Carrot Coconut Laddu

I recall to share with you the yummiest carrot desert ever i.e. Gajorer Halua or Carrot Halwa. Now, this is time to go the extra mile from where we left and make laddoos out of carrot-coconut blend. Perfectly round, super smooth and generously sweet, Gajar Naryal balls are sheer treat and irresistible too. Indeed winter with carrots is a bliss. Happy Valentines day.

Carrot Coconut Laddu

Carrot Coconut Laddu

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Rash Bora (Urad dal fritters in Sweet Syrup) – Makar Sankranti Recipe

Happy Makar Sankranti to all my readers.

Winter is here in its fullest. It is the time of the year to celebrate the holy occasion of Makar Sankranti and Poush Parbon. The signature dishes during this harvest festival are mainly prepared with rice, date palm jaggery and coconut. However today I am here with a different recipe, named Rash Bora, which is also common in Bengali households during this time. Although the ‘Rash’ or syrup is usually made with date palm jaggery (Khejurer gur/Notun gur), here I have used sugar. ‘Boras’ or vadas are nothing but the urad dal fritters.

If you have not yet decided what to make in this Poush Parbon, you can go for this easy and simple recipe 🙂

Earlier posts about Makar Sankranti Recipes :

Rash Bora (Urad dal fritters in Sweet Syrup)

Rash Bora (Urad dal fritters in Sweet Syrup)

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Khirer Singara or Mawa Samosa : Holi Special

Spring can be felt in the air with the trees donning luminous colours, looking orange and yellow and grey. The Sun is soft, while the wind blows slowly and keeps whistling. Then comes the festival of holi when India becomes jubilant with extravagant colours. However the festival already has been started in Bengal, we celebrate Holi a day prior  which is known as ‘Dol Yatra’.

Sweets are synonymous with holi and I found ‘Gujiya’ is made rampantly in north Indian household during holi. Here I thought a little, stirred my creativity and came up with this Mawa samosa, which in fact is pretty close to Gujiya. However, it certainly punches the surprise as samosa is known to be the savoury delicacy. The surprise soon transforms into a pure pleasure and satisfies the sweet teeth to fullest.

Khirer Singara (Mawa Samosa)

Khirer Singara (Mawa Samosa)

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Gurher Payes or Rice Pudding with Date Palm Jaggery

Winter spent waste for Bengalis if Khejur Gurh (Date Palm jaggery) is missing from the sweets during this period. These days Kolkata has really a short winter and even a shorter supply of the Khejur Gurh. Still one can find shops full of sweets made with date palm jaggery such as Gurher Rasogolla and various Gurher Shondesh over the winter months. They have a very different and distinct flavour from the usual sugar sweets. Although today my recipe is not about sweets, still it has a common link in the form of Khejur Gurh. Rice pudding or Payes, as called in Bengali, is a very common dessert throughout India and known as Kheer over north and Payesam down south. Ideally it is prepared with milk, rice and sugar where the twist I gave to this recipe is by replacing sugar with date plam jaggery. The smell of Khejur gurh in the pudding will definitely indulge you to fall in instant love with the dish. So here is the recipe of our very much favourite Gurher Payes or Rice pudding with date palm jaggery for you my friends. Enjoy the bliss of winter 🙂

Gurer Payes or Rice Pudding with Date Palm Jaggery

Gurer Payes or Rice Pudding with Date Palm Jaggery

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Pear Tarte Tatin

Sometimes the name of the dish sounds so soothing to your ears that you are drawn spontaneously to it. And then if you discover that the dish is even more fascinating than the name, it is literally called then ‘icing on the cake’. Tarte Tatin is however not a cake, but a delicious french tart which can be made of seasonal fruits. The french word ‘Tarte Tatin’ means an upside down pastry in which the fruit is caramelized in butter and sugar before the tart is baked. Here I have used Pears in the Tarte Tatin which can be replaced by any juicy fruit of your choice. However the traditional Tarte Tatin is made of apple, which you can try of course.

Pear Tarte Tatin

Pear Tarte Tatin

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Fruit Tartlets

If you are looking for a sophisticated, impressive yet easy to make dessert then Fruit Tartlets can be one of your choices. As we know tartlets are the miniature form of tarts which consists of two parts, one is crunchy shortbread crust and the other is creamy savoury or sweet filling. Obviously fruit tartlets will be topped with any of our favourite fruits. I always got tempted to find those fruit tartlets topped with all the possible colourful fruits while passing by the bakery shops in Europe and apprehended that those should be very difficult to make. But I was wrong. After trying my hand on them, I can vouch that tartlets are very easy to make and taste absolutely yummy 🙂

Delicious Fruit Tartlets

Delicious Fruit Tartlets

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Celebrating Makar Sankranti (Poush Parbon) with Sedhyo Pithe, Dudh Puli & Patishapta

Makar Sankranti is a harvest festival, celebrated all over India. In West Bengal it is known as Poush Sankranti, got the name after the Bengali month Poush, and celebrated as Poush Parbon. The last day of the month Poush, in English 14th or 15th January, is considered as the beginning of an auspicious phase. The day brings smile to the faces of farmers as they earn some money selling off the crops and at last find leisure time after the hard days harvesting on field.

In Bengali households different traditional sweet and savoury dishes, known as Pithe and Puli, are prepared out of rice powder or flour, coconut and date palm jaggery to celebrate this festival. Date (Khejur in Bengali) palm syrup in the form of Khejurer Gurh and Patali is an added attraction during winter in Bengal. No one could afford to miss the Rasgulla and Sandesh made with Kjejurer Gurh in winter.

Among various kinds of Pithe & Puli, I prepared just three named as  Sedhyo Pithe (Steamed Pithe), Dudh Puli and Patishapta. They all are sweet dishes and immensely enjoyable. I am sharing with you three recipes together, which are quite simple and requires few handful ingredients.

Sedhyo Pithe

Sedhyo Pithe

Dudh Puli

Dudh Puli

Patishapta

Patishapta

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Caramelized Lemon Tart

Although we find different desserts back in India, still I get amazed to see their variety here in Europe. The bakers put their creative best to make all sort of desserts, which look incredibly lucrative. In fact my favourite among them is tart. The tart is nothing but a baked dish containing of a creamy filling atop a crunchy crust, often decorated with different fruits.

I tried savoury tartlets before, Cherry tomato & poppy seed tartlets, while this is my first attempt to make tart as a dessert. It is a sweet n sour lemon tart which is quite common too. It turned out quite good and certainly recommendable  to serve for your guests.

Caramelized Lemon Tart

Caramelized Lemon Tart

Ingredients to serve 6 :

For crust

  1. Plain flour – 200 gm. + extra for dusting
  2. Cold butter (cut into pieces) – 100 gm.
  3. Caster sugar – 2 tbspoon
  4. Egg yolk – 1
  5. cold water
  6. Pinch of salt

For filling

  1. Lemon – 5
  2. Egg – 2
  3. Caster sugar – 275 gm.
  4. Ground almond – 175 gm.
  5. Water – 100 ml.
  6. Whipping cream – 125 ml. + extra for serving
Ingredients

Ingredients

Procedure :

Lightly grease a 22 cm./9 inch loose-based fluted tart tin.

Sift the flour and salt into a food processor, add the butter and process until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Add the sugar, egg yolk and just enough cold water (approx. 1-2 tbspoon) into the processor to bring the dough together.

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface to a circle 8 cm./3¼ inches larger than the tin.

Wrap the dough around your rolling-pin and lift carefully into the tin, press to fit and trim the excess dough.

Making the crust

Making the crust

Pierce crust all over with fork.

Fit baking paper into the tart case and fill with dried beans.

Chill for 30 minutes in refrigerator, then bake blind for 15 minutes in a preheated oven, 190ºC/375ºF.

Remove the beans and paper and bake for 10 minutes more or until the crust turns golden brown in colour, pressing with back of fork if crust bubbles.

Transfer crust to rack. Maintain oven temperature.

To make the filling, put the juice and finely grated rind of 3 of the lemons in a bowl.

Add the eggs, 85 gm. of the sugar, the ground almonds and the cream, whisking to combine.

Pour into the pastry case and bake for 25 minutes.

Thinly slice the remaining two lemons, discarding the seeds and ends.

Heat the remaining sugar and water in a large pan over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.

Simmer for 5 minutes, then add the lemon slices and boil for 10 minutes, try to minimise the overlap as far as possible.

Arrange the lemon slices over the surface of the cooked tart in a spiral pattern.

Arranging the lemon slices

Arranging the lemon slices

Drizzle over the lemon syrup.

Serve warm or cold with whipped cream.

Tart is ready to be served

Tart is ready to be served

 Note :

  1. Try to cut the lemon slices as thin as possible.
  2. It is necessary to be accompanied with whipped cream as the tart is bit sour in taste.

Pistachio Baklava – A Turkish Dessert

Baklava is a sweet pastry, filled with chopped nuts kept between layers of phyllos or pastry sheet and dipped in sugar syrup. It is basically a Turkish delicacy, however found across the Middle East.

Once, while vacationing in Greece, I found the tempting Baklavas in a local Bazar in Athens which looked completely non-European food and I could not resist myself from having a bite. I was so hooked by it that since then I did my own bit of research on it and decided to make it by myself.

Here, in Utrecht, since a large community of Turks is in existence, a number of middle eastern confectionaries can be found. There I found the Baklavas as well and most importantly the essential Baklava sheets. The rest is rather simple, as I followed the recipe from internet and the result is shown in the Picture below.

Pistachio Baklava

Pistachio Baklava

Ingredients for 20 pieces :

  1. Ready-made baklava sheet or thin phyllo pastry dough – 250 gm.
  2. Butter – 65 gm.
  3. Sugar – 250 gm.
  4. Pistachio (coarsely chopped) – 75 gm.
  5. Lemon juice – 1½ tbspoon
  6. Vegetable oil – ¼ cup
  7. Water – ¾ cup

Procedure :

Baklava sheet or thin phyllo pastry

Baklava sheet or thin phyllo pastry dough

Cut the baklava sheets according to your baking tray size (I cut it round as I used a circular cake tin).

Melt the butter in a small pan and add the oil.

Grease the baking tray or the base of the cake tin with this oil. Put 2 Baklava sheets on it and brush the upper layer with oil. Again put two sheets and brush with oil. Keep doing this till half of the sheets are piled on.

Then spread the chopped pistachio and put the remaining sheets following the same procedure.

Spreading the chopped pistachio after layering half of the sheets

Spreading the chopped pistachio after layering half of the sheets

Now put the side surface of the cake tin and close it properly. Cut the phyllo layers square or diamond shape with a sharp knife.  Pour the remaining oil and brush the surface.

Ready for the oven

Ready for the oven

Now bake it in a preheated oven at 180ºC for 25 – 30 minutes or until the upper layer turns golden brown.

After baking

After baking

While the baklava is baking, lets prepare the sugar syrup.

Take water and sugar in a pan and let it boil over medium heat. As the sugar dissolves and the mixture starts boiling, add the lemon juice and let it simmer for 15 minutes.

Now pour the sugar syrup over baklava when both are warm.

Let the baklava absorb the sugar syrup for 30 minutes and then serve after sprinkling over few more chopped pistachio.

Delicious baklava is ready to be served

Delicious baklava is ready to be served

Note :

  1. Baklava sheets are found mainly in Turkish shops. Phyllo pastry dough can be used as an alternative.
  2. While applying the oil and butter mixture try to avoid the solid part (if any) from the mixture.
  3. Baklava can be made with various nuts such as almonds, walnuts etc. You can also make two different layers of nuts in the same baklava.
  4. You can refrigerate it.

Molten Chocolate Lava Cake

Molten Chocolate Cakes, also known as Chocolate Lava Cakes, have a rich and chocolatey flavour and a texture that is dense and moist. You will find a pudding like center when your spoon breaks through the cake’s outer crust. It’s really delicious and mouth-watering dessert but very simple to make. I hope you will try the recipe at your home and find it amazing.
Molten Chocolate Lava Cake

Molten Chocolate Lava Cake

Ingredients to serve 4 :

  1. Ramekin (small glazed ceramic or glass bowl, ovenproof) – 4
  2. Chocolate – 180 gm.
  3. Unsalted butter (at room temperature) – 110 gm. (approx. ½ cup)
  4. Egg (large, at room temperature) – 3
  5. Granulated white sugar – 65 gm. (approx. 1/3 cup)
  6. Vanilla extract – 1 tbspoon
  7. Flour – 20 gm. (approx. 3½ tbspoon) (optional)
  8. Pinch of salt
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Ingredients

Procedure :

Preheat your oven at 180°C. Since my oven is just  a OTG oven which is much smaller than the modular ones, 180°C is the correct temperature for me. If you have a big one then set it at 200°C.

Grease the ramekins with butter.

Break the chocolate into a heatproof bowl (if you are using a bar chocolate). Add the butter and set the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water and heat until melted, stirring continuously. Remove it from the heat and cool slightly.

In the mean time whisk the egg yolks and the sugar together for 10 minutes, or until light and foamy and the whisk leaves a trail that lasts a few seconds when lifted, add the vanilla extract half way through. Then add the liquid chocolate into it and mix it well with a spatula. Also add the flour and whisk it well.

In a separate bowl take the egg whites and a pinch of salt, beat them until just soft peaks are formed, also add 1 tbspoon of sugar at the middle of the process. Now mix this with the chocolate mixture.

Now fill the 2/3 portion of the remakins (don’t fill them full as it will rise when heated) and bake them in the oven for 8 minutes till the outer part becomes firm however the inner part still remaining soft & pudding like. For bigger ovens the balking time is slightly more, for total 10 minutes.

Serve them immediately because the cake will start to deflate after 3 or 5 minutes. It goes well with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. or you can just serve it dusting icing sugar over it.

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New York Cheesecake with Strawberry sauce topping

“Cheesecake” is a mouth-watering dessert, perfect enough to impress a special one on a special occasion. It consists of two or more layers, mainly a crust at the bottom and a thick soft cheese layer over that. Cheesecakes can be broadly categorized into two basic types: baked and unbaked. Each comes in a variety of styles determined by region. Today I am giving you the recipe of baked New York cheesecake. It’s very simple to make. Hope you will like it.

New York Cheesecake

New York Cheesecake

Ingredients to serve 8 – 10 :

  1. Butter – 6 tbspoon
  2. Digestive biscuits/Graham crackers (crushed) – 200 gm.
  3. Cream Cheese – 400 gm. (Those who don’t get the cream cheese try this recipe with cottage cheese or “chena” and please let me know how was it )
  4. Soured cream – 450 ml.
  5. Large eggs – 2
  6. Caster sugar – 140 gm. (approx. ¾ cup)
  7. Vanilla extract – 1½ teaspoon
  8. Lemon zest – ½ teaspoon
  9. sunflower oil for brushing
  10. 20-cm/8-inch Springform pan

For Strawberry Sauce topping

  1. Frozen unsweetened strawberry – 250 gm.
  2. Caster sugar – 55 gm. (approx. ¼ cup)
  3. Cold water – 1 tbspoon
  4. unflavored gelatin powder – 1 teaspoon

Procedure :

Put the biscuits/Graham crackers in plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin until they are fine in texture or you simply crush them in a food processor. You can also use the graham cracker crumbs available in the market.

Melt the butter in a pan over low heat. Stir in the crushed biscuits, then spread in a 20-cm/8-inch Springform pan or tin brushed with oil. Now bake it for 6 – 8 min. in a preheated oven at 165°C.

Now place the cream cheese, eggs, 100 gm (approx. ½ cup) of the sugar, ½ teaspoon of the vanilla extract and the lemon zest in a large bowl and mix well with a hand mixer or put them in a food processor and process until smooth. Pour this mixture over the biscuit base in the spingform pan and smooth the top. Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven, 160°C/325°F, for 50 – 55 min. until set (but the center should be little wet). Remove from the oven and leave for 20 min. Leave the oven on.

Mix the soured cream with the remaining sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl. Spoon over the cheesecake in the springform pan. Return it to the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, take a spatula or knife and run it around the inside of the cheesecake (the reason is to do that the cheesecake dose shrink as it cools and if we didn’t do that we will get a lot of cracking). Now let it come to the room temperature. Cover the pan containing the cheesecake with a clean foil and refrigerate it for couple of hours.

To make the strawberry topping take the frozen strawberries, thaw them out completely and then blend them in a blender along with the sugar until nice and smooth and then pour in a saucepan. Now to activate the gelatin take one tbspoon of cold water in a small bowl and sprinkle 1 teaspoon of gelatin powder over it, leave it for 2 or 3 minutes until it becomes spongy. Now put the saucepan containing the strawberry sauce on stove over medium heat just to warm it (don’t boil). Then add the spongy gelatin into it and stir gently putting the gas in low to dissolve the gelatine. It will take like a minute or two. Skim off the foams forming on the top of the sauce and let it come to the room temperature.

Take out the cheesecake from the refrigerator and pour the strawberry sauce slowly over it keeping the cheesecake in the springform pan. Then again refrigerate it for about 3 – 4 hours covering with a fresh foil. For best result refrigerate it overnight. After that take out the cheesecake from the pan. You can leave the cheesecake in the bottom plate of the springform pan or you can place it in a serving plate. Now you can decorate it by placing a nice looking strawberry cut into slices (not all the way through) at the center of the cake. Cut a pie and serve the beautiful dessert.

New York Cheesecake