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Diwali

Flourless GF Mini Dark Chocolate Layered Cake 1000“When you celebrate, there is sure to be cake.”
Florence Ditlow

Flourless GF Mini Dark Chocolate Layered Cake … it was a cake that was meant to be a Swiss roll. As it often happens, there was a last minute change as it popped out. Wasn’t sure if it was malleable enough to roll, the dessert rings caught my glad eye. Before I knew it, I was stamping out circles to create the sweetest mini layered cake I have ever made!Flourless GF Mini Dark Chocolate Layered CakeSo if your skills at baking are minimal, if you are scared the sponge might crack up and laugh at you, if you are a sucker for punishment like me and insist that cakes must be dark chocolate and flourless, here’s the perfect answer. STAMP IT OUT! Being experimental at times can throw up the most amazing of options.

Flourless GF Mini Dark Chocolate Layered Cake Whoever said that dark chocolate is the only therapy you need, is a 100% spot on! This is the prefect little sweet treat, big enough for 3-4 servings, small enough to control temptation. Blink and it’s gone; but oh my, leaves you satiated with quite a happy feeling in the tummy.

Step by step Flourless GF Mini Dark Chocolate Layered Cake I also did a festive version of the cake, Chocolate Sparkler Cake {GF} for this months Diwali issue of Femina, with DIY steps and all. This version had rose petals and pistachios and was  great fun to put together. Flourless GF Mini Dark Chocolate Layered Cake for Diwali

Recipe: Flourless GF Mini Dark Chocolate Layered Cake
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Summary: Deep, intense, chocolaty and sinful, this Flourless GF Mini Dark Chocolate Layered Cake makes for a creative and fun holiday bake.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Ingredients:

  • Flourless Chocolate Cake
  • 130g dark chocolate
  • 2 tbsp orange juice or water
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, divided
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Mousse filling and frosting
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 200ml cream
  • 15g raw sugar {boora} or icing sugar
  • Garnish
  • Fresh mint leaves, seasonal fruit, cocoa powder

Method:

  1. Flourless Cake
  2. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper.
  3. Melt the chocolate with orange juice {or water} either over a double boiler, or in the microwave. Stir until smooth. Leave to cool.With an electric hand beater, beat the egg whites and 1 tbsp brown sugar in a large clean bowl until stiff peaks form. Reserve.
  4. Place egg yolks and remaining sugar with vanilla into a big bowl. With the same beaters, beat yolks until tripled and mousse like, 5-7 minutes.
  5. Drizzle in the melted chocolate and gently fold in, and then add 2 tbsp of beaten whites. Fold gently so that the beaten air is not released.
  6. Gently fold in 1/3rd of the egg whites, then another third, then the remaining whites.
  7. Turn batter into prepared pan. Bake at 180C for 18-20 minutes, until firm to touch.
  8. Take out of oven. Sift over 1 tbsp cocoa thick, and then swiftly yet gently turn the warm cake onto a sheet of parchment paper. Peel off lower parchment gently, and sift more cocoa over it.
  9. Allow to cool, and then cut into shapes. 3 X 4.5″ circles and 3 X 3″ circles. {use a cookie cutter, doughnut cutter, katori etc}
  10. Mousse filling and frosting
  11. This can be made first so that it chills while the cake is being made.
  12. Melt chocolate with 50g cream over a double boiler or in the microwave. Whisk until smooth. Cool completely.
  13. Whip remaining cream with icing sugar. Fold into chocolate mix gently. Leave to chill in the fridge. The mousse should be quite firm, yet spreadable.
  14. Assemble
  15. Place one 4.5″ circle in base of tin top with 1/2 layer of mousse filling, top with next layer, mousse filling, then third layer. Repeat for smaller circles.
  16. Place bigger stacked layer on serving platter and gently remove the ring mold using a sharp knife to free the sides. Use 2/3rd of the remaining mouse to frost the cake, and then top it gently with the smaller cake stack. Frost the smaller cake with remaining mousse and leave to chill for 30minutes.
  17. Chocolate Lace Collar
  18. Cut out parchment paper borders to fit around the base cake. Place the melted chocolate in a ziploc bag and snip off a corner. Doodle designs over the border and place flat in the fridge for 5 minutes until just set but malleable. When just about to set, place snugly around the cake, pressing into place ever so gently.
  19. Leave the cake in the fridge for about 15-20 minutes for the chocolate to harden, and then gently peel off the parchment.
  20. Sift the cake with a little cocoa powder. Garnish with sliced strawberries and fresh mint leaves.
  21. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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

“I put the kitch into kitchen.”
Nigella Lawson,

Saffron Pistachio Indian Bread Pudding Saffron Pistachio Indian Bread Pudding {eggless} …. this is a post about bread pudding, the festival season, travel, cookware, memories, possessions, obsessions, food props & styling, connects and so much more. To begin with, a bit about the dessert. Fascinatingly, almost every culture across the world has it’s own version of bread pudding.Saffron Pistachio Indian Bread Pudding with Mauviel 1830 In many cases, eggs are an intrinsic part as they help to firm up the custard to offer a rich pudding. That version is often baked. We grew up with a no bake eggless version, quintessential in this part of the world. Locally referred to as Shahi Tukda, its translation quite literally ‘the royal bit{e}’!Saffron Pistachio Indian Bread Pudding with Mauviel 1830 Inherent ingredients … bread of course {day old if possible} clarified butter, sugar, full cream milk, often  khoya {milk solids also known as mawa}, dry fruit. Saffron if you want to add to the flavours and give it that special touch. I love using saffron. A nice generous teaspoon and you have seductive, lilting flavours in your dessert.

edible rose petals & pistachios Mauviel1830Pistachio slivers, rose petals, beaten silver foil, more saffron … anything to make it even more festive. I thought it fitted right in with my newly acquired {read received as a gift} Mauviel1830 rectangular roasting pan. And there begins another connect … a food prop connect!

Food photography metal I am fascinated by food props. Metal, stone, wood, ceramic, stoneware. However, metal is my first love. Copper to get even more precise. Most folk who know me know well of my love for food props, vintage mostly. A trip to the Kashmir valley in March this year left me virtually breathless. The people, the places, the architecture, scenic beauty, an old world charm …Srinagar March 2014 Also old markets, spices and of course copper-ware. Loads of it. Old Srinagar market is filled with the most beautiful intricately engraved copper. The natives use it in everyday cooking; it’s a part of their life. There was only so much I could carry back. I had been warned about excess baggage!!

Food photography metal

Srinagar March 2014And then last week came something that I had never imagined. More copper. A gift all the way from Normandy, France. Not vintage, but something that left my heart going THUD THUD THUD!! A set of the most beautifully crafted, stellar quality copper and steel cookware form the iconic French brand Mauviel 1830! Take a look.

Mauviel 1930Around the same time, Sharon @ The Keybunch asked if I could do a guest post for her in October, maybe a travel destination with a recipe woven in for Diwali. Her blog is about beautiful spaces, stories, people,travel destinations, art, food, culture….love! I had Srinagar in mind it is one of the most stunning places on earth.

Srinagar, India ... paradise on earthSrinagar means a lot to me. A childhood connect, copper-ware, shikaras, houseboats, snow, saffron, rogan josh, goshtaba, bakeries, fruit, beautiful people … For the recipe, I wanted to use saffron. I’ve done a really nice Caramel Saffron Panna Cotta earlier, so this time opted for a simple eggless Indian Shahi Tukda or bread pudding.

Saffron Pistachio Indian Bread Pudding with Mauviel 1830 This Mauviel1830 rectangular pan offered me a perfect choice even though it’s a roasting pan. You can bake an egg custard bread pudding in the pan for a variation. Here is what I did. I tried to use as many of the beautiful creations from Mauviel1830 in this simple recipe. The adorable little pan was used to melt the clarified butter in. The copper bowl for whisking the milk, cream, and condensed milk, the heavy bottom saucepan for reducing the milk concoction…and of course the rectangular pan for final plating.

Saffron Pistachio Indian Bread Pudding with Mauviel 1830 It’s a really nice set, and using Mauviel made my experience totally memorable. I felt royal. You got to experience it to believe it. Each piece screams quality, feels great to hold, is crafted with care, and beautiful to look at of course…About Mauviel1830… as a friend rightfully commented on FB, Mauviel1830 is an investment.

Saffron Pistachio Indian Bread Pudding with Mauviel 1830 Do head off to Sharon @ The Keybunch to find my simple, rich and indulgent yet rich Indian Shahi Tukda or Saffron Pistachio Indian Bread Pudding {eggless} recipe. It’s a quintessential Indian dessert, kept light by toasting the bread. Feel free to play around with spices and or/ingredients. The recipe is pretty basic. Use cardamom or star anise, maybe nutmeg for a change in flavour. Skip the condensed milk and use ricotta, mawa/khoya and sugar instead.

Saffron Pistachio Indian Bread Pudding with Mauviel 1830 Have a warm and happy Diwali!

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





“You have to find what sparks a light in you so that you in your own way can illuminate the world.”
Oprah Winfrey

Baklava, dark chocolate nut clusters, moong dal ka halwa 1Moong Dal Halwa,  Dark Chocolate Nut Clusters, Baklava from scratch how can we not go sweet on Diwali, the festival of lights? The halwa is special. The recipe is from the very sweet, talented and humble Chef Kunal Kapur, of Indian Master Chef fame. Masterchef Kunal Kapur judged a charity cook-off between a few chosen ones from the canola India Facebook contest and a couple of food bloggers. The chosen contestants came together to cook some healthy Diwali treats, in canola oil, for the underprivileged children from the NGO – Katha.

Baklava, dark chocolate nut clusters, moong dal ka halwa With an attempt to “Lighten up Diwali” for underprivileged children, Canolainfo joined hands with Masterchef India Judge Kunal Kapur to put together an inspiring afternoon and some delectable Diwali treats.

Phase I was online: inviting all food enthusiasts to upload a recipe of an interesting Diwali treat in order to participate in the “Light Up This Diwali With Canola Oil” contest sponsored by Canolainfo. Top 3 contestants were selected/invited to attend a charity cook-off, along with a few bloggers, at Banarsidas Chandiwala Institute of Hotel Management and Catering Technology wherein Masterchef Kunal Kapur judged the cook-off and interacted with the contestants. All the contestants were given recipes to make, in canola oil. The best out of all – Ms. Deeba Rajpal, chosen by Chef Kapur was given a hamper from Canolainfo. This was phase II of the event.

For the last and final phase, the Diwali treats made by contestants of the cook-off, was served to children of Katha, a non-profit that promotes children’s literacy. The event concluded with the children enjoying a healthy meal cooked in canola oil, put together for them along with an interactive session with Chef Kapur.

Canola, Chef Kunal Kapur, Katha

The spirit of the season took over. My first competitive cooking competition, which initially had me on the edge. Once we got talking, time really flew by. The entire experience was amazing. From weighing ingredients, working in a very very basic kitchen with just a bunch of utensils, shared space and basic ingredients, one simple dessert recipe bought us all together. It was a sense of community. That we had the timer on for 40 minutes was challenging is a small way. None of us had ever made a moong dal halwa before, let alone in oil. This was Chef Kunals recipe. It was cooked in oil versus clarified butter, then the oil was drained off. The texture was very interesting as there was a small portion of semolina in it that added texture to the halwa.

Moong dal ka halwa Otherwise a pretty straightforward recipe, the only important thing while cooking a halwa is to give it some TLC. Patience while roasting halwa is a virtue you need to develop. Hurry it up and you might not get the prefect end result! Kunal was a gem. Interacting with everyone, dropping pearls of wisdom when needed, the key was to keep your ears and eyes open! Suddenly, there was a twist. We had to incorporate any one of each the available fruits and spices in the halwa.

moong dal ka halwa On offer were cheekus, bananas, oranges and limes. The spice box offered nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, mace, cardamom etc. I opted for orange and nutmeg, and infused the sugar syrup with a whole orange, chopped up, peels bruised and grated nutmeg. It was a beautiful halwa in the end. I loved doing it. I won first place for mine too. Happiness!!

Katha, NGO, DiwaliTime really flew by. Before we knew it , we headed for Katha, an amazing and beautifully done up school. Seeing Chef Kunal interact with the bright eyed, eager enthusiastic kids was an emotional and satisfying experience. He has a gift, a special gift. Within 10 minutes he had broken ice and had all the kids literally eating out of his hands.It was time well spent!

moong dal ka halwa It was a nice launch of the festive season. With sweet cravings arising with Diwali, it wasn’t long before I hit the sugar on fast track. It’s just once in a while that I go on a sugar overdrive. Mr PAB and the lad had been on my case for moong dal halwa.

Baklava, dark chocolate nut clusters, moong dal ka halwa So that had to be made on priority. Dark chocolate nut clusters was what I made as gifts to a few folk that I like gifting over Diwali. I enjoyed doing them a lot, packing them onto pretty white platters, finished with a hand made card from the daughter. Coco was right in the middle of everything as usual!

diwali 2013, CocoThen of course, I got bitten by a terrible bug. I had some home made phyllo left over form the Daring Baker challenge {for savoury pot pies which I still have to post}. I made the pies using homemade phyllo as the base pastry. I doubled the pastry because I have wanted to make that baklava once again.

BaklavaThe first time I had made it was for the Daring Bakers two years ago. That was a beautiful challenge, and still evokes great memories. ’twas was only when I began rolling the phyllo, that I realised I was a glutton for punishment. WHY??? It was a rather long drawn exercise, with me cursing myself all along. Yet, I DID IT!BaklavaOnce you pop the layered and cut baklava into the oven, you feel like you’ve conquered the world. Once you take it out an hour later, pour the infused honey syrup all over it, you begin to smell sweet success! Just looking at the tin the next morning, and  you realise it’s been so worth every bit of heartache and hard work! You can find the baklava recipe here, though I used a slightly different phyllo pastry recipe.

Baklava, moong dal ka halwaThe dark chocolate nut clusters are easy. They are just tempered dark couverture chocolate with nuts mixed in, then dropped in spoonfuls on butter paper and allowed to set in the fridge.

Hope you have a safe and bright diwali. Eat a lot of sweets, light up some lamps, share loads, laugh lots!

[print_this]Recipe: Chef Kunal Kapoors Moong Dal Halwa  your picture

Summary: This simple and very rustic dessert is a die hard Indian Classic. We may not ask for it specially but if it is served especially in winters then it is difficult to resist. Often this halwa is laden with desi ghee making it a difficult for many to savour. But this recipe uses canola oil that is very light and healthy. Initially the recipe uses good quantity of canola oil but later in the recipe you will find that most of the oil is strained and what remains is perfectly cooked Halwa, which is with the goodness of canola oil. Serves 4

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

  • Moong dal— 150 gms
  • Sooji – 25gms
  • Canola oil – 200 ml
  • Sugar – 150 gms
  • Water – 150ml
  • Green cardamom powder – ½ tsp
  • Pista sliced – 2 tbsp

Method:

  1. Soak the moong dal in sufficient water overnight. Drain all the water completely and grind it to a fine paste.
  2. In a karahi heat canola oil and sooji. On slow flame cook soji till it browns. Now add the moong dal paste. On medium heat cook the paste till it is thick and finally oozes out the oil {should get to a light brown, the colour of wood}
  3. Remove from fire and transfer to a metallic fine strainer/sieve. Let the oil drain out. Wait for a couple of minutes. During this time mix water, sugar and cardamom powder and bring it to a boil and remove. { I infused the syrup with the rind and pieces of 2 oranges, saving a few cross slices for garnish}
  4. Place the paste back in a karahi and start the fire. Heat it and add the sugar syrup carefully. Now cook till all the water is absorbed and there are no lumps. If you see any lumps just add little water and reduce it again.
  5. Garnish with pista slivers.

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