Great Vegetarian Dishes

(Part Seven) Sweets and Desserts

SWEETS AND DESSERTS

"A meal is not complete without a sweet." With that in mind, why not plan your next meal with something from the following section?

KCB 12.1: Carob and Hazelnut Fudge (Burfi)

Carob and Hazelnut Fudge (Burfi)

As distinct from Coconut Cream Fudge which calls for the traditional method of cooking milk to a fudge by the process of slow reduction, here's a quick alternative using powdered milk. Flavoured with roasted hazelnuts and carob powder, it's a popular confectionery to make for special bulk catering.

PREPARATION TIME: 20 minutes
YIELD: 24 pieces

1 cup (250 ml) milk
3/4 cup (185 ml) white sugar
3 tablespoons (60 ml) unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons (40 ml) carob powder
13/4 cups (435 ml) full-cream powdered milk (or as needed)
1/2 cup (85 ml) chopped, toasted hazelnuts

1. Combine the milk and sugar in a heavy-based 3-litre/quart nonstick saucepan and place over moderately low heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves; then raise the heat slightly and gently boil for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Put aside for 5 minutes.
2. Combine the butter with the carob powder and mix into a paste. Add this paste to the milk syrup and, stirring constantly with a wire whisk, add the milk powder. When the mixture is smooth, place the pan over moderate heat and stir with a wooden spoon for about 4 minutes or until the mixture is reduced to a thick paste that draws away from the sides of the pan. Fold in the nuts.
3. Press the paste onto a buttered biscuit sheet and spread, pat, and mold the mixture into a square cake about 2 cm (31/2-inch) thick. Refrigerate and, when cool, cut the fudge into 24 pieces. Keep the burfi  refrigerated in an airtight container.

KCB 12.2: Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake

This moist carrot cake has a spicy, rich flavour and is iced with a vanilla cream-cheese frosting.

PREPARATION TIME: 15 minutes
BAKING TIME: 1 hour
YIELD: one 20 cm (8-inch) cake

3 teaspoons (15 ml) fresh lemon juice
11/4 cup (310 ml) milk
2/3 cup (165 ml) corn oil
2 teaspoons (10 ml) finely grated orange rind
3/4 cup (185 ml) soft brown sugar
3 teaspoons (15 ml) pure vanilla extract
11/2 cups (375 ml) wholemeal pastry flour
11/2 cups (375 ml) unbleached plain flour
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) baking powder
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) salt
11/2 cups (375 ml) carrots, coarsely grated (packed)
1/2 cup (125 ml) chopped walnuts

 

Frosting

250 g (9 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup (60 ml) butter, softened
1/4 cup (60 ml) icing sugar
1 teaspoon (5 ml) pure vanilla essence

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/355F.
2. Add the lemon juice to the milk and sour it.
3. Cream the oil, orange rind, and sugar and add the soured milk and vanilla.
4. Sift the flours together with the baking powder, spices, and salt. Add the liquid ingredients and beat until the mixture is smooth; then add the grated carrots and the nuts.
5. Butter a deep 20 cm (8-inch) cake tin. Pour in the batter and bake at 180C/355F for one hour or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
6. Allow the cake to cool in the tin until it pulls away from the sides of the pan; then, holding a cake rack over the pan, reverse the pan and allow the cake to fall out onto the rack.
7. Allow the cake to cool; then carefully lift it from the rack and place it on a serving plate.
8. Cream the frosting ingredients together with a beater and frost the cake.
Use within 2 days.

KCB 12.3: Baked Cheesecake

Baked Cheesecake

Baked cheesecakes are rich and opulent and are a treat served with whipped cream and fresh sliced fruits.

PREPARATION TIME: 20 minutes
BAKING TIME: at least 11/4 hours
REFRIGERATION AND SETTING TIME: 24 hours
YIELD: one 25 cm (10-inch) cheesecake

Crust

1/4 cup (60 ml) softened butter
1/4 cup (60 ml) sugar
1 teaspoon (5 ml) pure vanilla essence
1 cup (250 ml) unbleached plain flour
1 teaspoon (5 ml) baking powder

 

Filling

500 g (171/2 ounces) ricotta cheese
500 g (171/2 ounces) softened cream cheese
1/3 cup (85 ml) fresh lemon juice
11/2 cups (375 ml) sugar
2 tablespoons (40 ml) arrowroot powder, or 1 tablespoon (20 ml) cornflour
11/3 cups (335 ml) fresh cream
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) pure vanilla essence

1. To prepare the crust: cream the butter and sugar and add the vanilla. Sift the flour and the baking powder. Combine the flour mixture with the creamed butter and sugar mixture. Pat it into the bottom of a buttered 25 cm (10-inch) cheesecake pan.
2. To prepare the filling: place all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly with a beater until light and fluffy. Do not over-mix. Spoon the mixture into the pan on top of the uncooked crust.
3. Place in the middle of a preheated 180C/355F oven and bake for 11/4 hours or until lightly golden brown on top. The cake is done when the entire surface is golden brown.
4. Remove the cheesecake from the oven; allow it to cool. Refrigerate it for at least 20 to 24 hours before serving. Decorate it with cream and fruits if desired.

KCB 12.4: Mango Ice Cream

Mango Ice Cream

This delicious ice cream recipe uses a condensed milk and cream combination. It is best to make this ice cream when mangoes are in the peak of season, soft, ripe, and fragrant.

PREPARATION TIME: 15 minutes
FREEZING TIME: 10 to 12 hours
YIELD: enough for 6 persons

11/2 cups (375 ml) heavy cream
1 cup (250 ml) cold milk
1 cup (250 ml) sweetened condensed milk
11/2 cups (375 ml) fresh mango pulp

1. Pour the cream into a bowl and beat it until semi-whipped.
2. Beat the milk and condensed milk together in another bowl until well combined.
3. Pour the milk and condensed milk mixture into the semi-whipped cream and fold in the mango pulp. Mix well.
4. Pour into a metal freezer tray and freeze for about 10 to 12 hours or until solid. About an hour before serving, place the ice cream in the refrigerator to soften slightly.

KCB 12.5: Walnut and Raisin Semolina Halava

Walnut and Raisin Semolina Halava

Semolina Halava is the most popular dessert served at any of the Gopal's Restaurants worldwide. This version of the famous hot, fluffy pudding with juicy raisins, raw sugar, and walnut piecesrates high in the "halava-top-ten". I have cooked halava for 4 or 5 persons and for 1500 persons; either way, following the same basic steps yields equally stunning results.
The secret of good halava is to roast the semolina very slowly for at least 20 minutes, with enough butter so as not to scorch the grains. Steam the finished halava over very low heat with a tight-fitting lid for 5 minutes to fully plump the semolina grains; then allow it to sit covered for another 5 minutes. Fluffy, plump grained halava is best served hot, with a spoonful of cream or custard.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: about 30 minutes
YIELD: enough for 6 to 8 persons

21/2 cups (625 ml) water
11/4 cups (310 ml) raw sugar
1/2 cup (125 ml) raisins
140 g (5 ounces) unsalted butter
11/4 cups (310 ml) coarse-grained semolina
1/3 cup (85 ml) walnut pieces

1. Combine the water, sugar, and raisins in a 2-litre/quart saucepan. Place over moderate heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to very low and cover with a tight-fitting lid.
2. Place the butter in a 2- or 3-litre/quart non-stick saucepan and over fairly low heat, stirring occasionally, melt the butter without scorching. Add the semolina. Slowly and rhythmically stir-fry the grains until they darken to a tan colour and become aromatic (about 20 minutes). Add the walnut pieces about half-way through the roasting. Stirring more carefully, raise the heat under the grains.
3. Raise the heat under the sugar water and bring the syrup to a rolling boil. Remove the saucepan of semolina and butter from the heat, slowly pouring the hot syrup into the semolina, stirring steadily. The grains may at first splutter, but will quickly cease as the liquid is absorbed.
4. Return the pan to the stove and stir steadily over low heat until the grains fully absorb the liquid, start to form into a pudding-like consistency, and pull away from the sides of the pan. Place a tight-fitting lid on the saucepan and cook over the lowest possible heat for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, allow the halava to steam, covered, for an additional 5 minutes. Serve hot in dessert bowls as it is, or with the toppings suggested above.

KCB 12.6: Apple and Blackberry Crumble

Apple and Blackberry Crumble

This version of the famous English dessert has delighted customers at Gopal's Restaurant in Melbourne for many years. Succulent stewed apples, folded with fresh blackberries, are baked with a buttery, crunchy topping and served with cream or hot custard.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 15 minutes
BAKING TIME: 20 minutes
YIELD: enough for 6 to 8 persons

6 medium green apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
11/2 cups (375 ml) fresh blackberries (or try raspberries, loganberries, or boysenberries)
1 tablespoon (20 ml) sugar
1 tablespoon (20 ml) fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup (185 ml) raw oats
1/2 cup (125 ml) unbleached plain flour
1/2 cup (125 ml) wholemeal flour
1/2 cup (125 ml) raw sugar
1/2 cup (125 ml) brown sugar
1/2 cup (125 ml) melted butter

1. Place the sliced apples along with a sprinkle of water in a heavy 4-litre/quart saucepan. Cook covered over moderate heat until the apples soften. Fold in the fresh berries, one tablespoon (20 ml) sugar, and lemon juice. Remove from the heat.
2. In a bowl, combine the raw oats, unbleached plain flour, wholemeal flour, raw sugar, brown sugar, and melted butter, rubbing in the butter until a coarse meal-like consistency is achieved.
3. Spread the cooked apples and berries in the bottom of a 20 cm (8-inch) ovenproof baking dish. Without pressing down, spoon on all the topping.
4. Place the dish in the top one-third of a preheated 180C/355F oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the topping is golden brown. Serve hot.

KCB 12.7: Orange and Currant Simply Wonderfuls

Orange and Currant Simply Wonderfuls

Simply Wonderfuls are fudge-like sweets made from butter, sugar, and milk powder. They require no cooking combine the ingredients, and the result is simply wonderful!

PREPARATION TIME: 20 minutes
YIELD: about 15 sweets

11/4 cups (310 ml) sifted icing sugar
190 g (7 ounces) unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) finely grated orange rind
2 tablespoons (40 ml) currants
11/2 cups (375 ml) sifted full-cream milk powder

1. Cream the butter, sugar, and orange rind in a mixing bowl.
2. Fold in the currants and powdered milk and knead until a firm fondant-like dough is formed. Pinch off walnut-sized portions and roll into smooth even-sized balls. Chill and serve.

KCB 12.7b: Deep-Fried Milk Balls in Rose Syrup (Gulab Jamun)

Deep-Fried Milk Balls in Rose Syrup (Gulab Jamun)

Whenever a special festival or feast day comes around, Gulab jamuns are an ideal choice. When guests are confronted with them for the first time they invariably ask "What are they? " Guesses then range from preserved fruits to doughnuts. In fact, Gulab jamuns are made from just milk powder and flour. They're fried slowly in ghee until golden brown and then soaked in rose-scented sugar syrup. Hence, the Hindi words Gulab jamun meaning "rose ball".
It is important to note that even though it only takes a few minutes to mix the dough, the gulab jamuns must be fried slowly. If you cook the gulab jamuns too quickly, they will be raw inside. They also must be constantly stirred.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: about 45 minutes
YIELD: 20 gulab jamuns

4 cups (1 litre) water
33/4 cups (935 ml) sugar
5 teaspoons (25 ml) pure distilled rose water
ghee for deep-frying
6 teaspoons (30 ml) self-raising flour
21/2 cups (625 ml) full-cream milk powder
3/4 cup (185 ml) warm milk, or as required

1. Combine the water and sugar in a 3 -litre/quart pan over moderate heat and stir constantly until the sugar has dissolved. Raise the heat and boil for 5 minutes. Remove the syrup from the heat. Add the rose water and set aside.
2. Pour the ghee to a depth of 6.7 - 7.5 cm (21/2 - 3 inches) in a non-stick deep-frying vessel at least 25 cm (10 inches) in diameter. Place over very low heat.
3. To make the dough: sift the flour and milk powder into a small bowl. Pour the warm milk into a large bowl. Sprinkle the small bowl of milk powder and flour into the large bowl of warm milk while mixing with your other hand. Quickly mix and knead the combination into a moist, smooth, and pliable dough. Wash your hands, rub a film of warm ghee on them, and divide the dough into 20 portions. Roll those portions into 20 smooth balls. Place them onto an oiled tray or plate.
4. When the ghee temperature reaches 102C/216F, drop the balls in, one by one. The balls will initially sink to the bottom. Do not try to move them. You can, however, gently shake the deep-frying vessel from side to side occasionally until the balls start to rise to the surface. From this point on they must be gently and constantly stirred, rolling them over and over with the back of a slotted spoon, allowing them to brown evenly on all sides.
5. After 5 minutes, the temperature of the ghee will have increased to about 104C/220F and the balls will have started to expand. After 25 minutes, the ghee temperature should be about 110C/230F and the balls should be golden brown. Test one by dropping it into the warm syrup. If it doesn't collapse within a couple of minutes then remove all the balls (3 - 4 at a time) with the slotted spoon and place them in the syrup. Otherwise, cook the balls for another 5 minutes. When all the gulab jamuns have been placed in the syrup, turn off the heat under the ghee and allow the sweets to soak for at least 2 hours.
Gulab jamuns can be prepared a day in advance, allowing them to fully soak overnight. They can be served at room temperature or slightly warmed.

KCB 12.8: Coconut Cream Fudge

Coconut Cream Fudge

When sweetened milk is cooked down slowly until most of the water has evaporated, the resultant fudge is called burfi. This delicious version contains shredded fresh coconut, light cream, and optional kewra essence (available at all Indian grocers). Dried coconut can be substituted for fresh coconut.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 30 minutes
YIELD: 36 pieces

2 cups (500 ml) finely grated fresh coconut
1 cup (250 ml) milk
1 cup (250 ml) light cream
3/4 cup (185 ml) caster sugar
3 drops kewra essence (optional)

1. Combine the coconut, milk, cream, and sugar in a heavy-based 5-litre/quart saucepan. Boil the mixture over high heat. Stirring constantly, cook the mixture vigorously until it is reduced to about one-half volume. Lower the heat to moderate and continue reducing while stirring rhythmically and steadily until the mixture forms a firm mass that pulls away from the sides of the pan. Add the kewra essence.
2. Scrape the coconut fudge onto a lightly buttered tray and press the mixture, with the aid of a spatula, into a 15 cm x 15 cm (6-inch x 6-inch) slab. When it is cool, cut into 25 squares. Store in an airtight container. It may be refrigerated for up to two weeks.

KCB 12.9: Creamy, Saffron Condensed Yogurt Dessert (Shrikhand)

Creamy, Saffron Condensed Yogurt Dessert (Shrikhand)

This popular Gujarati sweet is simple to prepare. Yogurt is hung in a cloth to remove excess liquid. The solid residue, called yogurt cheese, or dehin, is sweetened, flavored with saffron, pistacio nuts, cardamom, and rosewater, beaten until silky smooth, and served ice-cold in little cups.
As an alternative, replace the saffron, nuts, cardamom, and rosewater with 1/4 cup (60 ml) fresh, vine-ripened chopped raspberries, strawberries, or blackberries.
Shrikhand is ideal for preparing in large quantities. Remember the simple sugar-to-yogurt ratio: good quality yogurt should yield 50% liquid (whey) when hung. Add sugar to the yogurt cheese in the ratio of one to four; in other words, the sugar content of Shrikhand is one-eighth part the original quantity of yogurt.
Reserve the liquid residue that drips out of the yogurt. It's a first-class curdling agent to make Homemade Curd cheese (Panir).Shrikhand is delicious served with slices of fresh mango and puffed plain flour pooris sprinkled with sugar.

PREPARATION TIME: 15 minutes
YOGURT DRAINING TIME: 12 - 16 hours
YIELD: enough for 8 - 12 persons

4 cups (1 litre) whole-milk yogurt
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) ground saffron threads
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) ground cardamom
1 tablespoon (20 ml) rosewater (or a few drops of rose essence)
2 tablespoons (40 ml) blanched raw slivered pistacio nuts
1/2 cup (125 ml) icing sugar

1. Place a triple thickness of cheesecloth in a colander. Spoon in the yogurt, gather-up the corners of the cloth, tie it into a bundle, and hang it either in the refrigerator or in a cool spot for 12 to 16 hours. Catch the drips in a bowl.
2. The residue yogurt cheese should have reduced to half the original quantity. Transfer it to a bowl, add the ground saffron, ground cardamom seeds, rose water, pistacio nuts, and sugar. Beat until light and fluffy.

KCB 12.10: Chinese Almond Cookies

Chinese Almond Cookies

These simple and tasty almond cookies are great served anytime.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 30 minutes
YIELD: 1 dozen

1/2 cup (125 ml) softened butter
1/3 cup (85 ml) raw sugar
1 cup (250 ml) plain flour
3 tablespoons (60 ml) ground almonds
a few drops almond essence
1 dozen blanched almonds

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/355F.
2. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl. Add the flour, ground almonds, and almond essence and combine thoroughly.
3. Roll the mixture into 12 balls. Press each ball firmly in the palms of your hands to flatten. Press a blanched almond in the centre of each cookie.
4. Place the cookies on an ungreased biscuit sheet. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes or until golden around the edges. Allow to cool before serving.

KCB 12.11: Lemon Cream-Cheese Fudge (Nimbu Sandesh)

Lemon Cream-Cheese Fudge (Nimbu Sandesh)

Bengal is the home of Indian sweet manufacturing, and of all Bengali sweets, sandesh is the most famous. It is prepared from only two ingredients: homemade curd cheese and sugar. Use one-quarter part sugar to the volume of kneaded cheese curd. Sandesh is very simple to make, provided you prepare the curd cheese properly. You should also knead your cheese to the correct silky-smooth, neither-wet-nor-dry texture. Sandesh must be cooked in a scrupulously clean pan over very low heat. This sandesh derives its lemon flavour from the lemon oil contained in lemon rind, which is added during, and removed after, cooking.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: about 30 minutes
YIELD: 16 - 20 pieces

fresh homemade curd cheese from 10 cups (21/2 litres) whole milk
at least 1/2 cup (125 ml) caster sugar or icing sugar
one 7.5 cm (3-inch) strip of lemon rind

1. Knead and bray the curd cheese on a clean surface until it is silky smooth and creamy. Gather into one lump and calculate its volume with measuring cups. Measure one-quarter that volume of sugar. Combine the cheese, sugar, and lemon rind and again briefly knead and bray the cheese.
2. Place a heavy-bottomed pan on the lowest possible heat and, constantly stirring with a wooden spoon, cook the cheese for 10 to 15 minutes or until its surface becomes glossy and its texture slightly thickens.
3. Scrape the sandesh from the pan and remove the lemon rind. Press the sandesh onto a lightly buttered tray into a flat 11/4 cm (1/2-inch) thick cake. Cool to room temperature. Cut the cake into 21/2 cm (1-inch squares. When completely cool, store in an airtight container in a single layer. The sandesh can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.

KCB 12.12: Lokshen Pudding

Lokshen Pudding

Lokshen pudding is a great favourite in the realm of Jewish cuisine. In this vegetarian version of my mother's recipe, vermicelli (lokshen) I baked with sultanas, butter, cream and ground almonds. It's delicious and simple to make and is great serve either hot or cold.

PREPARATION AND BAKING TIME: about 50 minutes
YIELD: enough for 4 persons

185 g (6 ounces) vermicelli noodles
1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream
2 teaspoons (10 ml) fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup (60 ml) ground almonds
1/3 cup (85 ml) sugar
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) ground nutmeg
1/3 cup (85 ml) sultanas
6 teaspoons (30 ml) melted butter (about 1 ounce or 30 g)

1. Boil the vermicelli noodles in unsalted water until cooked but still a little firm (al dente). Rinse and drain.
2. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Spoon the mixture into a buttered oven-proof baking dish and bake in a moderate oven 180C/355F for about 45 minutes or until it becomes firm and golden-brown on top. Serve hot or cold.

KCB 12.13: Soft Cakes in Strawberry Yogurt (Malpoora)

Soft Cakes in Strawberry Yogurt (Malpoora)

This luscious version of the well known Indian sweet Malpoora is not traditional but rather something that has been developed over 2 decades in the Sunday Feast kitchens of Hare Krishna Temples around the world. Spoonfuls of thick batter are deep-fried in ghee to produce doughnut-like soft cakes, which are suspended in sweetened, fruit flavoured yogurt. You can substitute any fresh ripe berry for the strawberries, or try banana, passion fruit, papaya, mango, or kiwifruit.

PREPARATION TIME: 15 minutes
BATTER RESTING TIME: 15 minutes
COOKING TIME: 20 minutes
YIELD: about 2 dozen

21/4 cups (560 ml) self-raising flour
1 cup (250 ml) icing sugar
11/4 cups (310 ml) cold water
ghee for deep-frying
5 cups (11/4 litres) plain yogurt, chilled
3/4 cup (185 ml) caster sugar
11/2 cups (375 ml) strawberries, washed and quartered

1. Sift together the flour and icing sugar in a bowl. Add the water gradually, while stirring with a wire whisk, until the mixture reaches a consistency somewhere between batter and dough. Spoon in one tablespoon (20 ml) of yogurt and whisk again. The finished batter should cling to a spoon. Allow to set for 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat the ghee to a depth of 6.5 - 7.5 cm (21/2 - 3 inches) in a wok or deep-frying pan over moderately low heat 160C/320F.
3. Spoon out a tablespoon of batter from the bowl. With the aid of a second spoon, deftly slide the batter into the hot ghee. Quickly repeat the procedure for about 8 spoonfuls of batter. Allow the cakes to inflate in the ghee. Then turn them over with a slotted spoon and fry them, turning occasionally, for about 3 to 4 minutes, or until they are light golden brown all over. Remove and drain. Repeat until all the batter is used up.
4. Combine the yogurt and caster sugar in a large bowl. Crush a few berries through your fingers into the yogurt. Add the rest of the berries and combine well.
5. Carefully fold the fried cakes into the fruit yogurt and refrigerate, allowing the cakes to soak for about 30 minutes before serving. Serve the malpoora in individual dessert bowls with strawberry yogurt spooned on top.

KCB 12.14: Fruit Cake

Fruit Cake

This traditional fruit cake is ideal for weddings, birthdays, or any special occasion requiring a luscious, rich cake. It can be kept for several weeks after baking.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 21/4 - 23/4 hours
YIELD: one 20 cm (8-inch) round or square cake

1 cup (250 ml) smoothly mashed pumpkin or potato
1 tablespoon (20 ml) melted butter
1 cup (250 ml) self-raising flour
1 cup (250 ml) plain flour
450 g (1 pound) mixed dried fruit
1 cup (250 ml) sugar
225 g (8 ounces) butter
1 tablespoon (20 ml) golden syrup or dark corn syrup
1 cup (250 ml) water
1 teaspoon (5 ml) bicarbonate of soda
2 tablespoons (40 ml) yogurt

1. Line the base of a 20 cm (8-inch) rich cake. It can be kept for several cake tin with greaseproof paper. Dip a pastry brush in melted butter and brush the sides of the tin to give an even shine.
2. Sift both flours into a large bowl and set aside.
3. Combine the fruit, sugar, butter, syrup, and water in a heavy 4-litre/quart saucepan. Heat slowly over low heat, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat and allow the mixture to boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat, mix in the bicarbonate of soda, and set aside to cool.
4. When the mixture has cooled to room temperature, fold in the yogurt and mashed potato or pumpkin. Beat the mixture until smooth.
5. Gently fold in the flour mixture with the fruit mixture, combining carefully.
6. Spoon the combined mixture into the prepared cake tin. Smooth out the mixture. Cover the tin with aluminium foil (or brown paper secured with an elastic band) and bake in a moderate oven 180C/355F for 1/2 - 2 hours. The cake can be uncovered for the last 1/2 hour of the cooking. To test whether the cake is done, insert a skewer through the centre of the cake. The cake is cooked if the skewer comes out clean. If the cake is done, remove it from the oven, allowing it to cool in the tin. (This will stop the cake from breaking).
7. When the cake is cool, carefully remove it from the tin and peel off the greaseproof paper. Now the cake is ready for icing, if desired.

KCB 12.15: Vietnamese Sweet Mung Bean Cakes (Dau Xanh Vung)

Vietnamese Sweet Mung Bean Cakes (Dau Xanh Vung)

In Thai and Vietnamese cuisine, split mung beans are often used as a stuffing for sweet pastries. This recipe is no exception, featuring glutinous rice flour as the main ingredient for the pastry wrapping. Both split mung beans and glutinous rice flour are available from any Vietnamese or Chinese grocer.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 1 hour
YIELD: 12 cakes

1/2 cup (125 ml) yellow split mung beans
11/4 cups (310 ml) water
1/2 cup (125 ml) sugar (reserve one tablespoon, 20 ml)
2 cups (500 ml) glutinous rice flour
1 teaspoon (5 ml) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) salt
2 medium potatoes, boiled, peeled and mashed
1/2 cup (125 ml) boiling water
4 tablespoons (80 ml) sesame seeds
oil for deep frying

To make the filling

1. Thoroughly rinse the mung beans under cold running water. Boil the beans and water in a saucepan over full heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 25 minutes or until the beans are soft and tender. Raise the heat to evaporate the rest of the water and when the beans are dry, remove the saucepan from the heat. Mash the beans and add the 1/2 cup (125 ml) sugar. Return the saucepan to the heat and cook until the mixture thickens and leaves the sides of the pan. Transfer the bean mixture to a plate and allow it to cool.

To make the pastry wrapping

1. Combine the glutinous rice flour, baking powder, salt, the reserved sugar, and mashed potatoes, and mix well. Slowly add the boiling water. Knead the mixture into a smooth ball.

To prepare the cakes

1. Divide the pastry into 12 even-sized portions, roll into smooth balls, and cover with a cloth. Flatten each ball into a 71/2 cm (3-inch) disk. Place 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of the filling into the centre of each pastry disk and gather the wrapping together to enclose the filling, sealing well, shaping it into a ball.
2. Sprinkle the sesame seeds into a heavy frying pan which has been preheated until very hot. Stir-fry the seeds in the dry pan until they are dark golden brown. Place the sesame seeds on a plate and roll all the cakes in the seeds until completely coated, pressing so the seeds adhere well.
3. Heat the oil to 180C/355F and deep-fry the cakes one batch at a time for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.
4. Remove the cakes, drain them on absorbent paper, allow them to cool, and serve.

KCB 12.16: Easy Apple Pie

Easy Apple Pie

Pastry making is not difficult as long as you follow some basic guidelines: keep the ingredients cool; always use cold water and the coldest possible surface for rolling out; measure your ingredients carefully; take care with the amount of flour dredged onto the rolling surface; always roll the pastry in one direction do not turn it over or overstretch it during rolling; the rolling should be light but firm. Don't handle the dough more than necessary the less handling pastry receives, the better it is.

PASTRY PREPARATION TIME: 15 minutes
PASTRY CHILLING TIME: 30 minutes
FILLING PREPARATION TIME: 15 minutes
TOTAL BAKING TIME: 45 minutes (the top and bottom of the pie are cooked separately).
YIELD: one 20 cm (8-inch) pie

Pastry

1 cup (250 ml) plain flour
1 cup (250 ml) self-raising flour
pinch salt
155 g (51/2 ounces) cold unsalted butter
3 tablespoons (60 ml) caster sugar
scant 1/4 cup (60 ml) cold plain yogurt
a little milk for glazing
sugar for sprinkling

 

Filling

6 - 8 medium green cooking apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons (40 ml) sugar
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) cinnamon powder

1. Sift the flours and salt into a mixing bowl. Cut the cold butter into little pieces and add it to the flour. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until there are no lumps and the mixture resembles bread crumbs.
2. Sprinkle in the sugar; then add most of the yogurt. Mix quickly until it forms a ball. If the pastry feels a little dry, add a little more yogurt. Gently knead for 10 seconds.
3. Wrap the pastry in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 220C/430F.
4. Place the apples, cinnamon, and sugar with a sprinkle of water in a 2-litre/quart saucepan over moderate heat and cook until the apples are soft. Drain any liquid.
5. Roll out two-thirds of the pastry to line a 20 cm (8-inch) pie dish. Prick with a fork. Place in the oven, and cook for 20 minutes at 220C/430F.
6. Remove the pie shell from the oven and fill with the apple filling. Roll out the remaining pastry and cover the pie. Trim the edges and seal them with a fluted pattern with your fingertips or a fork.
7. Brush the top of the pie with milk, sprinkle with sugar, and bake at 220C/430F for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Allow the pie to cool before cutting.

KCB 12.17: Italian-style Lemon Doughnuts

Italian-style Lemon Doughnuts

A friend's grandmother from Tuscany, Italy, parted with this recipe for doughnuts (called Bomboloni). Serve them hot at afternoon tea for a delicious treat.

PREPARATION TIME: a few minutes
DOUGH RISING TIME: 2 hours
FRYING TIME: 5 minutes each batch
YIELD: 15 - 20 doughnuts

4 cups (1 litre) plain flour
3/4 cup (185 ml) caster sugar
pinch of salt
75 g (21/2 ounces) butter, softened and cut into pieces
3 teaspoons (15 ml) fresh yeast dissolved in 2 tablespoons (30 ml) warm water
finely grated rind of 1 lemon
ghee or oil for deep-frying

1. Sift the flour into a bowl and stir in 1/3 cup (85 ml) of sugar and the salt. Mix well. Make a well in the centre and add the butter, the yeast water, and the lemon rind. Mix well, adding enough lukewarm water to form a soft dough. Knead until smooth, shape into a ball, and cover with a damp cloth. Let it rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in bulk. Punch the dough down with your fist.
2. Roll out the dough into a long rope and cut into 15 or 20 even-sized portions. Roll each into a smooth ball. Place on a buttered baking sheet and let rise in a warm place for another hour. The balls should double in size.
3. Heat ghee or oil to 180C/355F in a wok or deep pan and very carefully lower 3 - 4 doughnuts at a time into the hot oil. Deep fry, maintaining a constant temperature, for about 5 minutes, turning often until the doughnuts are dark golden brown. Drain and dredge in the remaining sugar. Serve hot.

KCB 12.18: Turkish Nut Pastries in Syrup (Baklava)

Turkish Nut Pastries in Syrup (Baklava)

Baklava is probably one of the best known of all Middle Eastern sweets. In this delightful version of Turkish origin, sheets of buttered wafer-thin filo pastry are layered with nuts and baked; then they're soaked in a lemony orange-blossom flavoured sugar and honey syrup.

PREPARATION TIME: 30 minutes
COOKING TIME: 45 minutes
BAKLAVA SOAKING TIME: overnight, or at least 2 hours
YIELD: about 18 large pieces

450 g (1 pound ) filo pastry (about 30 sheets)
250 g (9 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
250 g (9 ounces) finely chopped walnuts (or almonds, pistacios, or a combination)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) cinnamon powder
1/4 cup (60 ml) sugar

 

Syrup

11/4 cups (310 ml) sugar
1 cups (250 ml) water
2 tablespoons (40 ml) lemon juice
1/4 cup (60 ml) honey
1 tablespoon (20 ml) orange-blossom water (available at Middle Eastern grocers)
 

1. Butter a 28 cm x 18 cm (11-inch x 7-inch) tin. If necessary, cut the pastry the size of the tin. Place one sheet of pastry on the bottom of the tin and butter it with a pastry brush. Repeat for 1/2 the pastry (about 15 sheets).
2. Combine the nuts, cinnamon, and sugar and sprinkle the mixture evenly over the top layer of buttered filo pastry. Continue layering the remaining pastry on top of the nut mixture, again brushing each layer of pastry with melted butter.
3. After the final layer of pastry is placed on top, brush it with butter. Carefully cut the tray of pastry into diagonal diamond shapes with a sharp knife, cutting directly to the base. Bake in a moderate oven 180C/355F for about 45 minutes or until the top is crisp and golden.
4. While the pastry is baking, combine the sugar, water, and lemon juice in a pan, stir over low heat to dissolve the sugar, and then boil for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the honey, stir to dissolve, and add the orange-blossom water. Pour the hot syrup over the cooked baklava. Let set for at least 2 hours, or for best results leave overnight for the syrup to be fully absorbed.

KCB 12.19: Fruit Fritters with Orange Sauce

Fruit Fritters with Orange Sauce

These are a popular item on the lunch menu at the Hare Krishna Restaurant in Hong Kong.

PREPARATION TIME: 15 minutes
BATTER RESTING: 15 minutes
COOKING TIME: about 25 minutes
YIELD: 2 to 3 dozen medium fritters

1 cup (250 ml) plain flour
1/2 cup (125 ml) corn flour
1 tablespoon (20 ml) sugar
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) cinnamon powder
2 teaspoons (10 ml) baking powder
1 cup (250 ml) milk
4 tablespoons (80 ml) corn oil
2 to 3 dozen chunks of fruit, cut into approximately 21/2 cm (1-inch cubes) (try bananas, papaya, apples, or pineapple)
oil or ghee for deep-frying
sugar for sprinkling

 

Sauce

1 cup (250 ml) orange juice
2 tablespoons (40 ml) sugar
1 tablespoon (20 ml) soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) chili powder (optional)
1 teaspoon (1 ml) cinnamon powder
1 teaspoon (5 ml) grated orange rind
1 tablespoon (20 ml) corn flour
water

1. Combine the flours, sugar, cinnamon, and baking powder in a medium-sized bowl. Pour in the milk and whisk until smooth and creamy. Set aside for 15 minutes. Add the oil whisking well. Add a little extra milk if the batter is too thick.
2. Heat the ghee or frying oil until moderately hot 180C/355F. Dip 5 - 6 chunks of fruit in the batter and deep-fry them, turning often, until the fritters are golden brown on both sides. Remove and drain. Repeat for all fritters.
3. Combine the orange juice, sugar, soy sauce, chili powder, cinnamon powder, and orange rind in a small pan and bring to the boil. Mix the corn flour with a little cold water to form a smooth, thin paste. Whisk the thickening paste into the sauce until the required consistency is reached. Remove from the heat.
4. Sprinkle sugar on top of all the fritters and serve with the hot orange sauce.

KCB 12.20: Peanut Butter Fudge

Peanut Butter Fudge

Homemade confectioneries are fun to prepare and make great gifts. The sugar syrup for this delicious fudge is boiled to the soft ball stage and is then beaten to encourage crystallization of the sugar. This gives the fudge its characteristic texture and appearance.
Use a heavy-based saucepan that has a capacity for at least four times the volume of the ingredients. Measure the temperature with a cooking thermometer suitable for sweet-making (sometimes called a candy thermometer). Be sure to stand the thermometer in a glass of very hot water before plunging it into the boiling sugar syrup.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: about 1/2 hour
YIELD: about 36 pieces

21/2 cups (625 ml) sugar
3/4 cup (185 ml) milk
2 tablespoons (40 ml) golden syrup or light corn syrup
1/2 cup (60 ml) peanut butter
a few drops of vanilla essence

1. Butter a pan approximately 20 cm (8-inches) square.
2. Heat the sugar, milk, and syrup gently in a heavy saucepan, stirring with a wooden spoon until the sugar has dissolved and the syrup melted.
3. Bring to the boil, cover, and boil for 2 - 3 minutes.
4. Uncover the pan and continue to boil until the temperature reaches 116C/240F.
5. Remove the pan from the heat and stand it in cold water until the temperature of the syrup falls to 43C/110F.
6. Add the peanut butter and vanilla and beat the mixture until it thickens and becomes paler.
7. Pour the fudge mixture into the pan and leave it undisturbed until it is just about set. At this stage, mark the fudge into squares and leave until it sets completely.
8. When set, cut or break the fudge into pieces, wrap it in waxed paper, and store in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 2 weeks.

KCB 12.21: Creamy Condensed-milk Rice Pudding (Chaval Ksira)

Creamy Condensed-milk Rice Pudding (Chaval Ksira)

Ksira is a Sanskrit word for condensed milk. It is commonly known as kheer in North India, and regional variations are known as payasa, payesh, etc. When milk is slowly condensed with rice, the result is this creamy dessert known as Chaval Ksira, sometimes just referred to as "sweet-rice".
I always start off with a scant one sixteenth part rice to milk. When the sweet-rice has been cooked and chilled, it should be a "just drinkable" consistency.
The following recipe is for a simple cardamom-flavoured sweet-rice. Try the varieties listed below as alternatives.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: about 50 minutes
YIELD: 4 - 5 cups
 

a bit less than 1/2 cup (about 120 ml) short-grain rice
4 green cardamom pods
8 cups (2 litres) fresh whole milk
3/4 cup (185 ml) sugar

1. Clean, wash, and drain the short-grain rice.
2. Tap the cardamom pods until they slightly open.
3. Pour the milk and cardamom pods into a heavy-based 5- or 6-litre/quart saucepan and, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, bring the milk to the boil over moderately high heat. Reduce the heat, add the rice, and, stirring attentively, boil gently for 25 - 30 minutes.
4. Reduce the heat to moderately low and boil the milk for another 10 - 15 minutes, still stirring constantly with a smooth, sweeping action. When the sweet-rice becomes creamy and slightly thick, remove the pan from the heat. Extract the cardamom pods and discard. Stir in the sugar, mix well, and allow the sweet-rice to cool. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Serve chilled.
Note: If the sweet-rice thickens too much after it cools, add a little cold milk or light cream to thin it out.

Saffron Sweet-Rice: Omit the cardamom pods and add a pinch of high quality saffron threads to the milk halfway through the cooking.

Camphor Sweet-Rice: Omit the cardamom pods and add a tiny pinch of pure camphor crystals after the sweet-rice has been removed from the heat.

Bengali-Style Sweet-Rice: Omit the cardamom pods and add 1 small bay leaf and 2 tablespoons (40 ml) butter at the beginning of the cooking. Add 1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) ground cardamom seeds and 1/4 cup (60 ml) currants halfway through the cooking.

Vanilla Sweet-Rice: Omit the cardamom pods and add one 5 cm (2-inch) length of dried vanilla bean at the beginning of the cooking. Remove the bean after the sweet-rice cools.

Berry Sweet-Rice: Omit the cardamom pods. Cook the rice and milk together. Add the sweetener. Refrigerate until ice cold. Fold in 1 cup (250 ml) fresh, washed berries (ripe strawberries or raspberries are ideal).

KCB 12.22: Walnut and Chickpea-Flour Fudge balls (Laddu)

Walnut and Chickpea-Flour Fudge balls (Laddu)

You can purchase chickpea flour at Indian grocery stores under different names such as gram flour, peas meal, or besan. It is made from roasted chana dal, and when toasted in butter and sweetened it forms the basis of this delightful and popular confectionery, laddu.

COOKING AND PREPARATION TIME: about 20 minutes
COOLING AND ROLLING TIME: about 40 minutes
YIELD: 2 dozen sweets

3/4 cup (185 ml) unsalted butter
2 cups (500 ml) chickpea flour, Sift after measuring
2 tablespoons (40 ml) chopped walnuts
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) ground nutmeg
1 cup (250 ml) icing sugar, sifted after measuring

1. Melt the butter in a heavy-based frying pan or small saucepan over a low heat. Add the sifted chickpea flour, walnut pieces, and nutmeg. Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the mixture becomes deep golden brown and loose in consistency.
2. Remove the pan from the heat and add the icing sugar until it is well combined.
3. Spoon the mixture into a dish and spread it out. When cool enough to handle, roll the mixture into balls. Alternatively, you can spread the hot mixture into an even slab in a lightly-buttered dish and slice into squares when cool. Refrigerate until the laddu  becomes firm. Serve cool or at room temperature.

KCB 12.23: Algerian Ramadan Dessert

Algerian Ramadan Dessert

This deliciously simple dessert light cream for topping made almost entirely from dried fruit grated nutmeg for garnish traditionally taken at dusk at the end of the Muslim fast during the period of Ramadan. All fruits orange should be soaked overnight.

SOAKING TIME: overnight
PREPARATION TIME: 10 minutes
COOKING TIME: 11/2 to 2 hours
YIELD: enough for 10 persons

All measurements are for unsoaked fruit.

1 cup (250 ml) dried prunes
1 cup (250 ml) raisins
1 cup (250 ml) whole dried apricots
1/4 cup (60 ml) sultanas
1/4 cup (60 ml) candied orange peel
1/4 cup (60 ml) currants
4 dried figs, chopped
5 cups (11/4 litres) water
1 cup (250 ml) sugar
1 cup (250 ml) chopped mixed nuts pine nuts, walnuts, and almonds)
light cream for topping
grated nutmeg for garnish

1. Place the prunes, raisins, the dried apricots, sultanas, candied peel, currants, and chopped figs in a large bowl. Add cold water until the level rises 21/2 cm (1-inch) above the fruit. Soak overnight.
2. Next day, drain the fruit. Place the 5 cups (11/4 litres) of water and sugar in a heavy saucepan, cover, and gently boil for 15 - 20 minutes. Add all the fruits which have been soaked and drained; simmer covered, for 11/2 - 2 hours over low heat. About halfway through the cooking, add the nuts and mix well.
3. Remove the mixture from the heat and allow to cool. Transfer into a bowl and refrigerate until cold. Serve in individual decorative glass dessert bowls with a topping of light cream and a garnish of grated nutmeg.

KCB 12.24: Celestial Bananas

Celestial Bananas

Having its origins in the West Indies, this opulent sweet really shows the versatility of the humble banana. Sauteed in butter and baked with cream cheese, it is a delightful year-round dessert.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: about 30 minutes
YIELD: enough for 4 to 6 persons

185 g (61/2 ounces) soft spreadable cream cheese
1/4 cup (60 ml) brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon (3 ml) cinnamon powder
4 tablespoons (80 ml) unsalted butter
4 large or 8 small ripe bananas, peeled and halved lengthways
3 tablespoons (60 ml) pouring-consistency cream

1. Beat the cream cheese, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) of the cinnamon together until well-blended. Set aside.
2. Heat the butter in a heavy frying pan and saute  the banana halves until they are lightly browned on both sides.
3. Lay half of the banana halves in a buttered shallow, fireproof serving dish. Spread half the cream cheese mixture on the bananas and top with the remaining banana halves. Spread them with the rest of the cream cheese mixture. Pour the cream over them.
4. Bake in a preheated 180C/355F oven for about 15 minutes or until the cream cheese mixture is golden brown.
Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) cinnamon and serve immediately.

KCB 12.25: Orange Cheesecake

Orange Cheesecake

This delicious cheesecake requires no cooking and features orange-blossom cream cheese in a biscuit crumb base.

PREPARATION TIME: 20 minutes
CHILLING TIME: at least 12 hours
YIELD: one 20 cm (8-inch) cake

Crust

2 cups (500 ml) biscuit crumbs, coarsely ground
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) ginger powder
1/3 cup (85 ml) melted butter

Filling

350 g (12 ounces) cream cheese
3/4 cup (185 ml) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup (125 ml) fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons (10 ml) grated orange rind

1. To prepare the crust: combine the biscuit crumbs, ginger, and butter. Press the crumb mixture into the base and 21/2 cm (1-inch) up the sides of a 20 cm (8-inch) springboard pan. Chill the base for 1/2 hour.
2. To prepare the filling: beat the cream cheese until smooth and gradually add the condensed milk, lemon juice, and orange rind, beating thoroughly. Alternatively, the ingredients can be combined in a food processor.
3. Pour the mixture into the crust, smooth it out, and chill to set.
Decorate the cake with the whipped cream and orange segments, or as desired.

KCB 12.26: Carob Fudge Cake

Carob Fudge Cake

This two-tiered carob cake is light in texture without the use of any eggs. The cake's light texture is due to the sour milk. Filled and iced with Carob Vienna Icing, it is an irresistible dessert.

PREPARATION TIME: 15 minutes
BAKING TIME: 30 minutes
YIELD: 1 two-tiered 20 cm (8-inch) carob fudge cake

125 g (4 ounces) butter, room temperature
1 cup (250 ml) caster sugar
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla essence
1 cup (250 ml) carob powder
1/2 cup (125 ml) hot water
2 teaspoons (10 ml) imitation chocolate essence (optional)
2 teaspoons (10 ml) fresh lemon juice
1 cup (250 ml) milk
12/3 cups (435 ml) plain flour
1 teaspoon (5 ml) baking powder
1 teaspoon (5 ml) bicarbonate of soda
pinch salt
Carob Vienna Icing

1. Cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Blend the carob powder in the hot water, add the imitation chocolate essence, and mix to a smooth paste. Gradually add the carob mixture to the butter and sugar mixture.
2. Add the lemon juice to the milk to sour It.
3. Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, and salt and add it to the creamed mixture alternately with sour milk. Mix thoroughly.
4. Spoon the cake mixture into two buttered 20 cm (8-inch) cake tins and bake in a moderate oven 180C/355F for 30 minutes or until the tops spring back when lightly pressed.
5. Allow the cakes to cool in their tins for 10 minutes. Turn out and allow to cool completely. Fill and ice with Carob Vienna Icing.

Carol Vienna Icing

125 g (4 ounces) butter
21/2 cups (625 ml) icing sugar
4 tablespoons (80 ml) carob powder
2 tablespoons (40 ml) hot water
1 teaspoon (5 ml) imitation chocolate essence (optional)

1. Beat the butter until creamy. Sift the sugar. Blend the carob powder with the hot water and chocolate essence. Add the icing sugar to the butter alternately with the carob mixture until it reaches a spreading consistency.
Alternative: spread the centre with jam and whipped cream. Cover and ice as above.

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