Baking | Petite Whole Wheat Plum Cakes … getting stoned this summer #stonefruitlove #comfortfood

“What is more mortifying than to feel that you have missed the plum for want of courage to shake the tree?”
Logan Pearsall Smith

Petite Whole Wheat Plum CakesPetite Whole Wheat Plum Cakes … some desserts are so homey and comforting that they hit the right spot. These little cakes fell straight into that category. Simple, earthy, flavourful and above all whole grain. Nothing spectacular to look at, so I didn’t take many photographs. I didn’t have the time too. A few clicks and we all dived in!

Petite Whole Wheat Plum Cakes Dorie Greenspans Baking With Julia that sweet Suma gifted me is a book I often leaf through. For inspiration, for entertainment, for sheer reading pleasure, the book works every time. There were some oven roasted plum cakes that have inspired mine.

plumsIt isn’t easy to hide my love for stone fruits every summer. Peaches, plums, mangoes, cherries … they charm, then entice, they leap off the shelves at the bazaar, they beg me to take them home. We chomp a few, then toss plenty into smoothies. Summer also means fro yo to tease our palettes, and fruit salads that play with our senses. All light & refreshing!!

Stone fruit in summerAbundance of fresh seasonal produce makes summer more than worthwhile. So much so that just turning the oven on in this blistering heat to see stone fruit juices bubble over is a delight. A virtual treat. I often wait with bated breath for ‘the moment’. The juices ooze over and run down the sides. Baking nirvana. Small things, immense pleasure!

Petite Whole Wheat Plum Cakes These petite whole wheat plum cakes turned out to be hidden gems. Quite unassuming in appearance, yet packed with flavour and texture, the lad immediately asked if he could have another!

Petite Whole Wheat Plum Cakes A drizzle of low-fat unsweetened cream added to the deliciousness. Alternatively, you could always try some vanilla ice cream or custard on the side. Petite Whole Wheat Plum Cakes

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Recipe: Petite Whole Wheat Plum Cakes 
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Summary: Petite Whole Wheat Plum Cakes … some desserts are so homey and comforting that they hit the right spot. These little cakes fell straight into that category. Simple, earthy, flavourful and above all whole grain. Nothing spectacular to look at yet very delicious! Adapted from Baking With Julia by Dorie Greenspan.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 100g butter, room temperature,
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 4-5 drops almond extract
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 50g almond meal
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 50ml buttermilk
  • 5-6 plums, halved
  • Low fat cream or ice cream to serve

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C. Lightly grease  10-12 individual muffin tins, or ramekins.
  2. Beat butter and brown sugar until light and mousse like.
  3. Add eggs, vanilla extract and almond extract and beat again.
  4. On low-speed add both flours and baking soda and mix.
  5. Fold in the buttermilk.
  6. Divide batter between prepared tins. Top each with half a pitted plum, cut side up.
  7. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 190C for about 35 minutes / until done.
  8. Leave to cool in tins.
  9. Loosen edges with a butter knife and turn out on serving platter. Serve with a drizzle of low at cream or vanilla ice cream.

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Baking | Savoury Chicken Galette … Cherry Tomato with Green Garlic Pesto & Roasted Veggies with Smoked Sea Salt {Baking with Julia}

“Ingredients are not sacred. The art of cuisine is sacred.”
Tanith Tyrr

Savoury Chicken GaletteIt was a savoury chicken galette waiting to happen, or maybe wanting to be baked. It’s a result of blogger interactions, loads of food talk, some food cravings, events missed and repented, flavours virtually thrown into the air and talked about….Savoury Chicken GaletteI missed a picnic a few weeks ago with the Delhi food bloggers bunch. There was so much talk about food, what who was making, baking, getting,  that I had pangs …not hunger pangs but pangs of missing out on something good!  The Great Cookaroo threw in yolks after yolks to make her to go pastry cream from Dorie Greenspans Baking with Julia. I had the book on the shelf. A favourite from a favourite food blogger who gifted it to me from Bangalore. {Thank you again Suma!}

Savoury Chicken Galette Then there was talk of pickled green garlic pesto which immediately threw my tastebuds in overdrive … that sounded drop dead delicious. I wanted some! My chance soon came as a bunch of us met again at the Ty.phoo Tea & Food pairing eventSangeeta  carried a bottle of pickled green garlic pesto for me.

Savoury Chicken Galette with green garlic pestoSmothered on a toast the next morning, it had a comforting homey feel! It had all the hints of the green chutney sandwiches my dad often made … beautiful flavours that teased the palette. As I sat in the kitchen, the laundry machine whirring punishingly in the background, I reached out for Baking with Julia! The book is a winner. Read it, bake from it, drool over it, learn from it. I wanted to bake something savoury that morning, and settled for Cheese & Tomato Galette!

Savoury Chicken Galette The galette dough was done in seconds, a Flo Baker recipe from the book. Don’t you love a dough that comes together in a heartbeat, is fuss free, smooth, pliable and uses pantry staples? I didn’t even need to rest it since it held beautifully, winter ensuring a fridge like cold kitchen. {Feedback from batch #2: An overnight rest in the fridge yields a pliable nice dough too.}

Savoury Chicken Galette I used everything I had on hand! Pickled green garlic pesto, mozzarella, chicken salami, then some roasted onion balsamic jam, cherry tomatoes, smoked sea salt, pepper. Finished it off with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and fresh garlic greens.

Savoury Chicken GaletteThe green garlic pesto was a bit spicy / chili for the younger fellow, but hit all the right spots with the daughter and husband who love everything chili! You can find the recipe for the Pickled Green Garlic Pesto {or lehsun ka achaar} on Sangeeta’s blog. Use extra virgin olive oil to get a more pesto like feel to it {as she did for my batch}, and reduce the chilies if you don’t like it too hot! BTW, Sangeeta does great personalised  diet plans too, so do stop by if you need one!

Savoury Chicken Galette You can do pretty much anything with a ‘pastry canvas’ like this. To keep the younger one happy, I made a second lot with roasted bell peppers and onions {roasting done in the Philips AirFryer, 10 minutes was all it took}, topped with sliced chicken sausages marinated briefly in a honey-mustard-garlic mix. Keep it vegetarian with roasted veggies, caramelised onion & garlic jam and feta, maybe tomatoes.  It’s smooth, fun to roll out, and even more fun to ruffle over the filling to give it the characteristic galette feel.

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Recipe: Savoury Chicken Galette 
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Summary: A simple, crisp and delicious pastry base which can go sweet or savoury. This savoury rustic pie can hold varied combinations of toppings, vegetarian or non vegetarian, and is great for picnics, snack boxes. The savoury chicken galette can be assembled ahead of time, or even baked ahead and rewarmed in the oven briefly. Recipe adapted minimally from Baking with Julia. Makes 4 6″ galettes.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Ingredients:

  • Galette dough 
  • 80ml ice cold water
  • 45ml buttermilk
  • 120g plain flour
  • 25g cornmeal [makki ka aata]
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 90g butter, chilled cubed
  • Suggested toppings {a combination of any of the following}
  • Green garlic pesto {recipe here}
  • Mozzarella
  • Caramelised onion & garlic jam {recipe here}
  • Chicken salami, sausages etc
  • Cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Sliced and roasted bell peppers
  • Sliced onions {roasted with the bell peppers}
  • Green garlic stalks
  • Smoked sea salt
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Method:

  1. Galette Dough
  2. Place the flour, cornmeal and salt in bowl of food processor. Pulse briefly to mix, then add chilled butter and pulse briefly until you get an uneven mix from peas to breadcrumb size bits.
  3. With the mchine running, pour in the buttermilk, followed by most of the chilled water and process until a soft, moist dough forms.
  4. Remove, divide into 2, press into flat disks and chill for at least 2 hours.
  5. Assembling
  6. Preheat the oven to 200C.
  7. Divide each disk into two and roll out to about 8″ circles. I cut the edges round with a pastry cutter, though you could just leave it uneven.
  8. Line a shallow platter with the rolled out pastry hanging over the edges, fill it up as you like, beginning with mozzarella, then gently fold the edges over the filling around the sides.
  9. Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, garlic greens etc over the filling and bake for about 30-35 minutes until the pastry is crisp and golden.
  10. Transfer to a cooling rack, leave for at least 10 minutes, then slide off with a wide spatula. Serve warm or at room temperature with a scattering of garlic greens, fresh herbs etc.

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Baking | Oven Roasted Plum & Almond Cakes … Happy 100th Birthday Julia

“Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.”
Julia Child

Oven Roasted Plum & Almond CakesThose lines by Julia Child defined my spirit of blogging from day one. To celebrate Julia’s 100th birthday on the 15th of August, 2012, I chose and adapted this beautiful everyday dessert -  Oven Roasted Plum & Almond Cakes from Baking With Julia. There was an energy about her, the chef who changed the way America cooked and baked. Food bloggers worldwide woke up to a new identity after Julie & Julia. People looked at us differently, suddenly recognising the band of foodies who passionately belted out deliciousness online day after day.Oven Roasted Plum & Almond CakesThe ever sweet Suma @ Cakes & More sent me Dorie Greenspans amazing book Baking With Julia as a gift. The book is packed with sweet and savoury recipes from the PBS series that Julia hosted, and doubles up as a baking encyclopedia too. Oven Roasted Plum & Almond Cakes The commentary is warm and friendly, puts you at ease instantly as Dorie talks to you through each recipe. Baking With Julia now shares place of honour on my bookshelf with both volumes of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking!Oven Roasted Plum & Almond CakesBread is what I wanted to bake, a Fougasse, but I didn’t plan well in time as the dough needed to sit for 24 hours to get bubbly and squeaky! I love the way Dorie writes that because even the bread dough has ‘emotions’! My next natural choice was a simple everyday dessert. With plums in the fridge, these little Oven Roasted Plum & Almond Cakes were but going to happen!Oven Roasted Plum & Almond CakesI changed the recipe a little bit, and pretty soon realised that I might have togrin and bear it soon. The batter was runnier than required. Into it went some almond meal, and since the eggs were small I went for 3 knowing pretty well that 2 whole + 1 yolk should do the trick! Should have used ramekins, threw caution to the wind and used dessert rings. I knew I was in trouble when the plums on top sank right in; with them my heart!!Oven Roasted Plum & Almond CakesI fixed it though, topped the cakelets with more plum halves {and slices} halfway through baking, safe in the knowledge that maybe an invisible Julia peered over my shoulder. This is the untold joy of baking with a good book. It keeps you company, the characters pop up all over the place giving you tips, hints, telling you all is well, yelling at you when not! My time in the kitchen is always virtually in good company!CocoI am fortunate to have some good company in reality too – a little plum thief that I have raised. Coco, our cocker spaniel took a shine to plums when she came to our home in the summer of 2011! Nothing’s changed! She didn’t notice me looking at her, and soon nicked a ‘plum prop’ and made a meal out of it, the little blighter! It was really tart!! Coco & PlumShe has great taste and will be any Mums delight! Loves her greens {beans, spinach, purslane, peas – raw or cooked}, loves her protein {eggs, cottage cheese, chickpeas} and even loves fruit {banana, mango, kiwi , plums, peaches, cherries, strawberries!}Oven Roasted Plum & Almond CakesThat’s just how well my time in the kitchen is spent! I love it! Creating food is almost an obsession and I love the culinary adventures that great chefs like Julia Child encourage. Oven Roasted Plum & Almond CakesThis is really good you know!” exclaimed the 16 year old aka the dieting diva. {She couldn’t resist my ‘maybe you’d like to try some’ nonchalant reference to a plum cake in the oven !} “YUM! Can I have another?” was the more excited response from the junior teen who was hoping for a yes but got a NO instead!Oven Roasted Plum & Almond Cakes The little cakes were indeed delicious. Well balanced, beautiful light crumb and just right with the sweetness too. The plums gave up their juices and became delectable part of the cake. Topped with vanilla ice cream or even some low fat unsweetened cream … mmm! Dorie suggests a chocolate sauce … that must taste divine!Oven Roasted Plum & Almond Cakes

[print_this]Recipe: Oven Roasted Plum & Almond Cakes your picture

Summary: Tiny little delicious dessert cakes that celebrate summer, stone fruit and plums! They are light and delightful, the almond meal adding beautiful texture to the crumb! Recipe adapted minimally from Marsel Desaulniers, Baking With Julia. {Makes 8 3″ cakes}

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup raw sugar {khand}
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 small eggs
  • 1/2 vanilla bean scraped
  • 1 scant cup flour
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 4 large ripe plums, halved and pitted
  • Whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, or dark chocolate sauce if desired

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Grease 8 3″ dessert rings or 12 2″ ramekins with melted butter {I used clarified butter} and place on a foiled lined rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Sift the flour, almond meal and baking soda. Reserve in a bowl.
  4. Combine raw sugar and 2 tbsp of brown sugar in a bowl with butter. Cream for 2-3 minutes on medium high speed.
  5. Add the eggs, vanilla bean and cream on high for another 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add the flour mix and beat in on low speed until just combined, followed with the buttermilk. Mix in on low speed until uniformly mixed, 30 seconds.
  7. Divide batter equally between prepared rings / ramekins, sprinkle over the remaining brown sugar and bake in oven to 15 minutes. Once the top is somewhat set, quickly place half a plum, cut side up into each cup. Continue to bake for another 15-20 minutes until light golden brown and done {toothpick inserted into middle should come out clean.}
  8. Cool the tray on the rack for at least 15-20 minutes, then gently ease out using a blunt bitter knife. Serve warm or at room temperature as is, or with low fat unsweetened cream or vanilla ice cream.

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