Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Baba-au-Rhum (egg less) | #BreadBakers


The evening is smiling in the brightest and sparkling shades. It is beautiful and transient like the life itself. Soon, it will begin to wear the shades of night. The night will end in the dazzling hues of morning promising another bright day ahead.


From late autumn to winters, we get to see the beautiful winter line once the Sun is down. The hues and colours of the sky are mesmerizing. Sometimes there are a million stars in the sky along with bright streaks and the symphony of shades and hues is just enchanting.



This month, our breadbakers group decided to bake yeasted cakes.
We baked Baba-au-rhum.



Baba-au-Rhum is a rich, flavourful yeasted cake studded with candied citrus peels and black currants and baked in a bundt form, soaked in hot rum syrup and coated with warmed apricot preserve.
In the eighteenth century, an exiled king of Poland soaked a dried cake in an alcoholic drink and thus Baba-au-Rhum originated. 

Now, a famous French yeasted cake, Baba-au-Rhum has complex flavours and is also served with whipped cream, and topped with chopped fruits.



Baba -au-Rhum (Eggless)


Ingredients (Dough)

  • 1 2/3 cup All-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon Salt 
  • 5 tablespoons Butter (softened)
  • 1/3 cup Blackcurrants
  • 1 tablespoon Dark Rum
  •  ½ cup Warm milk
  • 2 tablespoons Sugar 
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Yeast
  • 1 tablespoon Candied orange peels (chopped fine)
  • 1 tablespoon Candied Lemon peels (chopped fine)
  • ¼ cup Apricot preserve
  • 1 tablespoon Water 
  • ½ cup Rum syrup (recipe below)

 Filling (optional)

  • 1 cup Heavy Cream 
  • ¼ cup Castor Sugar 
  • ½ cup Strawberries (sliced)

Rum Syrup

  • ½ cup Sugar 
  • 1/3 cup Dark Rum
  • ½ teaspoon Vanilla extract


Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Add softened butter and mix with hands until well incorporated. Keep aside.
  2. In another bowl. Soak black currants in rum.
  3. Heat milk in a saucepan. Add sugar. Stir to dissolve. Add yeast. Stir. Cover and keep for 10 minutes.
  4. Add this yeasted milk in the bowl that has flour.  Stir with a ladle to get a very smooth and soft dough. This is a no-knead dough. Keep mixing with the ladle till you get a smooth dough.
  5. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and keep in a dry warm place for 1/2 an hour
  6. In the meantime, generously grease one 5 cup bundt pan with butter. Be sure to coat every crevice of the pan. Or, use a tube pan and grease it with butter.
  7. Drain the currants.
  8. Stir the risen dough and fold in black currants and chopped citrus peels.
  9. Spoon the dough into the prepared pan.
  10. Cover and keep in a warm place for 1 ½  to 2 hours or until double.
  11. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes till golden or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  12. Let the cake rest in the pan for 10 minutes before taking out on the cooling rack.
  13. In the meantime, prepare rum syrup.
  14. Take sugar and water in a saucepan and boil till sugar dissolves. Bring it to a rolling boil and turn off the heat.
  15. Take the mixture in a glass jar. Add rum and vanilla extract. Keep aside.
  16. With a spoon, gently pour hot syrup over the cake. Pour half syrup and let the cake absorb before pouring the remaining syrup.
  17. Mix 1/4  cup apricot preserves with 1 tablespoon water and stir over medium heat till slightly runny.
  18. Brush over the cake, and let it trickle down the edges.
  19. Whip the cream till light and fluffy. Stir in caster sugar and whip till peaks form.
  20. To serve, slice the baba, serve with whipped cream and strawberries.

My Tip:

The dough will take longer to rise. Let it rise until double. Add more citrus peels for a greater flavour. You may add golden raisins also.

Linking to BreadBakers-

BreadBakers
#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme.

Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.
This month, the Bread Bakers are making yeasted cakes, a theme chosen by Archana of The Mad Scientist's Kitchen

Here are everyone's yeasted cakes:

·  Almond Stollen from Baking Sense
·  Baba-au-Rhum from Ambrosia
·  Chocolate Babka from Sneha's Recipes
·  Cranberry Lardy Cake from Food Lust People Love
·  Drozdzowe from A Day in the Life on the Farm
·  Hartford Election Cake from All That's Left are the Crumbs
·  Orange Yeast Cake from Cooking with Renu
·  Yeasted Lemon Cake from Gayathri's Cookspot
·  Yeasted Orange Cake from The Mad Scientist Kitchen
·  Yeasted Pound Cake from Karen's Kitchen Stories
·  Yeasted Transylvanian Cinnamon Sugar Cake from Sizzling Tastebuds




Monday, 5 November 2018

Akhrot Khajoor Burfi | Walnut Date Fudge (Sugarfree and Vegan)



Autumn is melting into winter. A shift of seasons is perceptible in everything.  Morning mists, winter flowers, chilly winds, and the beautiful winter line are all harbingers of the cold weather.


Yesterday, there was a great commotion in the Golden Trumpet tree. Birds kept swooping in and out of its flower-laden branches. There must be a cat, or a mongoose or a snake or an owl we presumed. The commotion became louder as more birds joined in.  Soon, we spotted a jungle owlet hidden in the clump of leaves.


Diwali is around the corner and preparations are in full swing. Daughter is soaking clay diyas in water. These will be kept in the Sun to dry. She will then prepare wicks with cotton. On Diwali, oil will be filled in the lamps and the lamps will be lit and arranged in a pattern. Kids love to participate in the celebrations and this also involves them and helps them to learn about their culture.


The last batch of sugar-free Diwali sweets is being prepared. Beautiful nutty aroma wafts through as walnuts are being toasted in the oven. Dates have been washed, pitted and chopped fine. We are preparing Walnut Date Burfi.
Walnuts provide healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Walnuts are rich in antioxidants. Walnuts are good for the brain and support healthy aging. Walnuts are an exceptionally nutritious nut. Dates are an excellent natural sweetener and full of goodness. Roasted walnuts give this burfi a great taste. The burfi makes a guilt-free festive sweet and dessert.



Akhrot Khajoor Burfi |Walnut Date Fudge (Sugarfree and Vegan)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dates
  • ¾ cup walnut kernels
  • 1 tablespoon ghee or coconut oil (vegan version)

Instructions

  1. Take one 7x7 inch square cake pan. Line it with parchment paper. Ensure that the parchment paper extends over the sides. Grease the parchment paper.
  2. Wash the dates and soak in hot water for 5 minutes. Remove the seeds. Chop into small pieces.
  3. Toast the walnut kernels in the oven. Set the temperature to 150 degrees C and set the timer to 10 minutes. Or, toast them in a thick bottom steel wok. Walnuts should turn fragrant and change colour slightly.
  4. Chop toasted walnuts into small pieces.
  5. Take ghee/coconut oil in a nonstick pan or a thick bottom steel wok. Add dates. Cook on low flame.
  6. The dates will begin to soften. Mash them with a ladle and cook till the colour becomes dark and mixture collects in the center as one ball.
  7. Add chopped walnuts and mix till evenly distributed.
  8. Empty the mixture into the prepared pan and spread evenly.
  9. Keep to cool. Transfer to the refrigerator and keep for 3-4 hours. It will set.
  10. Cut into square slices with a sharp knife. Store in an airtight container.





Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Eggless Thandai Cake




We are heading towards winters. Mornings are breezy and cold. The top of the highest hills turns golden as the first rays of the Sun fall on the trees. The leaves glisten and turn pearl green. Lower hill is dark and cold. Some Langoors are huddled together in the trees.


Soon, the Sun comes up and spreads the mellow light and warmth in every nook and corner. The branches of the trees look like arms all spread out wide and holding the beauty, the colors and scents of the forest bestowed upon by the Autumn.


Wildflowers of every hue dot the landscape. Grasshoppers of every size hop around and flourish foraging on the rich juicy foliage.


 Butterflies abound. This is the best time of the year.


Having enjoyed the delicious Sun and having finished the routine chores, we baked a cake in the evening.  The cake has all the Indian flavours.  It has thandai powder, cardamom, and rose petals. A lot of chopped pistachios and unrefined cane sugar. To up the health quotient, we added powdered Oats.


 Rose petals are from our garden. We shade dried the petals for the cake.
The cake was sliced the next day. Flavours developed fully and it moist juicy and delicious. A perfect accompaniment to evening tea.


Thandai Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup powdered oats
  • 1 cup unrefined cane sugar
  • 1 cup thick curd
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup oil
  • 4 green cardamoms (seeds powdered)
  • ¼ cup thandai powder
  • ¼ cup chopped pistachios
  • ¼ cup dried rose petals
  • ¼ cup slivered pistachios


Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Grease and line one 8 inch round cake pan.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flours and cane sugar.
  3. In another large bowl, beat curd until smooth. Add milk, thandai powder, and cardamom powder. Beat well.
  4. Now add baking powder and baking soda. Mix and leave for 2-3 minutes. It will begin to turn frothy.
  5. Add oil. Mix well.
  6. Now add dry ingredients. Mix until well incorporated.
  7. Fold in chopped pistachios.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  9. Add dried rose petals and slivered pistachios.
  10. Bake at 200 C degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 175 degrees C and bake for another 35-40 minutes or until the top turns brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  11. Remove from the oven after 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool in the rack. Slice the next day.





Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Kaak (Beirut Street Bread) | #BreadBakers



The colours of autumn are in full splendor. The warmth of the Sun, the cool breeze is all very mesmerizing, soothing and seeping through every pore and giving extreme ecstasy.  Nature is wearing shades of gold.


 There are chrysanthemums


There are marigolds


Yellow roses


And  yellow Jasmina, all clad in gold



There are pinks too and also hues of purple.



Fuschia dazzles against the blue sky.


Some daffodils are in bloom in the far end of the field.
We walked through the narrow trail in the oak forest.


We passed by a huge walnut tree. Among the dead leaves and thick grass, we found a walnut. It created excitement and children got into a competition to collect walnuts. Kids looked behind the clump of ferns, under the foliage, on the fields and in very bush. The Sun was pale and beginning to disappear behind Oak ridge. In the midst of clamour and clatter of cicadas and crickets and checkered sun, kids collected almost a dozen walnuts.
With the red nose and cold cheeks, the kids came back home happy and excited.




An early dinner of Kaak bread and soup was gratifying.



We loved the chewy Kaak super soft at the center.
Kaak is the Arabic word for cake. Kaak is also the name for a kind of flat bread in countries like Palestine, Syria, and Jordan. The bread has a hole in the middle and it is topped with sesame seeds.



In Lebanon, Kaak is a popular street bread. It has a   hole in it but the hole is off-center and the bread looks like a handbag. It is also called the handbag or the purse bread. It is covered with sesame seeds. Kaak is crispy on the outside and soft and a bit chewy when eating. It is sold through cart vendors in Beirut. It is a popular street food and an ideal snack on the go and is generally eaten with Za’atar or a local cheese spread.

Shaping Kaak is really interesting.



Kaak (Beirut Street Bread)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons Himalayan pink salt
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • ½ - ¾ cup warm water
  • Milk wash  (boil 1/4 cup milk with 2 teaspoons sugar for 2 minutes. Add 1 tb butter and a pich of salt)
  • ¼ cup white sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. Whisk together first three ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. In another bowl, add sugar to milk and stir to dissolve. Add yeast. Stir, cover and keep for 10 minutes.
  3. Add water oil to milk mixture. You may start with ¼ cup water and add remaining water while kneading.
  4. Pour the liquid mixture to flour mix.
  5. Stir to get a shaggy dough.  Now knead by hands on a lightly floured counter for around 8-10 minutes or until you get a very smooth and elastic dough.
  6. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl. Turn around once so that it is evenly coated with oil.
  7. Cover and keep for 45-60 minutes or until double.
  8. Deflate the puffy dough. At this point, and leave it to rise for a second rise for about 30-45 minutes or proceed to shape the dough.
  9. For shaping the dough, roll the dough into a ball. Flatten the ball and with a bench scraper, cut into 4 pieces (to get four large Kaak) and divide further into 8 pieces (to get eight small Kaak)
  10. Roll out each piece into a ball.  With the help of a rolling pin, roll out into a disc of about 4 inches in diameter. Use a cookie cutter or the cap of a bottle to make a hole and create the handle of a purse. You may also roll out dough into a thick log and wrap thinner edges around to get handles of a purse. I followed the first method.
  11. Place the shaped dough carefully in a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Keep some space between the “purses”. I could place 6 at a time in my baking tray.
  12. Cover with a kitchen towel and leave to rise for 30 -35 minutes or until visibly puffy.
  13. Preheat oven at 220 degrees C.
  14. Brush the prepared loaves with milk wash. Sprinkle sesame seeds.
  15. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden.


 Linking to Bread Bakers.
#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

Our host for the event Bread Bakers this month, Karen, chose to bake Middle Eastern Breads. Karen is the Bread Queen for me. I am in awe of her baking skills and her blog Karen’s Kitchen Stories is my treasure house for breads. Since she is the host this month, I Chose to bake Kaak from her blog. She calls herself "a bread geek" and if you love baking breads, you'll fall in love with her blog.

You'll love the variety of Middle Eastern breads baked by other members.

·  Baked Pita Bread from A Day in the Life on the Farm
·  Eggless Challah Bread from Cook with Renu
·  Fatayer Jebneh (Arabic Cheese Pie) from Food Lust People Love
·  Garlic Butter Glazed Talami Bread from All That's Left Are The Crumbs
·  Jerusalem Bagels from Karen's Kitchen Stories
·  Kaak from Ambrosia
·  Kubaneh from Gayaythri's Cook Spot
·  Laffa from Sizzling Tastebuds 
·  Manakeesh from Mayuri's Jikoni
·  Maneesh from The Mad Scientist's Kitchen
·  Nan-e_Barbari from Anybody Can Bake
·  Omani Maldouf Date Bread from The Schizo Chef
·  Tahinli Ekmek | Turkish Tahini Bread from Bread and Dreams




If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to [email protected]

 


Saturday, 22 September 2018

Golden Truffles - No Bake No Cook Recipe




September mornings are bright and breezy. Cloudless skies, nippy mornings and chilly evenings, unexpectedly warm days and so much brightness of autumnal colours all around. There is an opera of birdsongs in the air and trees are lush and fields are a thick carpet of green.


Yesterday morning we saw a dove sunning herself.


Later in the day, two Brahminy Starlings were atop a terrace for a very long time seemingly enjoying the warmth of the Sun.  

Weather is unpredictable in the hills. We thought we were already in Autumn. Today, we woke up to a dark cloudy morning and roaring clouds. It rained heavily and once again, we had slush, puddles, and pools all around. Later, it cleared up and we had a wonderful sunny day.


Good weather also calls for good comfort food. We had whole wheat batter bread with a veggie. Later we had truffles made with desiccated coconut. We made the truffles keeping in mind our taste preferences.


This is a recipe born out of the craving to have something sweet after meals. It had to be guilt free. The truffles have desiccated coconut, ground oats, fresh, milky walnuts from the hills, coconut oil, honey, and turmeric. A drizzle of melted white chocolate for the glam quotient. I named them Golden Truffles.

Golden Truffles


Ingredients

  • 1 ¼  cup desiccated Coconut
  • ¼ cup powdered oats
  • ½  cup Honey
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric powder
  • ½  cup Walnut kernels chopped fine
  • 1 tablespoon  + ¼  tsp Coconut oil
  • 1 pinch Salt
  • 1 small slab of white chocolate

Instructions

  1. In a deep bowl take desiccated coconut and oats. Add turmeric powder, walnuts, and salt. Mix well
  2. Add honey and coconut oil. Mix well with hands. The mixture should come together after mixing.
  3. Pinch a small portion of the mixture. Press it and shape truffles.
  4. Keep in the refrigerator.
  5. Melt white chocolate in a double boiler. Add coconut oil to make it a little runny.
  6. Drizzle it over the truffles.

My Tip:
Adjust the quantity of honey to bind the truffles. If the mixture is too sticky, add more desiccated coconut. If the mixture is sandy, not coming together, add more honey and coconut oil.
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