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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Dessert|Saffron Pistachio Indian Bread Pudding {eggless} … with Mauviel1830 @thekeybunch #copperware #dessert #Indian #Diwali

“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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Baking | Avocado Dark Chocolate Buckwheat Cake {Gluten Free}… New Zealand Avocado Season Launch #cake #glutenfree #healthy #wholegrain

“I ♥ Avocados”

Avocado Dark Chocolate Buckwheat Cake {gluten free} & the New Zealand Avocado Season Launch, New Delhi with Masterchef Kunal KapoorAvocado Dark Chocolate Buckwheat Cake {Gluten Free}…a cake inspired by so much avocado goodness that we saw at the New Zealand Avocado Season Launch. Last week saw loads of avocado recipes churned out by the very talented and sweet Chef Kunal Kapoor at the New Zealand High Commission, New Delhi.

Celebrity Masterchef Kunal Kapur said “New Zealand Hass avocados are an amazing healthy and versatile wholefood that contain the good fats needed to maintain a healthy heart. They interestingly blend with everyday Indian meals and the soft buttery texture and nutty flavour goes really well with many traditional dishes such as Bhel Puri and Tawa Pulao. They also blend seamlessly with curries”.

 New Zealand Avocado Season Launch with Chef Kunal KapoorIt’s always interesting to see what the chef does with food, creating innovative recipes, often off the beaten path. He put  avocados right into the heart of Indian cuisine, the pairings quite unexpected and intriguing. I loved the idea of a New Zealand Avocado and Cheese Parantha, New Zealand Avocado Bhel Puri, New Zealand Avocado & Cucumber Soup, AVAVZA Avocado & Vanilla Srikhand and a New Zealand Avocado and Kiwi Lassi. Other recipes included New Zealand Avocado and Chicken Kebabs, New Zealand Avocado and Coconut Stew, New Zealand Avocado and Tuna Cheese Toast,New Zealand Avocado Tawa Pulao , New Zealand Avocado & Coconut chutney.Avocado

Health benefits of New Zealand Avocado

Beautiful skin The vitamins & antioxidants in Avocado can improve your skin from the inside
Energy & vitality The iron, niacin and vitamin B6 in Avocado support energy levels and help to unlock energy from your food
Healthy heart The good fats and omega acids in Avocado help to maintain healthy cholesterol levels
Nutrient booster Avocados help your body absorb more nutrients from other foods they are eaten with
Protection Vitamin C in Avocado contributes to  protection of cells from free radical damage
Healthy digestion Fibre in Avocado keeps your digestive system in shape

With Chef Kunal Kapoor & Chef Sabyasachi Gorai at the New Zealand High Commission for the Launch of the avocado season, Oct 2014It was an interesting and fun evening, with loads of good company too. Two of my favourite chefs I recently spoke about were there – Kunal and Saby, or formally Master Chef Kunal Kapoor and Chef Sabyasachi Gorai. Also present were a great bunch of foodies. The evening disappeared amidst non stop banter, laughter, fine avocado based bites, and choicest NZ wine.AvocadoWe came away with an avocado each. I swapped my normal green one for this ripe one because I fell in love with the pinkish red hue. It seemed a good fit for Pinktober too! I had an idea in my head after all the avocado talk! Back home, my ripe and ready to eat av headed for a gluten free chocolate cake; a cake where the New Zealand Avocado and Indian buckwheat flour aka kuttu ka aata met. Fab pairing!

Avocado Dark Chocolate Buckwheat Cake {gluten free}The cake was yet another experiment. A delicious one. I was fairly confident it would work, but you really never know until you slice it, nibble at a few crumbs etc. It was divine. Fudgy fudgy fudgy. Sinfully chocolaty too; a fallen chocolate cake.

Avocado Dark Chocolate Buckwheat Cake {gluten free} I substituted 50% of the fat {butter} with the mashed avocado to reduce the fat content and add some fibre, iron, niacin etc. The  Avocado Dark Chocolate Buckwheat Cake {Gluten Free} tasted even better the next day. Maybe the flavours matured. It was fudgier, the chocolate taste was deeper, and it stayed as moist as moist could be. The crumb is delicate because the only flour in here is a gluten free buckwheat flour, or ‘kuttu ka aata‘ as locally called. Handle it with care!

Avocado Dark Chocolate Buckwheat Cake {gluten free} Try this if you like. You can always use almond meal to keep it gluten free, or use whole wheat flour to keep it healthy and whole grain. It’s been a while since I’ve used plain all purpose flour, and I’m not in a hurry to do so! Hope you enjoy it as much as we did. I might skip the butter altogether next time.

Avocado Dark Chocolate Buckwheat Cake {gluten free} Well now I’m going to keep my eyes open for more avocados as I have a few sweet and savoury ideas brewing in my head. Avocados are not commercially grown in India. They do grow down south in a few private gardens as I remember seeing the beautiful fruit hanging off trees when we went on a midnight walk while attending the IFBM in August! Until then, it’ll have to be New Zealand avocados for me!

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

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