Celebrations galore! New Years Eve, happy birthdays of niece and nephew, kids back from college for winter break and me just excited for the new year to begin on the right note! Anything good or auspicious is always invited by making something sweet! So here I share Date and Toffee pudding as a harbinger for peace, calmness and healthy new year that also lets you achieve your personal goals in life!
The chance to taste this exquisite pudding was at Rasika over anniversary celebrations! It was warm, sweet, with a bit of caramel and fruits, topped with ice cream! More interestingly it had the dates as a base, which made it even more delicious for me. Dates are something I enjoy,(pun intended)! The iron and fibre in dates pack some powerful nutrients in a colorful warm dry fruit, and hence are often used by soldiers on the front to get their instant shot of energy,
I enjoyed learning how to make caramel syrup, as had no clue about it earlier, and the brown liquid reminds me of rolling melted gold over a brown date pudding. I personally preferred this without the ice cream but with some fruits in it. Best would be to serve it with the ice cream on the side, so you can pick and choose what you want to taste.
The shape at the restaurant was simple muffin shape, however I wanted to make it more fancier, as well as try something new in the baking shape. Recently I came across this ice cream corn kind of moulds, which to a garden lover like me looked more like small flower pots! The fruits arranged in the center made it a more real flower pot. The recipe has been adjusted for making it egg less.
The taste is exquisite, so is the shape making this Date and Toffee pudding, one of a kind! With the sweetness of dates, gold of caramel, colors of fruits and coolness of ice cream, I wish all of you a very Happy New Year and a spectacular 2018!
Date and Toffee Pudding
A warm pudding with caramel syrup, fresh fruits and ice cream
Finely chop the dates in a grinder till it becomes a round ball.
Add baking soda and warm water and let it rest for 20 minutes.
Mix the all purpose flour, salt, and baking powder in a deep bowl.
With a whisk blade, fluff the butter for 5 minutes, till the butter is 3 shades lighter. Add 1/2 cup of brown sugar and mix in for a minute.
Pre heat the oven for 375 degrees at convection oven or 350 degrees regular oven.
Combine the soaked dates, butter sugar and flour mixed with all ingredients.Add apple sauce and water and blend well everything into a batter for about 4 minutes.
Great the muffin moulds or cone moulds thoroughly with ghee or butter. Fill the batter
If using a cone mould, layer the filled cups tray with the indent tray to make a cone shape
Bake on the second rack for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes,
Cover slightly so that warm air can escape.
Boil heavy cream, 1 stick of butter and 1/2 cup of sugar to make the toffee syrup.
Cool the toffee syrup for 5-7 minutes.
Prick with a fork all over the date pudding. Then pour 2-3 tbsp toffee syrup over each of them.
Soak the date pudding in the toffee syrup well, ensuring that they are well coated and let them cool for half an hour at the least.
Serving the Date and Toffee Pudding
When serving, microwave each pudding for about 30 seconds. Arrange the fruit/berries in the centre. Scoop an ice cream of your choice, and then either layer it on the top of pudding, or by the side.Serve immediately.
If the toffee syrup becomes thick, put to warm on low heat, so it is easily absorbed by the pudding.
Serving ice cream on the side, will avoid it from melting fast.
Check if the date and toffee pudding is properly baked by sticking a toothpick/fork in the middle.
A new shape for a pudding for the new year! if the pudding mix does not drop well, add another tbsp of water. Softness of the pudding will depend on how well the butter has been fluffed.
Ringing the new year 2018 with this warm fuzzy Date and Toffee Pudding !! The perfect warmth,, texture softness, and caramel sweetness, surrounded by the colorful berries and coated with an ice cream of your choice! A combination of hot and cold, in this delicious dessert. The sweetness of dates combined with the toffee syrup makes this pudding a one of kind and will certainly make your family and guests feel on top of the world! Here's to more sweet recipes in 2018!
Sandesh Chocolate Grape was my creation for a milestone birthday that we just had celebrations for! As a young kid, memories of Sandesh made by my mother linger in my mind even now, and Sandesh is perhaps the first dessert that I really was fond of! Even more than Rasgulla or Rasmalai, which also use the same paneer base. My mother used to put orange segments in it, but I decided to use red grapes, as I am more fond of grapes than oranges. Red grapes would go well with the fall weather and dark chocolate flavor is what I thought. I have a deep weakness for dark chocolates and in particular Godiva Dark Chocolates. Godiva has various levels of cocoa but decided to go for safer 50% dark level then the 75% , as I was going to offer the Sandesh Chocolates Grape to guests. Making this was a very last minute decision. I had a Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt flavor in my house, which was used and in my opinion the sea salt further enhanced the flavor of Sandesh.
On reading the blog of Cosmpolitan Curry Mania, I got to know a lot about the various ways Sandesh is made and the types of shondesh/sandesh available in West Bengal. The way I made was more of the Kachha Gola (raw uncooked sandesh), in which , the kneading of the sandesh is the key to the softness and texture of the desert. This has a different texture than the one which is mixed with Khoya and cooked on a flame. It is interesting to note that people in Bengal have even explored with flavors like olive oil too in making Sandesh!
Reading this, made me even more happy with my creation of Sandesh Chocolate Grape which hints at flavors of Red Grapes, Paneer, and Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt. And the sugar level in this variation has been purposely kept at low levels, to feel the dark taste of chocolate.
The texture of the Sandesh Chocolate Grape was smooth, and the topping of semi sweet mint chip chocolates gave it a colorful and tasty appeal. The grape filling was well appreciated with the chocolate flavor. This dessert was definitely the preferred dessert of the evening. What a great way to celebrate a milestone, with a favorite dessert in a favorite chocolate flavor with sea salt! A five star dessert for me for sure! And I am positive, once you try this super easy, super quick dessert, you will be making many new and exciting flavors in Sandesh. Do send me a sandesh (message) with a newer version that you created by submitting a recipe on this blog!
Sandesh Chocolate Grape
Chocolate Sandesh from Chocolate Bar and Fruits
The chhena or paneer should be freshly made. If you need instructions on how to make fresh panner from milk, please read my recipe on Rasgoola for detailed process.
Once the chhena is cooled, knead for 8-10 minutes using the palm of your hand. Continue kneading till all the paneer forms into a ball, and the grainy look of chhena turns into a smooth look.
Melt 3 squares of the Godiva Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Bar in microwave for 40 seconds. Stir the squares to liquid form and immediately pour 2 tsp of melted chocolate into the paneer.
Add sugar and continue to knead for 4-5 minutes. The dark chocolate will slowly spread and change the color from white to completely brown. If you see white portions then continue to knead some more.
Divide the paneer into 24 parts. Roll each part into round ball, and then flatten with your fingers.
Put 2 pieces of sliced grapes on the flattened part and then again make a round ball.
Give it an elongated shape by pinching with all your fingers at the top like a modak shape.
Garnish it with a mint chocolate chip and chill for 3-4 hours.
Enjoy chilled , fruity Sandesh in Chocolate flavor!
Sandesh Chocolate Grape cut into half to get the inside view. The images were taken at different light environment, hence the change in the colors of the Sandesh
Fresh paneer that has some liquid in it still is the best consistency, as it will give it a good smoothness to the texture. Hence I do not hang the paneer or put weight while making the paneer.
Chocolate powder can be also used, as mentioned in another recipe https://cookingbyinstinct.com/chocolate-sandesh-cheese-fudge/
Making use of things available at hand and creating something new out it, is truly inspiring and instinctive! That is when the best satisfaction comes to a passionate foodie! Get your instincts to guide you as you make a flavor of your choice!
Its celebration time with chilled, soft, smooth, bittersweet dark chocolate flavored grape sandesh! Everyone was curious as to what is this new dessert, as the shape was different, color was different, and the taste was also very different. This dessert is healthy, as cottage cheese is healthy, not too sweet, and good for the mind and soul as well because of its chocolate flavor. The grape filling gives a nice crunch as well as sweet tangy taste in between the chocolate flavored cottage cheese.. Something made in a jiffy and the end result was a winner in the evening dinner! This was definitely the icing on the cake in my view! And I am sure your guests will also remember this modern flavor fruit filled Sandesh Chocolate Grape!!
Chikoo Ice Cream with Cinnamon Rose Mintchip is made from a highly popular Asian and Mexican fruit. “Chikoo” is also a pet name for young kids, in many Gujarati households, including mine! The fruit is also known as sapodilla or zapota or sapota. A berry like fruit with dark black almond shaped seeds. Its skin is rough brown and the ripened flesh has a nice brown color. It is known for its sweetness and malty flavor, and this has been a favorite fruit of mine. The chance of getting to eat fresh chikoo that is nicely ripened is very slim in US. Even if I get some fresh chikoos, they do not ripen well. So in the twenty-five years that we left India, eating this favorite fruit has been a rare opportunity. Frozen chikoo slices have a sourness and so does the pulp of chikoo, with its dose of preservatives.
Casual wandering around a newly opened a grocery store , I spotted a Chikoo Pulp can, and was immediately excited to use that. If nothing else, I can have the popular chikoo milkshakes which have a flavor of the malted milkshakes, the older cousins of the current milkshakes. I always liked the grainy texture in this fruit which only recently I realized gave it a malted taste.
Now came the part of trying this in an ice cream. Naturals brand in Mumbai and many other local ice cream shops across Gujarat have this chikoo ice cream readily available, but they also have a dense taste of chikoo in it. I have primarily used only fresh fruits in my ice cream so this was a bit of challenge for me as to how reduce the taste of preservative in the ice cream? Not afraid to experiment, I let my creativity guide me. I decided to throw in some cinnamon to bring some fragrant sweetness, added rose essence for hiding the sourness on account of preservatives, and gave it the quintessential topping of chocolate mint chips to give it a texture and appeal similar to the popular ice creams! Not knowing how the combination is going to turn, I eagerly waited for the ice cream maker to churn and for the clock to turn full twenty four hours, for me to dig in a bite of my very own concoction!
I liked the pale pink color ice cream in which the brown mint chips were sticking out their sunny heads! The rose essence also aligned well with pink color of the ice cream. The freshness and cooling feeling of rose fragrance went well with the cinnamon sweetness . As you eat the ice cream, the first flavor that hits you is the rose essence, then you are introduced to the cinnamon flavor and finally you are left with the hint of the chikoo flavor. And if this is not exciting enough add, some toasted coconut chips were great as extra toppings!. You will probably say, this was worth my time and effort for being able to relish so many different flavors in a scoop of my favorite colored ice cream!
Chikoo Ice Cream with Cinnamon Rose Mintchip became a topic of conversation in a couple of different groups of parties, with this flavor being more popular amongst the westerners, as it was definitely a fruit that they were not aware of, but still appreciated the flavor and texture!
Chikoo Cinnamon Rose MintChip Ice Cream
Chikoo ice cream from Chikoo pulp
Ensure that the ice cream container is well frozen for 24-48 hours before using it. Mix in all the ingredients and churn the ice cream for 25 minutes, till it all forms a lump.
Transfer the mixed ice cream base to a freezer container and let it set for at least 24 hours.
Serve in a cone or a cup and top it with few roasted coconut flakes or any other favorite topping of your choice.
Keep the whole milk and heavy cream well chilled before using it, which will give it a great consistency while churning it.
Taste for sweetness halfway through churning to make any necessary modifications.
Let your instincts guide you in modifying this flavor as it truly as no original flavor !
A totally exotic creation with a hint of boldness that people with a penchant for trying new flavors will certainly like it! For folks in India and Asian countries this will be flavor close to home, with its use of cinnamon, rose and chikoo. And for those who do not like chikoo that much, will not be too disappointed with so many other flavors to satisfy their taste buds. Give it a shot and you might just discover something interesting in this Chikoo Cinnamon Rose MintChip Ice Cream!!
Pineapple Kulfi is the recipe for this week, in sync with a mug my daughter got as an appreciation for the work she accomplished for a conference, which was engraved as ” if you were to be a fruit, you would be a fine-apple” and I cannot agree more! Pineapple is a tropical fruit that I have always liked, wether it be juice, or just slices, or as pineapple cheese sandwich or my favorite flavor of fresh pineapple cake! So trying this flavor in kulfi would not be very surprising at all in my kitchen.:)
The effort was to have as much of pineapple displayed as possible, but could succeed only if when cutting the kulfi into pieces while serving. I tried to use the cupcake moulds besides the normal kulfi moulds, in order to display the pineapple rings more prominently, as part of the reason I like pineapple, is because of the thick circular slices. If pineapple is not a flavor you like, try the earlier recipe of Strawberry Kulfi Ice Cream.
Just remember to have a bucket of patience, as once you have that, making kulfi is a no brainer, specially when you cook in a non-stick pan. Watch a couple of TV shows while the milk evaporates to the right consistency and then just mix some fresh pieces and chill for 15 hours or so pineapple kulfi is ready!
Today being Ugadi and Gudi Padwa, a sweet recipe was the ideal way to celebrate and wish everyone a Happy New Year to all! The temperatures are getting warmer soon, and a nice chunk of fresh pineapple in the kulfi would be akin to sunny, sweet and juicy aspect of the traditional delicious kulfi. Hope all have a sunny, sweet and fruitful 2074 by Indian Calendar system!
Grease well a deep non stick pan with ghee at the base as well as on the sides thoroughly.
Add the milk and sugar and stir on a medium flame till the sugar dissolves completely.
Reduce the flame to low medium and let the milk boil.
Once the milk boils , reduce it to low flame and let it simmer. till about 1/2 the original quality is left.
Chop four pineapple slices into a small pieces and add to the milk to boil. Add also al 1/3 of the pineapple juice to the boiling milk also.
Simmer the milk till the quantity reaches about a third of the original quantity.
Remove from flame, add three more slices of pineapple chopped into small pieces.
Warm a tbsp of milk and dissolve saffron into the kulfi mix. Add essence and cardamom and mix thoroughly.
Allow the pineapple kulfi mix to cool completely for about an hour and a half.
Fill the ice cream or popsicle moulds. adding half ring of remaining pineapple and chill for 12 hours minimum.
Alternatively, use muffin or cupcake baking tray, fill the moulds with the Pineapple Kulfi mix and layer ring pieces of pineapple on the top and freeze for 12 hours.
Before serving, run the moulds under warm water and release the pineapple kulfi from the mould .
Cut it into pieces if serving in a bowl, that way, its easy to eat as well as it displays the fresh pineapple in it.
Using Whole mIlk and preferably organic milk , will give a rich taste and texture to the homemade Pineapple Kulfi.
Use a over boil preventing plate, will help the milk in simmering without one having to watch over it continuously, as also using a non stick pan is a must for an easy kulfi making process.
If the milk has evaporated to the right consistency level, then the texture of the Pineapple Kulfi will be just right! The whole process of making kulfi is a test of patience and if one is patient, the rewards is definitely worth it! The texture of the pineapple kulfi was just right along with its sweetness and I specially liked the slightly tangy taste to the mix from the pineapple juice as well as dissolved pineapple. The fresh pineapple added last, retains its crunchiness and juiciness, which adds an extra depth to the traditional kulfi. I quite like this combination as it is something new and fun in the kulfi flavor so Pineapple Kulfi was definitely sunny and sweet for me!
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