Baking | Pumpkin Pie Tartlets in a Walnut Shell with Spiced Ginger Cream. Happy Thanksgiving!

“Foodie friends – Rosa, Helene, Alessio, Deeba, Vidya, Jamie. Love learning new stuff from you now and then! Whether it be your blogs,inspiring tweets or delicious FB posts. Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate and thank you! :-)”
Fahad Khan via FB

Pumpkin Pie TartletHow beautifully can sentiments be conveyed. The lines above are a reflection of everything the inspiring food blogging  community and foodies share with large hearts. It’s a humbling feeling. Two small words like Thank You that can make the day shine! ‘Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate’. Thank you for being here. It’s Pumpkin Pie Tartlets in a Walnut Shell with Spiced Ginger Cream to celebrate the day!

Pumpkin Pie TartletsThanksgiving? There are some days which hold great significance in the Western world yet go largely unnoticed here. Every culture and every country however has a day they hold dear to say thank you for good deeds. For the baker in me, today is incomplete without baking a pie with a pumpkin, an opportunity to use this humble vegetable in a more fun way!

pumpkin puree from scratchAs aromas of pumpkin pie spice waft through the house, the lad will come sniffing the air hungrily. Pumpkin pie? YUM! I think I make this just because of him and his love for pumpkin {in dessert form}.This is also the only way both kids will eat the yellow veggie, rather hungrily devour it! This time of the year drives me to grab some pumpkin and roast it for puree.

Pumpkin Pie TartletsIt’s a humbling feeling to know that such a simple vegetable can give you such stunning end results. Since we are not a ‘pumpkin in the can’ country, the prep is always from scratch  Pumpkin or kaddu is extensively used in cooking on the subcontinent as it is cheap, grows abundantly and is nutritious. It sometimes sneaks into Indian desserts as well like halwa and barfi too.

Pumpkin Pie Tartlets

Adding pumpkin pie spice to puree energises the taste buds into reaching for higher ground, into appreciating how much more worth this humble yellow gourd can be! It’s simple to roast and make your own pumpkin puree, yet I find myself only ‘walking the roast the pumpkin plank‘ every Thanksgiving!

Pumpkin Pie TartletsI wonder why? The Pumpkin Pie Tartlets in a Walnut Shell with Spiced Ginger Cream were really enjoyed by the family. The son gobbled his tartlet in a matter of seconds. Mmmm, these are GOOD!! They are simple to put together. I enjoy doing a walnut tart shell, inspired by the Whipped Strawberry Curd Cream Tartlets with Walnut Shortbread Crust.

Pumpkin Pie TartletsBack to the TG moment. I have to say a big Thank You to Finla for these very charming and ‘so me’ ceramic ramekins she sent me {with ALL the other stuff} when her rockstar hub visited Delhi last month. I’ve been impatient to use them, and this seemed a good time to do so.

Pumpkin Pie Tartlets I love them; the colours and the feel full of rustic appeal. I wasn’t sure they would work well with tartlets. As you can see, luck was my friend {So was parchment paper. For that, gratitude to a sweet reader, now friend, Komal in Mumbai who continues to feed the ‘parchment monster‘ in me}. Big thank you!

Pumpkin Pie TartletsOn the topic of ramekins and parchment paper, a word about pumpkin pie spice. The spice is simple to make at home. It’s a mix of powdered cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. A good blend can be made in the 2:1:1 proportion i.e. 2tsp cinnamon powder, 1 tsp ground ginger and 1 tsp ground nutmeg.

Pumpkin Pie TartletsAnd if you are making homemade pumpkin puree, make sure your puree is not too watery. You will not get a nice well set pie. The puree should be thick and can be cooked down if it’s too liquidy. If you add the pie spice to it while cooking down, the flavours will mature well. I added some freshly grated ginger juice to my filling. Nice!

Pumpkin Pie TartletsTo tie up all the warm flavours in the Pumpkin Pie Tartlets, I spiced the whipped cream gently with some powdered ginger. I did attempt to make some walnut caramel shards but the raw sugar did not oblige! Pumpkin, walnuts, ginger, cinnamon …warm, comforting, filling, delicious!

Happy Thanksgiving you beautiful readers. Thank you as always for stopping by! I leave you with a collage of random things that make me happy.

Random 'happy' things

Don’t forget to tell me if you have something special you make with pumpkin!

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Baking| Dark Chocolate & Strawberry Mini Cloud Gateaus … For #NellysBigDay

Marriage Tip # 100 “Dot daily with a sense of humor”
Elizabeth Besa Quirino

Dark Chocolate & Strawberry Mini Cloud Gateaus

“And …I said YESSSSS!”
It happened one November midnight, in Twitterverse, we saw this tweet from our dear Nelly @ nella22. Without missing a beat, we all knew Nelly had “said YES” to her beloved “M”,as she sweetly calls Brian Murray, her fiancé.
So here we are, Nelly dear, your friends in the food world, wishing you and Brian,all the best. And with our wishes, a simple recipe with an easy formula for a life of bliss, rich with EVERYTHING in it!
Mix together: A lot of Love, Patience, Perseverance, Respect, Courage, Strength, Trust, Kindness, Honesty, Compromise & Great Sex.
Stir in : Equal Parts of Love, Support, Faith, Fidelity, Hope, Validation, Friendship, Forgiveness, Communication.
Cook over slow simmer for the rest of your life. Dot daily with a Sense of Humor.
Leave out the nagging, sarcasm, skepticism, doubts and stubbornness.
Serving Suggestions: Best prepared daily. Serve with flourish because Married Life is a FEAST. Live it with flavor, spice it with unconditional love, enjoy its richness.
Recipe Notes: Some ingredients won’t always be fresh or available. Or the heat may flare up and the anger spills over. Simmer down and douse the flames with all the LOVE you can throw in.
Enjoy the feast of marriage, love and life!
{Written by : Elizabeth @Mango_Queen}

Dark Chocolate & Strawberry Mini Cloud Gateaus These Dark Chocolate & Strawberry Mini Cloud Gateaus were a big hit! Can’t go wrong with dark chocolate and strawberries, a pairing made in heaven. These were decadent and festive, almost a gateau celebration in themselves, so I am posting them for sweet Nellys Virtual  Bridal Shower! I got in on the event a little late, but am thrilled to be part of the surprise bridal shower for this very sweet lady with a very sweet tooth! Thank you Sanjeeta for roping me in, me who loves LOVES twitter to death, but have been missing from it for far too long. It’s good to be back in the midst of all the frenzied tweets, the excited timelines, the viral food talk … and the fun events and camaraderie for great tweeps like Nelly or rather Marnelly!Dark Chocolate & Strawberry Mini Cloud Gateaus Just back from a short, wonderful trip to the Land of the Rising Sun, a trip I could only have dreamt of, a country I never imagined I would be fortunate enough to visit, and bets placed on the fact that the dwarves would miss me and their organised lives which was about to be upside down for 4 days! To cushion the kids rough ride, I made them these Dark Chocolate & Strawberry Mini Cloud Gateaus … I hear they were divine, and so can’t resist sending them {virtually} for Nelly’s bridal shower!!

Dark Chocolate & Strawberry Mini Cloud Gateaus Best wishes to you sweet Nella for this most wonderful time of your life. Hope your days with M are filled with passion and love. ENJOY!!!

Dark Chocolate & Strawberry Mini Cloud Gateaus It’s been wonderful being part of this huge, fantastic, very excited group Nella’s virtual bridal shower brought together. We whispered loudly, we emailed ferociously, we confused each other endlessly {12am/12pm/EST???}, we giggled, we laughed like nervous brides {and grooms?} … and we supported each other! Please catch our posts us on twitter with #nellysbigday, and on the linky love below.Dark Chocolate & Strawberry Mini Cloud Gateaus These mini gateaus were made out of a leftover layer from a 16th birthday cake I made for my daughters dear friend. The order – “Cake to be made, CHOCOLATY CHOCOLATY CHOCLATY, oh, with strawberries too!” Pictures were taken and mailed at each stage {making me very nervous}, drafts of what was to be written on top down to the last dot and dash, NO CHANGES AT ALL, colour combinations … and the phrase ‘very chocolaty‘ being rung out repeatedly! So many instructions that I almost lost my nerve and whatever creative bend of mind I possessed.Dark Chocolate & Strawberry Mini Cloud Cake{If you wish to make the birthday cake, then you will need 2 portions of the batter for 2 cakes that will give you a 6 layer cake, enough for about 20-25 folk. The chocolate pastry creme filling is enough for a 6 egg cake, with a little extra.}


Dark Chocolate & Strawberry Mini Cloud Gateaus

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Bake Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 8 mini gateaus

Dark Chocolate & Strawberry Mini Cloud Gateaus

Light as cloud, mini dark chocolate cakes, smothered with a deep chocolaty pastry creme, strawberries nestled within. Dust with white chocolate shavings, and a sprig of mint ... get set for the holiday season!


150gms plain flour

30gms cocoa powder

2 tsps baking powder

pinch of salt

150gm powdered sugar

5tbsp neutral oil

5 tbsp water

3 eggs, separated

Zest of 1 orange

1tsp pure vanilla extract

Chocolate Pastry Cream

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 egg yolks

1 vanilla bean, scraped

Pinch of salt

170gm dark couverture chocolate 5-65%, room temperature

200ml low fat milk, hot

100ml low fat milk, cold

40-50gm cornflour


  1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C. Line an 8"springform tin. (the original recipe uses 2 8" sandwich tins)
  2. With a balloon whisk, mix the flour, cocoa, baking powdered sugar and salt in a large bowl. Reserve.
  3. In another bowl, beat the egg whites till they hold medium firm peaks. Keep aside.
  4. Whisk the oil, water, yolks, zest and vanilla extract together and on low speed, mix into the dry ingredients until smooth.
  5. Fold the whites gently into the yolk mixture.
  6. Turn into lined tin & bake for about 45 minutes till well risen & golden brown. Check if it is done with a wooden pick.( Slide a sheet of foil lightly over the top if it begins to brown too fast).
  7. Leave in tin for 10 minutes, & then cool completely on rack.
  8. Once cool, cut into 4 layers. Stack up the layers and cut into 4 X 3" circles to fit into 3" dessert rings.{16 circles}
  9. Place a layer of cake, top with a generous tbsp or two of chilled pastry creme. level the creme with an offset spatual, scatter chopped strawberries, follow with another layer of cake, and then a tbsp or two more of pastry creme. Scatter chopped strawberries on top. Repeat with the other rings. Leave to set for 4-6 hours, preferably overnight.
  10. Serve with freshly halved strawberries, a dusting of icing sugar, white chocolate shavings and a sprig of mint.
  11. Chocolate Pastry Cream
    {Stove top method}
  12. Bring the milk, vanilla sugar and a pinch of salt to a gentle boil in a pot.
  13. In the meantime, whisk the egg yolks and sugar with a wooden spoon in a big bowl until the mixture becomes pale and light. Stir in the flour slowly until it is thoroughly mixed with the egg mixture.
  14. Pour the boiling milk into the mixture a little by little while whisking continuously to avoid curdling. And then stir in the rest of the milk until the mixture is well combined.
  15. Transfer the whole mixture into a pot, with the chocolate and seeds scraped from the vanilla bean, and heat it under low setting. Stir it constantly with the wooden spoon or spatula scraping the sides and bottom until it has thickened.
  16. Once the custard has thickened, take it off the heat, and strain / pour it into a clean bowl. Allow to cool to room temperature, and then chill in the fridge for 2 hours.It should be thick and spoonable.
  17. {For the Thermomix}
  18. Whiz the sugar in the TM bowl on Speed 9 for 10 seconds, then add the yolks and run on Speed 5 for 5 seconds
  19. Mix the cornflour into the cold milk.
  20. Add the chocolate, and warm milk to the TM bowl, and begin cook at 100C / 7 minutes, Speed 4. As soon as the TM begins to run, pour in the cold cornflour mix into the bowl through the shute, and shut.
  21. Check after 7 minutes if the pastry creme is as thick as you like, else run for another few minutes. Immediately transfer to a serving bowl and proceed as above.

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This is my recipe/post for the virtual bridal shower for Nelly hosted by Sanjeeta kk at Lite Bite.
Special thanks to Heather for the logo, Elizabeth for the intro write up and to Junia for the spreadsheet.
Intro paragraph written by Elizabeth @Mango_Queen

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No Bake Dessert| Creme au chocolat shots … fudgy, indulgent, deep chocolate creme

“Happiness. Simple as a glass of chocolate or tortuous as the heart. Bitter. Sweet. Alive.”
Joanne Harris

Crème au chocolatIf the whites find feet, can the yolks be far behind? Each time I make macarons, a bunch of egg yolks call my name. This time was no different with the yolks looking for a home again, and me looking for inspiration. It’s been a long 3 years since I began food blogging. The beginning saw me absolutely egg-phobic, where I couldn’t handle the smell of an egg yolk under any circumstances. Egg yolks and yeast were my two enemies.Crème au chocolat Crème au chocolat Gradually they became frenemies, and one day I won the battle of yeast {with my friend Ben from What’s Cooking Mexico}. Recently, on my Yeasted Meringue Coffee cake he commented, “Remember when we were scared of yeast? That looks like another life now, doesn’t it?” How true!! Winning over the yolks was far tougher but the discovery of Madagascar vanilla beans was set to change that forever. Who would have thought that the humble vanilla bean, with its deep flavour could make yolks so delightful?Crème au chocolat My culinary journey got better with food bloggers becoming friends, a chance meeting in London, and The Cooking Ninja introduced me to her MILs Crème Pâtissière. I do love the French for their beautiful desserts, and Pamela for introducing me to pastry creme. I first used it to make these Orange Patisserie Tartlets with Candied Tangerines. Theres been no looking back. What I’ve conjured up here is in no way traditional baked pots de creme. This is my fast track version of Crème au chocolat which translates simply into my idea of an indulgent chocolate cream! Crème au chocolat The Thermomix makes pastry creme feel like a cakewalk. Where else can you pop everything into a bowl, turn the timer to 7 minutes and open the bowl to a fudgy, deep, chocolaty, smooth as satin chocolate pastry creme at the other end? Well, you can go the tradional way to pastry creme too, over the stove top and end up with the same delight. A pastry creme, or custard is, IMHO, a most wonderful and indulgent way to use up egg yolks. This chocolate pastry cream is ready to serve in a couple of hours, including chill time. It’s finger licking good too. Crème au chocolat Crème au chocolatI reached this consistency after playing around with the quantities of chocolate, milk and cornflour. The basic recipe is quite versatile, and can be easily doubled too. I like it because  it can be made in advance, and of course, desserts in glasses are always eye candy! They make a bold, crisp statement, and allow for contrasting pairing that you can show off.  Serve it with either fresh seasonal fruit and herbs, with amaretti cookies, or paired with macarons. Else spike it with your favourite cherry liqueur and serve with juicy bing cherries, or give it an espresso kick …  the possibilities are endless!Crème au chocolatA good point to remember is to use a nice quality chocolate. I have been fortunate enough to discover a local source of couverture chocolate from an online gourmet store here, called Delicious Now. I was introduced to it when I attended the Le Cordon Blue Pastry Workshop in Delhi a few months ago, and the single origin cocoa bean 65% dark chocolate has me addicted. With prices of the cocoa bean heading north, I’m now experimenting with a 55% dark chocolate. {Disclaimer: I have not been paid to write this. It’s always nice to share a local source in India as it’s difficult to find a variety of ingredients easily}.Crème au chocolatThese little ‘hot chocolate shots‘ are off to the April Cook-Off hosted by the equally hot and gorgeous Da @ Kitchen Corners. She called this April to make ‘Something delicious with chocolate. Something new and creative. Something a little crazy.’

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