Baking |Light Pumpkin Pie … pie that thinks it’s a cheesecake #fall #dessert #pumpkin

“Cut my pie into four pieces, I don’t think I could eat eight.”
Yogi Berra

Light pumpkin pie 1Light Pumpkin Pie. It’s difficult to not think pumpkin and get deluged by orange thoughts once fall is in the air. Come autumn, and pumpkin pie spice is the on the top of my head. It breaks my heart to say goodbye to stone fruit when summer draws to a close, and somewhere in the hot summer months I always forget the charm of fall. These days there’s loads of pumpkin on the table.

orangeOh the orange hues. persimmons, pumpkin {which is there pretty much all the year around here though}, and the little bitter kumquats. Such bright colours and so much fun! It’s around this time that the boy will gently come and request for a pumpkin cake on Halloween. For him it’s customary to ask. For me, it’s another opportunity to experiment. With a steady source of good quality pumpkin pie spice from the sister in the US, I am happy to take the pumpkin route.

fresh pumpkin pureeThe pumpkin pie came along in a hurry as usual. The ingredients were very basic with fresh pumpkin puree and some left over condensed milk thrown in. There was an orange sitting on the counter so in went some zest as a last minute thought, then a dash of Grand Marnier to compliment it. You can always skip the liqueur, but try and add the orange zest. The flavour  orange zest added was amazing.

Light pumpkin pieWhenever I experiment with pies or cakes, there is a sense of panic on the other side. Will it set, won’t it set. Will it slice cleanly, or maybe not??? Then again, hope it tastes OK! Heaved a mighty sigh of relief when it left the pan easily and didn’t flow like lava. YES! It had set. A few pictures, then a slice later, a sense of jubilation. It set beautifully AND was firm enough to be sliced, staying light and moussey!

Light pumpkin pieThe boy wolfed down a couple of slices in the evening. Is it dessert Mama he asked, before eying another slice. It was his after all, made on personal request. I would have done him a pumpkin pie latte on the side but I got a little lazy.

Light pumpkin pieThe husband gave it a thumbs up too. Is it pie, is it cake I asked? Cheescakey he said. It’s a pie that thinks it’s a cheesecake I guess.

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


Baking | Prinsesstårta … or simply a princess cake for Pinktober #cake #dessert #Pinktober #pink

“Cake is happiness! If you know the way of the cake, you know the way of happiness! If you have a cake in front of you, you should not look any further for joy!”
C. JoyBell C.

Pinktober Princess Cake,  PrinsesstårtaPrinsesstårta … a princess cake my way to mark Pinktober. Every October begins with a pink cake in support of breast cancer research, or Pinktober, as it is popularly known. October is the National Breast Cancer Awareness month. International campaigns are run each year to raise awareness and funds for research. In addition, the campaign also offers information and support to those affected by breast cancer.

Prinsesstårta, Princess cake for PinktoberThe first week of October sees Mr PABs birthday and he’s grown used to a pink birthday cake. I might be torn for time, tired to the bone, might not bake a cake on any other occasion but the Pinktober one is never missed. Neither is the ribbon. You can see the pink on my earlier  Pinktober posts, else catch them on my PINK board on Pinterest.

The pink ribbon is an international symbol of breast cancer awareness. Pink ribbons, and the color pink in general, identify the wearer or promoter with the breast cancer brand and express moral support for women with breast cancer. Pink ribbons are most commonly seen during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

pink-ribbon-296x300A Princess cake or prinsesstårta is the lads most favourite cake of all time. Years ago I did a recipe testing for Helene of Tartlette which included a Bavarian cream. That was a princess cake of sorts. We still remember how fantastic that cake was, a benchmark of sorts for birthday cake.

A princess cake (prinsesstårta in Swedish) is a traditional Swedish layer cake consisting of alternating layers of airy sponge cake, raspberry or strawberry jam, pastry cream, and a thick-domed layer of whipped cream. This is topped by marzipan, giving the cake a smooth rounded top. The marzipan overlay is usually green, sprinkled with powdered sugar, and often decorated with a pink marzipan rose.[1][2]

The original recipe first appeared in the 1930s Prinsessornas Kokbok cookbook, which was published by Jenny Åkerström, a teacher of the three daughters of H.R.H. Prince Carl, Duke of Västergötland. The cake was originally called grön tårta (green cake), but was given the name prinsesstårta or “princess cake” because the princesses were said to have been especially fond of the cake.

Prinsesstårta, set upside downMy version of the prinsesstårta is a little off the traditional mark, just slightly. The layers of the traditional Swedish cake have jam and pastry cream. I skipped the jam as I thought my pastry cream was sweet enough. The dome of whipped cream wasn’t going to happen as I used a low fat 20% cream, so I stabilised it with gelatin. The dome happened in an upside down manner which is how I built up the cake and left it to set overnight.

PrinsesstårtaI hoped it would look fine the next morning …and it certainly did much to my delight! The other deviation was of course the marzipan cover for the cake. I made marzipan too that morning but it did not behave. At all. With October being unseasonably warm at 40C this year, the marzipan really sweated and wouldn’t roll out.almonds for marzipan

I had to do a rapid rethink as I didn’t want to jeopardise the poor stabilised dome. That would have been a disaster so my next best option was a chocolate coating, tricky but doable. The idea is to have the chocolate coating at a cool, or almost same temperature as the cream dome so that the dome doesn’t melt. It was touch and go. I won!! Sort of.

Prinsesstårta, Princess cake for PinktoberThe dome wasn’t as smooth as I expected it to be, or like I wanted it to be but given the weather, I was happy I had the cake covered! Left to set in the fridge, you can see the uneven bits, or maybe refer to it as an artisanal finish? Taking pictures was difficult again as the icing threatened to melt.

Prinsesstårta, Princess cake for Pinktober I used the marzipan to make a couple of hurried roses etc. Then the quintessential PINK ribbon. Minimalistic was the sensible and possibly only way to go. Stuck it all on and was just grateful to have a cake. Once cut, the honours done, it was fantastic to taste.

Prinsesstårta, Princess cake for Pinktober Much to my delight, the boy immediately exclaimed, “Yay, a Princess Cake! I just saw it on the Simpsons this morning.” What a delicious coincidence! The prinsesstårta layers behaved well while being sliced, the cake itself a winner on all counts {other than smooth looks!}. Light, airy, flavourful, creamy and a celebration! Try and challenge yourself to make this, right side up if possible, else use my way home. This is a cake every baker must make at least once. Must!

Swedish Prinsesstårta, princess cupcakes I’ve done a real fun version of Swedish Prinsesstårta Cupcakes with the Daring Bakers in May 2013. It was hot as hot can be back then, but much easier to do little cupcakes than one huge domed prinsesstårta. Also, then the marzipan was store bought and possibly more smoother and easier to handle than home made. If you rather do pretty cupcake prinsesstårta, then here’s the place to be.

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

Baking | Wholewheat Cocoa Almond Biscotti #comfortfood #biscotti #chocolate

“Comfort food, food that reassures, is different things to different people.”
David Tanis

wholewheat cocoa almond biscotti Wholewheat Cocoa Almond Biscotti … what can be better than a crisp chocolatey cookie on a rainy day. Twice baked, studded with roasted almonds and chocolaty to boot. There’s something strangely comforting about this twice baked Italian cookie, not least that it is low on fat. This version is wholegrain and delicious!

Wholewheat cocoa almond biscotti It was time for Mr PAB to travel, and as is customary to carry some cookies with him, it was time to bake! Biscotti’s been on my mind of late. It’s been raining quite a bit; delayed monsoons and what have you. The weather seems perfect for biscotti and some nice deep coffee. So a batch was baked. Some for him, some for us!

Wholewheat cocoa almond biscotti You might have noticed fewer desserts popping up here. Yes, that’s happened too. With the daughter away to uni, the demand has ‘fallen’. The son for some good reason is counting calories these days. Salads and stir fires are in, so are smoothies and fruits! The cakes and sweet treats are few and far between! Is good. I kinda like it.

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

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