Sunday, August 30, 2009

Warm Croissant Pudding

Quick, easy-to-assemble, deceptively sinful

What you need:
3 croissants – crunchy on the outside, soft and airy on the inside. We bought these at Daily Bread.
200 gms caster sugar
60 ml water, to caramelize the sugar
125 ml full cream
125 ml full fat milk
60 ml bourbon. If you’re unfortunate like us, and don’t have this, use rum. Like we did. It works well too. (if you think you’d it a little stiffer, go ahead and indulge yourself ☺)
1 egg, beaten.

What you need to do:
First of all, preheat the oven at 200 degrees centigrade for about 15 minutes. While that’s getting done, roughly tear the croissants and place the pieces in a baking dish.

In a saucepan, put the caster sugar and 60 ml water and stir (without heat) till the sugar has dissolved almost completely. This took longer than we anticipated, and I can safely say my right arm was well exercised. Then put the mixture on a medium to low flame and allow it to caramelize. This should take about 5 minutes or so, and the mixture should turn relatively thick and amber in color. At this point, we have to say, our concoction didn’t turn amber as expect ☹ it was just thick and whitish-gray, but that didn’t deter our enthusiasm. We went ahead with it anyway.

Once caramelized, add the full cream, ignoring all sputtering and splattering, while you continue to stir steadily.

Then quickly add in the milk as well. Next goes in 60 ml…ok 120 ml of rum. Make sure you’re stirring it the whole time or the mixture tends to solidify around the edges and this is not what you want. Especially after step 1 didn’t go as planned.

Continue to stir till the mixture turns into a toffee kind of slurry. Again, we must stop to mention that our mixture didn’t turn into “toffee” as we know it. That’s probably because the sugar didn’t turn amber either. But it did SMELL deliciously toffee-like, so we went ahead nonetheless.
Take the saucepan off the flame and add the beaten egg, while stirring it in. Make sure it doesn’t scramble too much, as it would tend to.

Next you simply need to pour the mixture evenly over the pieces of croissant, and stick it in the oven for 20 minutes, at 200 degrees centigrade. It’s ridiculously simple, and smells heavenly as it bakes.

All you need to do next is swoon as the warm rummy, toffee smells waft from the oven. And wait in anticipation.

When done, take it out, allow it to cool slightly but enjoy while sill warm.
We imagine: it would taste even better if you drizzle some Kahlua or Irish Cream over it. YUM!

I’d like to thank VC for being such a sport. For being ever ready with his camera to go click-clicking whenever I’m in the mood to experiment. Also, I thank him for being my eternal guinea pig, and bravely tasting almost everything I make.

PS: You need to click the pictures to view them enlarged, becuase otherwise its just no good.

Acknowledgements by VC:
• Aditi for letting us waltz into her kitchen on a Sunday afternoon, and make ourselves at home, and turn it into a laboratory/photo studio yet again.
• Reva for her enthusiasm to make something again.
Nigella for her lusciously lovely recipes that whet Reva’s appetite and curiosity enough to tempt her to give it a try.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Gooey Apple Cinnamon Cake

What do you do when you dont have a muffin tray? You make a cake instead!

We’ve made cake since we didn’t have the moulds for muffins.

You will need

 - 2 apples

- 1 tablespoon of cinnamon powder (cinnamon sticks can also be ground into this)

- 1 cup sugar

- A handful of brown sugar

- Quarter teaspoon salt

- Unsalted butter

- 1 egg

- 1 teaspoon baking powder

- 1 cup regular flour (maida)

- 1 cup wheat flour

- Curd

- And an oven

You will also need the basic other stuff like bowls, cutlery, plates and a baking dish.

If you have a tablespoon of cinnamon power, great. If not, take the sticks and grind them. Remember we’re aiming for a tablespoon of powder, not chunks or pieces. So you will have to grind this and then use a strainer. Once that’s done…

Take the two apples and skin them. We don’t want the skins because they kinda ruin the taste. Also, skins are waxed these days to make apples look shinier. We don’t want that. So we discard the skins.

Take a big mixing bowl and add one cup of regular flour,one cup of wheat flour, a teaspoon of baking powder, the tablespoon of cinnamon powder and a quarter of a teaspoon of salt. Make sure you mix this well so that all four ingredients are evenly distributed. 

Next, take the unsalted butter and cut away a generous piece. Then chop it to shards. Ideally you should be using butter which is at room temperature, but we being amateurs, we pulled it right outta the refrigerator and decided to make it work instead of waiting for it to warm up. We’re aiming to get half a cup of unsalted butter. We then have to cream it. Creaming essentially means that you need to use a fork (probably works best) and kneed it till it looks like whipped cream. It needs to be a nice thick substance, rather than lumps of butter we started out with. 

At this point, set the oven at 220 degrees centigrade. The reason we’re doing this is because the oven will have to be preheated for 20 minutes before we put the batter in. It should take us roughly 20 minutes to get it ready from this point.
Then take a cup of sugar and put it in the blender. When it becomes powdery fine, add it to the butter and continue kneading. Make sure it’s mixed well. Ideally you should use a fork when mixing, but if you’re slightly short on patience, feel free to get your hands in there.

Add in an egg, and beat. Then add in a bowl of curd and beat again. At this point, make sure you don't over beat after adding the curd. (If you over mix, the curd will cause the mixture to curdle). So do it quickly.  

Great, now once that’s done, add the mixture into the dry ingredients. Mix again.

Remember, your skinned apples are still lying on the counter. Chop it up into chunks and add that into the batter. Then mix. Your batter is now ready. Go ahead and try it. 

Pull out your baking dish, grease it with butter and line it with flour. Again, this is important simply because you don’t want the pie to stick to the dish when you pull it out of the oven.

Put the batter into the baking dish, spread it out and sprinkle some brown sugar on it. 

If 20 minutes are done, stick the dish into the oven. 

We had to pull it out coz we realized that the oven was not switched on. We just set the temperature and forgot to switch it on. This time, we switched it on and made sure the red light came on. 

After 20 minutes we stuck the dish into the oven again… and prayed. Even our granny joined us. After all, we hoped that we didn’t screw up. 

After 10 minutes of baking, lower the temperature to 220 degrees centigrade and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes. Once done, pull it out.  
We pulled it out and extracted it from the baking dish with much difficulty. We had to turn it over and give it a few whacks so that it would come out. Then we turned it over again.

Now cut it up and serve. We had it with Vanilla ice cream but I’ve been told, it tastes yummmm with custard as well. Trust me, our prayers worked. It was gooooooodddddd… 



 - Reva again for baking it just right.

- Aditi for letting us use her kitchen again, and this time, remaining completely calm during the whole process.

- Shanta and Leela for helping us cut and pound when we were not doing it right.

- Dodda for praying.

- I know I should be thanking someone here for the recipe…..humm…oh yes…

- Reva said that I should also credit the photographer as well. I will do so by thanking myself here.

Until next time, STAY HUNGRY AND EXCITED!!!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Oreo Fudge Brownies

A dummies guide to making great brownies

This is a dummies guide to making great chocolate brownies. Mushy at the core with little lumps of chocolate and crunchy on the surface.

I’ve never stepped into a kitchen.But this an easy tutorial. A step-by-step procedure,supplemented with pictures, which I will follow.

Lets get started. This serves (I would like to think 1) four healthy people. You will need the following…

- 400 gms - Cooking chocolate. You will get slabs of these in any super market. You can even use dark chocolate. We went with regular to be safe.

- Cooking butter also known as unsalted butter – also available in any super market.

- A box of Oreo cookies

- Sugar

- A food processor (for those who don’t know what a food processor is, it’s one of those things that convert lumps to powder, popularly known as grinders). See, this really is a dummies guide.

- Three eggs

- A tablespoon of vanilla essence

- Baking powder

- Some basic stuff that you would find in a kitchen, like bowls, a stove and some cutlery.

- Some non-basic stuff that you would find in a kitchen like an oven and a food processor.

- And if you really wana have some fun making your brownies, get amacbook and play some music on it. 

Once that’s out of the way, pick up a big bowl and put 6 to 7 tablespoons of unsalted butter in it. Then add the chocolate shards in. 

Now this is tricky so pay attention. You have to melt the chocolate and the butter until it becomes a thick, liquidy, and heavenly substance as seen below.

But make sure that when you melt it, you use two bowls. This is very important. Keep the outer bowl directly on the stove and fill it with water (refer the picture below). Then keep the smaller bowl, which contains the chocolate shards and the butter inside the larger bowl containing water. The idea here is to gradually heat the chocolate; otherwise you may end up burning it. So effectively, the water gets hot, and in turn the chocolate and butter melt. Oh before I forget, keep stirring this slowly with a spoon till you get the above results. If your forearms start hurting, switch hands.

Now spare a moment to take a whiff. I can promise you, it ‘s one of the best smells ever.  I love the smell of petrol and make it a point to take deep breaths whenever I refuel at a station. I can proudly say that this smelt marginally better. Keep the chocolate aside for a bit (it needs to cool down).

After you’re done taking deep breaths, if you can get yourself to stop, get one and a quarter cups of sugar and throw that in your food processor. (Just the sugar, not the bowl).

You need to turn those granules into powder. So fine that you should be able to inhale it.You can also manually grind this with a pound. But you will have a lot more difficulty inhaling, if done this way.  WAIT. DO NOT INHALE. That was just to give you an idea of how fine it should be.
Great, now put that into a big empty bowl and add three eggs to it. Crack the eggs open with a fork or a knife. Do not squish them with your bare hands (even if you think that’s more fun).

Grab a fork and start beating (Make a quick clockwise rotation with the fork) until mixed thoroughly.

Now add one tablespoon of vanilla essence and beat again. Take a moment to smell the vanilla essence. Not as good as the petrol smell but still worth it.

Now take both of your greatest creations, combine them and stir (also known as “folding”) well.

If it looks somewhat like this, you’re on the right track. 

We’re still not done. Another 40% to go. Add in 1 cup of flour (popularly known as “Maida” in India) as shown below. Then “fold”.

Phew, when it looks something like this (below), add one tablespoon of baking powder. Then “fold” again. 

It’s time to rip open the box of Oreo biscuits. Break the Oreo biscuits into small pieces as shown below.  

Now add a little flour to the broken Oreos. Half a cup should suffice. Mix them up with your hands. This is to ensure that the Oreo biscuits are lined with a layer of flour so that they don’t stick to the chocolate immediately.

Throw in the Oreos as well and... “fold”.

Doesn’t that look nice and lumpy? Smell it some more. Aaaahhhhh... does anyone remember petrol anymore?

Now find a baking dish or a baking tin. Grease it with butter and line it (also called “dusting”) with flour as shown below. You want to make sure you do this. If you don’t, believe me, the baked brownies will stick to the base of the baking dish and will not come out unless scraped.

Now transfer the mush into the baking dish. All we need to do now, is to shove it in an oven. You need to pre-heat the oven for 30 minutes at 150 degrees centigrade. This means that you should have done this 30 minutes ago. Then shove the mush in for another 35 minutes. DO NOT open the oven before time.

After 35 minutes, open the oven and stick a toothpick into the brownie.  If the toothpick comes back out clean, its ready and you can safely pull the brownie out of the oven. If the toothpick comes out with come dough stuck on it, you’ve messed up big time. Stick the dish back into the oven and continue to bake. Repeat the toothpick test process every 10 minutes. If the toothpick doesn’t  come out clean after 5 attempts, book your losses, quit wasting more time on it and start all over again.  This time, pay more attention.

On the other hand, if all goes well, (J) it should look like this (below) when you pull it out from the oven. 

Cut it into pieces, force it out of that dish and sprinkle powdered sugar on it. Enough time wasted. Sink your teeth in.

Best served with vanilla ice cream, but feel free to get creative.



Reva for her willingness to make me these brownies.For having the patience to tolerate my camera and for being hungry and excited.

My mother-in-law (below) for losing it just ONCE when we were busy messing up her kitchen and more importantly, when we almost broke her baking dish. 

Praerna Arora for sharing this recipe with Reva and inspiring her to try it at least once so she could discover her domestic side.

Lastly Oprah, for sharing this recipe with Praerna through her website.