Baking | Wholewheat Apple Walnut Cheddar Thyme Hand Pies … it’s Pi{e} Day after all #wholegrain #together #healthy #pie

“The people who influence you are the people who believe in you.”
Henry Drummond

Wholewheat Apple Walnut Cheddar Thyme Hand PiesWholewheat Apple Walnut Cheddar Thyme Hand Pies … pies for a day like today that honours the humble pie. Handiwork of a genius foodie  who equated Pi Day to Pie day ….and the rest as they say is history. In taste terms these turned out to be quite delicious. I think they are a fab fit for Pie day which incidentally falls today on the 14th of March. {Read 3.14}

Wholewheat Apple Walnut Cheddar Thyme Hand Pies There was a time a couple of years ago when I never missed doing a pie for Pie Day. The whole concept had me enchanted. With a deep dislike {read  hatred} for math in school, the very concept of 22/7=3.14 being applied to mathematical problems flew over the top of my head. My poor father would break his head trying to drill some math intelligence into me. Never happened.

Wholewheat Apple Walnut Cheddar Thyme Hand Pies Then came food blogging, the Daring Bakers, and a LOT of new foodie friends. We had loads in common. We would wake up and hop into twitter from right across the globe, and break into a twitter chat! It was an obsession, and a load of good was born out of it too. It was in March one year when, much to our amazement, someone started a chain asking to make pies for Pi Day? Most of us crawled out from under the rock … it was a huge YES!

Pi Day is an American annual celebration commemorating the mathematical constant π (pi). Pi Day is observed on March 14 (or 3/14 in the month/day date format), 3, 1, and 4 are the first three significant digits of π in decimal form. In 2009, the United States House of Representatives supported the designation of Pi Day.

I’ve had some great pie baking on my blog. I credit a lot of what I’ve learnt to the Daring Bakers. Without them I wouldn’t have been half the baker I currently am. Some pies were FUN all the way like this Pie Bird & A Strawberry Pie I made after watching the film Life of Pi. I loved it!Strawberry Pie ... & a pie bird Some pie baking memories are poignant like the time there was a call for International Pie Day in honour of Jennifer Perillo. Jenifer’s Mikey loved Peanut Butter Cream Pie and she kept postponing making it for him. Then suddenly one day it was too late. I couldn’t make peanut butter cream pie as I had no peanut butter or cream cheese at home, but I made a no-bake Upside Down Mango Quark Cheesecake Pie. Upside Down Mango Quark Cheese PieSo was talking to the Ruchira yesterday and she said she was making a yummy Cheese & Bacon Pie … and the first thing that came to my mind was Pie Day. She was like huh? There’s something like Pie Day? So the mathematical equation was duly explained. Was she excited or what.  She loved the very idea, and that in turn got me going. I would do pie too, hand pies!

ThymeWhat a memorable day today was. Just the motivation I needed! No time to do grocery so I had to work with what I had on hand. Apples & thyme. Walnuts and cheddar are pantry staples, so I knew just what to make. Not one for an APF pastry, I decided to challenge myself. Would do a wholewheat version … and surprise, surprise, it worked beautifully. Crisp and light. You wouldn’t miss the normal pastry at all!

Wholewheat Apple Walnut Cheddar Thyme Hand Pies Shortcrust pastry needs delicate handling; don’t overwork it. Make sure the cut in butter is pea sized. Add just enough liquid so that it comes together comfortably, little more than just staying together than pinched. Pull it together in a ball, don’t knead the dough. The pastry gets tough. Cling wrap it into a flat disk and chill for a couple of hours. Who doesn’t like a good rest?  The pastry does too. Mine got an overnight rest so I had little work for this morning. I did the filling last night too so basically I was just down to rolling and pinching today!

Eggs & ThymeI got the eggs out for a glaze. Then decided to keep it a 100% vegetarian. Someone on FB posted a honey glaze ages ago. Unfortunately I cant remember her name, but I remember honey! I love the the goldenish brown hue it gave my pastry.  It’s a great choice if you want to keep a bake a 100% egg free. I used to do a single cream wash in the past. Honey is my new wash to go!

Wholewheat Apple Walnut Cheddar Thyme Hand Pies The flavours are beautiful too. Apples and walnuts are good old friends, cinnamon ties them together. Thyme and cheddar stirred in some magic. What a pleasing bite these had. Sweet little hand pies, just perfect for Pie Day. Despite being tired to bits with renovation on at home, a little nudge from a friends is all it took. It’s difficult to be optimistic all day, every day; and sometimes we need a little nudge to get on track! That is the power of being #together!

Wholewheat Apple Walnut Cheddar Thyme Hand Pies So I manged to bake pie to mark the day. Something else good also happened today. I walked 10,000 steps with the GOQii fitness band. What’s that you might ask? More about that on my next post!

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Baking | Dark Chocolate & Walnut Wholewheat Cake … a nostalgic favourite with jaggery & ‘top of the milk cream’ or ‘malai’

“Food is a gift and should be treated reverentially,
romanced and ritualized and seasoned with memory”
Chris Bohialian

Dark Chocolate & Walnut Wholewheat CakeDark Chocolate & Walnut Wholewheat Cake … a nostalgic favourite with ‘top of the milk cream’ or ‘malai’. It brings back memories of  the quintessential ‘malai’ or ‘top of the milk cream’ cakes from yesteryear. Decades ago, every Indian household use to boil milk, collect the top of the milk cream, use some as is and  make sweet butter of the rest. The more adventurous ones used to bake a delicious homey comforting cake with ‘malai’. This is my rendition of those good old days!Dark Chocolate & Walnut Wholewheat Cake & Coffee I am possibly among the few who still boil milk everyday, collect the ‘top of the milk cream’ or ‘malai’ and religiously make sweet butter at home. Some butter finds itself being clarified into ghee, while some cream escapes into cakes like these. I first made this cake for Saffola Fit Foodie, and loved the way it turned out.Dark Chocolate & Walnut Wholewheat Cake 3Just a few days back, the very large hearted Cookaroo shared some fabulous Danish cocoa powder with me. How generous can generous be, but she is! So is the very sweet Amrita who gave the boxes of cocoa to her! One look at my stash, and it was time to bake. I did the Dark Chocolate & Walnut Wholewheat Cake first, this time using gur {jaggery} instead of sugar, and adding walnuts too. {Gur/jaggery is a type of unrefined, solid brown sugar made from boiling sugar cane juice until dry. It has deep, earthy undertones}.

Wholewheat & Oat Cocoa Chocolate Chippers I also experimented with some cookies, wholegrain and oats, and hopefully they will see light of day on the blog soon. I know the poor blog is being neglected, but believe you me, it is just too cold up here in the North to do anything. Hopefully this too shall pass, the weather will become a little bearable and I shall begin typing sweet nothings again! Baking @ PABThat’s not to say I am not baking. I am. Loads!

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Desserts in Glasses| Dark Chocolate Oat & Walnut Pudding {eggless} & a Cranberry Cocktail Fruit Jelly…

“I am starting to think that maybe memories are like this dessert. I eat it, and it becomes a part of me, whether I remember it later or not.”
Erica Bauermeister

Dark Chocolate Oat & Walnut Pudding Dark Chocolate Oat & Walnut Pudding {eggless} … with the festive season well underway, it’s always the more the merrier when it comes to desserts. Leave it to me, and I would pretty much try and squeeze and recreate every dessert to fit into wine glasses, or any glasses for that matter. There is something quite ethereal and fun about it. Convenient and quick too!

Desserts in glassesThis is what the year is probably going to be like. Quick recipes. Fun too. Hopefully will get a handle on the techs behind the camera. The healthy, or rather healthier twist is also going to rule. Feels like a lot more chocolate through winter, and then loads of summer fruit in the hot months. So much to look forward to.Nutcracker 1 800I am a huge believer in individually portioned desserts, preferably in glasses. It’s fun to layer in them, fun to see the visual delight they offer and fun to see kids faces light up while holding a stem glass. That I also play around with different sizes and kinds of glasses is a personal choice. I need to break the monotony of life, of setting, of serving and of course of taking photographs.

Cosmo chocolate puddingSo this is a recipe I recently did for Cosmopolitan India. The criteria was interesting … an original recipe, easy to cook, shouldn’t take longer than 20-30 minutes to put together and most importantly, it should boast ingredients with ‘beauty benefits’. Create anything you like as long as it will do the skin some good. OatsI have been working a LOT with oats of late, especially with my association with Fit Foodie. Well oats are good for the skin too, as a scrub, as a face pack, and of course ‘in a dish to eat’!! Chocolate and honey fitted right in! Just my kind of recipe, and one that went well with the theme!Dark Chocolate Oat & Walnut Pudding

So Good for You!
Oats are big on anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that battle skin probs, and they work as a natural moisturizer. Dark chocolate repairs dry skin, shields against UV rays, erases fine lines and wrinkles, adds shine to locks, and promotes hair growth!

I did another interesting dessert in a glass for a magazine I write for. It was a Cranberry Cocktail Fruit Jelly, which appeared in Abraxas NU this December. The recipe is festive, it’s fun and it’s make ahead! See…
Cranberry Tropical Fruit Jelly Page_2On another note, I was thrilled to be featured in the VOGUE India, Food & Drink Guide 2015 … doing what I like to do best! The guide showcased ‘food bloggers who are excellent photographers’. Yours truly found mention there!

cats

Vogue India, Food Guide 2015

Cheers to the new year. What is your favourite ‘dessert in a glass’ OR favourite way to serve dessert?

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