loukoum) or Cyprus Delight (Loukoumi) is a confection made from starch and sugar. It is often flavored with rosewater, mastic or lemon; rosewater gives it a characteristic pale pink color. It has a soft, jelly-like and sometimes sticky consistency, and is often packaged and eaten in small cubes dusted with icing sugar or copra to prevent clinging. Some types contain small nut pieces, usually pistachio, hazelnut or walnuts.
Well I managed something, something tasty, but not exactly how it should have been. Was a little sticky & gooey, and got labelled TD Slugs by none other than my good friend Jamie. Am waiting for her to have a go, but knowing her French expertise, she’ll have perfect ones, so I shall hold my breath! I hope I will get it looking better next time. It tasted very nice,; a tad too sweet for me though.
I used some rose extract to flavour them that Man Friday got for me from his nephew who works in a rose factory. Excellent stuff. It lent a mild flavour to the TD, and I also added some blanched & peeled pistachios and almonds. The Turkish Delight did taste good! By the way, I always thought rose extract was pink in colour? Well, discovered that it’s not!! it’s actually a very light creamish white, almost like whey!Offered candy to the kids when they came home, & both jumped on them. ‘Oooooh they’re like the ones in Narnia’, hollered the son & wolfed down a whole slug, almost choking. Then the daughter descended into the chaos. ‘PRETTY!‘, Madame declared, ‘very pretty!’ I was like ‘bow scrape’. She took one, savoured it, licked her chops, took another. ‘These are good you know. Mmmmmm, very addictive too!’ By piece number 5, I had grabbed the box & done away with it. Too late, I was already peeling sugar high kids off the ceiling by the evening!
TURKISH DELIGHT or LOUKOUM
from Indulge by Claire Clark
Makes about 40 pieces
450 g/ 1 lb caster sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
145 g/ 5 oz corn starch/cornflour/Maizena
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
2 tsp rose water
To finish:
250 g/ 9 oz icing
50 g/ 1,75 oz corn starch/cornflour/Maizena
- Line a 15 cm/6 in square baking tin with cling film, then oil the film lightly. Make sure the sides of the pan are lined as well as the base.
- Place the caster sugar, lemon juice and 250 ml/9 fl oz water in a large, heavy-based pan. Stir over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved, the turn up the heat and bring to the boil. Put a sugar thermometer in the pan, reduce the heat and simmer without stirring until the sugar reaches soft-ball stage (118 C/ 245 F). Remove from the heat straight away.
- While the sugar is boiling, combine the corn starch and cream of tartar, then mix to a smooth liquid with 250 ml/9 fl oz water. Place in a heavy-based sauce pan and bring to the boil over a medium heat, whisking continuously (start to heat the corn starch mixture as soon as the sugar has reached the 118 C/ 245 F and is resting; this allows the sugar to sit just long enough to cool but not so long that it gets to thick to pour). Pour the hot sugar syrup into the corn starch mixture and continue to simmer over a low heat for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring frequently to prevent it sticking. It will change to a very light golden colour. As it reaches the last 15 minutes of cooking time, you will need to stir it continuously to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning. (This was the tough part for me to figure out. Should have given it more time)
- Stir the rosewater and add a few drops of red food colouring, if desired. (I added some blanched chopped pistachios & almonds). Pour into the lined tray and spread evenly. Leave to cool in the tin, uncovered, overnight.
- The next day, sift the icing sugar and corn starch for finishing on to a sheet of baking parchment on a tray. Cut the Turkish Delight into cubes and roll them in the mixture on the tray.
Claire’s Notes:
I like to leave my Turkish Delight for a day once it has been coated in the icing sugar, so it firm up on the outside a little. Leave in a cupboard, uncovered, on a tray.
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