Peaches & Plums Tart

I love fruits. I can literally stuff my face with fruits all day. I like to call them desserts from heaven. Taking these small tokens of deliciousness and using them to make different types of desserts is so satisfying. I love to work with seasonal fruits. Monsoon brings the arrival of Peaches, Plums, Cherries and more. So using Peaches and Plums I have made an extremely simple rustic yet soul satisfying dessert – Peaches and Plums Tart. This style of making a tart is rustic and easy. We wont be making it in a tart shell but rather with puff pastry.

Puff pastry which was this difficult thing to procure in Mumbai, is now readily available in all supermarkets at a decent cost. I always keep a pack in my freezer. If used and stored right this can last you a while. I would suggest buying a packet and keeping it in the freezer because this helps you churn out crowd pleasers in a matter of minutes. You just need a good savory or sweet filling and you are sorted.

You can also make puff pastry and store it in the freezer. The process though long and tedious is not the issue, but the issue is the weather. If you are in a hot and humid city like Mumbai. You need to make in a room with AC. Or else it will be very difficult to attain the desired results. Coming back to the tart: the best thing about this tart is that it needs no measurements, it is almost like cooking, you taste the filling, you add more ingredients accordingly. I have given an approximation of the quantity of ingredients but you can use less or more as desired.

Peaches & Plums Tart

Ingredients:

  • 3 Peaches
  • 3 – 4 Plums
  • 2 – 4 Tablespoon Honey
  • 1 egg, for egg wash
  • Puff Pastry, thawed

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180 C.
  • Cut the peaches and plums in to thin slices. Drizzle honey on it and mix. Start with one tablespoon of honey and keep checking for sweetness. Stop when you reach the desired sweetness.
  • Cut a portion of thawed puff pastry and roll it into 4 inches by 10/12 inches thin rectangle.
  • Poke holes using a fork into the pastry sheet. Then using a pastry brush, brush the egg on to the sheet.
  • Imagine a 1.5 cm border around the sheet. Leaving that much space, start placing the fruits one by one. If you have juices from the fruit left in the bowl do not throw it away.
  • Close the border onto fruits and brush the border with egg.
  • Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or till risen and brown.
  • After the tart is done, taking a brush, brush the leftover juices on the fruit.
  • Serve warm.

Notes:

  • If you are using puff pastry for the first time, I would like to point out that puff pastry is not like a pie or cookie dough where you can re-roll and use the trimmings because it is made in such a way that it forms layers of dough and butter. Re-rolling will damage the layers thus making it not rise. So cut only a portion because you will be rolling it thin. The portion you will cut will double/triple up when rolled so cut accordingly.
  • Store the remaining puff pastry wrapped in plastic wrap in the freezer. And whenever need be, you can remove, let it thaw and then use it.
  • I have used Peaches and Plum, you can use any other fruit you want. The concept is to keep it simple, rustic and tasty.
  • You can use sugar instead of honey.
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Lemon & Rosemary Loaf Cake

Valentine’s Day is upon us. This year I will be showcasing the desserts I love. I will either be posting tried and tested recipes, which I have baked time again and have never disappointed me or I will be giving a special twist to my favorite desserts.  People declare their love for their special someone. This year I will declare or showcase my love for my favorite recipes and my special someone is going to enjoy eating them.

I am starting this series with the light and refreshing Lemon and Rosemary Loaf Cake. I love tea cakes. Their flavor profile is so simple, yet they are so delicious. Simplicity takes the cake sometimes (literally taking the cake in this scenario). The cake is pretty much very simple to make. My family loves this cake so much its over in one sitting. So don’t expect any leftovers if your family also loves desserts like mine.

Lemon & Rosemary Loaf Cake

Lemon & Rosemary Loaf

 

Ingredients –

Cake –

  • 135 gms butter, melted
  •  215 gms castor sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Few Rosemary Sprigs, chopped
  • 1/3 teaspoon vanilla
  • 170 ml milk, room temperature
  • 235 gms all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

Candied Lemon Slices –

  • 1 lemon
  • 100 gms sugar
  • 150 gms water

Lemon Syrup –

  • 100gms sugar
  • 150 gms water
  • Juice and zest of 1 Lemon
  • 1 sprig of rosemary

Method –

Cake –

  • Preheat the oven to 180 C. Grease a 7in x 3.5in loaf pan and line it with parchment paper.
  • Melt the butter and set it aside to cool.
  • In a bowl sift the flour and baking powder.
  • Using a stand mixer – mix sugar, eggs, lemon zest, rosemary and vanilla until well combined.
  • Alternate adding the flour and milk, one third at a time to the sugar and egg mixture. Mix well.
  •  Add the melted butter in the end. Mix until well incorporated.
  • Pour the batter in the pan and bake for 40 – 50 minutes on 180 C.
  • Keep checking the cake after 40 minutes whether it is done by poking a toothpick inside and it should come out clean.
  • As the cake is baking get ready with the Candied Lemon Slices and Lemon syrup.

Candied Lemon Slices –

  • Cut thin slices of a lemon.
  • In a saucepan add sugar and water. Let it come to a boil.
  • Add the lemon slices and let is simmer for about 20 minutes or till the water is almost evaporated.
  • Remove the slices and let them dry on a plate for 5 – 10 minutes.

Lemon Syrup –

  • In a saucepan – add sugar, water, lemon juice and rosemary. Cook on medium heat till the mixture is thick for about 5 minutes. Make sure you don’t overcook it as it will reach the soft ball stage and wont be a syrup consistency anymore.
  • Strain the syrup and keep it ready.
  • When the cake is baked. Remove from the pan and while its hot pour the warm syrup on it. Let it cool. Arrange the candied slices on top.
  • Cut into slices and serve warm with a cup of tea.

Espresso Cupcakes

Coffee and desserts have a long loving relationship. Who doesn’t love coffee in their desserts. Rather who doesn’t love coffee! I love coffee. And I love it more in my desserts. It gives the dish a perfect bitter note, with a hint of its wonderful aroma. We all have added coffee to our chocolate cake and the obvious tiramisu. But making coffee the hero flavor in a cake is something totally different. Also if you are craving for a caffeine kick and sugar rush at the same time, this is the path to follow.

A few suggestions –

Please use good quality coffee for perfect results.

This batch can also make a two layer 6 inch cake.

Espresso Cupcakes

Makes about 10 cupcakes.

Ingredients –

Cupcake –

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 45 grams butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon coffee

Buttercream –

  • 2 cups icing sugar, sifted
  • 85 grams butter
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon coffee

Method –

  • Brew the coffee with milk for the batter and icing. Strain and let it come to room temperature.
  • Preheat oven to 170 C.
  • Sift the flour and baking powder.
  • In a stand mixer/hand mixer cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Strain 1/2 cup coffee and add to the mixture.  Mix until combined.
  • Add the flour and mix. Do not over mix the batter.
  • Line the cupcake pan with liners. Fill the liners 2/3 with the batter. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  • For the buttercream – In a stand mixer/hand mixer cream the sugar and butter for about 2 minutes.
  • Strain the 1/3 cup of the brewed coffee in a small bowl.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of the coffee at a time to the sugar mixture. Keep mixing after every addition. Whip until the mixture is soft but can hold stiff peaks. This should take around 5 to 7 minutes.
  • If the mixture is too soft add more sugar. If it is too stiff add more coffee.
  • Let the cupcakes cool completely before piping the buttercream.

 

Sunday Brunch at JW Sahar, Mumbai

I was invited by JW Sahar, Mumbai, for the celebration of their 1st anniversary Sunday Brunch. As sunday brunches are to be enjoyed with friends and family. We organized a small bloggers table as the #FTBBloggersMeet FTB being Fat Toxic Bawarchi, our as in me, Mohit Chotrani and Roshan Shetty‘s Youtube venture. JW Sahar’s buffet are known to be lavish. I think they are one of those very few 5-stars which have Sushi on their buffet. Obviously I was excited. I thought it is the anniversary brunch so the expectations were high. Were the expectations met? Definitely.

As soon you enter the Cafe, first thing you see is that there are three tables filled with intricately crafted artisan desserts. Well lets just say they had me at the entry. The dessert spread is huge, but the exciting part is the innovative desserts. You will see different theme desserts on each table. One theme was based on circus, bright color chocolates, cupcakes and a huge 3 tier cake. Another one was travel theme. Where a chocolate plane is plain amazing. Third one chocolates in the shape of lips, lipsticks and gold bars. Oh wait, there was a fourth! A modern electronics theme like tablets, computers shaped desserts. As you are mesmerized by the desserts and you literally drag yourself towards your table. You move ahead and on your left you find a big tub of Alaskan Crab. And you know you are going to stuff your face with it. Somehow I moved to my table while eyeing a brushetta counter with the different toppings and breads.

After all the hi and hellos, I got to work. Now I obviously couldn’t eat everything there, cause apart from desserts, 2 seafood counters, there was a Japanese sushi and soup counter, a whole section of Italian, Thai, Mexican, Indian, add a bit of British touch with pot pies, a whole roasted chicken and pork belly. Probably a few more other things that I missed. Oh! Waffle counter and Ice cream counter. And obviously a cocktail counter. Lets just say there is something for everyone.

I am going to keep this post short and sweet, and tell you exactly what I loved. Alaskan Crab. One thing you have to eat is the Alaskan Crab. The crab was extremely tasty. Soft and silky with the melt in your mouth feel. Next was sushi. Do I need to write more after Sushi. I think not. Coming to the Pot Pie, I kind of liked the pot pie in a weird way. As you break the crust on top. You realize it is hollow from inside. The filling was very little. On the first bite. It may seem okay. But as you keep eating it, which weirdly I did. You kind of start liking it. The flavors are subtle. Though the ramekin is big and filling less. But seemed apt for a buffet.

Next we head to quail eggs. Tasted quail eggs for the first time and I must say I liked them. Different yet same than regular eggs. These tiny half fried eggs were a tasty treat. My friend aka blogger Jagurti Punjabi got this amazing tiny fish delicacy from the Thai counter. Which was so good! I have no idea what exactly it was. But it was fish in a cupcake wrapper type leaf and cooked with the same leaf. Topped with a delicious sauce.

Now comes the dessert. I feel the chocolates were the best part of the buffet. Most of them were truffles made with dark chocolate. So a bite of those heavenly chocolate with the perfect dark chocolate ganache inside is a pure treat. I liked the berry dessert and a bit of drama that was added to it. The cheesecake and berry cake were splendid.

Why would I recommend this buffet. Well firstly it has a huge spread and upon asking the manager said, that the spread is like this every Sunday, just the theme keeps changing. Secondly, the food is amazing. It is not just the variety but you have to see the type of variety that is offered. Seafood like crab, prawns, fish, mussels. Chicken, pork, and a good variety of vegetarian options also. Food is everywhere here. And you can eat as much as you want. I am already planning for my next brunch there, I advise you do the same.

5 Food Documentaries You Need To Watch

Majority of my time goes in thinking about food, talking about food and obviously eating food. But there is also a time when I am watching movies, videos and documentaries about food. We all have seen movies that have inspired us to walk in the kitchen the minute its over and start cooking. But there are these amazing and eye opening documentaries also, that make you feel the same.

I have watched some over time and probably you have too, if you haven’t seen these 5 documentaries, my suggestion please do!

I am still in the process of watching more and more documentaries or movies about food. But till date I think these are the ones which have stuck with me and encouraged me to try cooking.

Without further ado here are the 5 Food Documentaries which will make you start cooking –

1 – Chef’s Table

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Chef’s Table is a Netflix Documentary which takes us to the world of some of the best chefs in the world. How they work, what their inspiration is, why they do what they do. It is an amazing insight on getting to know how these wonderful minds work. Food is just not food but so much more for them. An outlet for their creativity, the inspiration is just magical.

2 – Cooked

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Cooked is again a Netflix Documentary based on  Michael Pollan’s book Cooked. It showcases the part that is lost nowadays and which is our primal nature “to cook” To this new world of processed food, how we have lost the art of cooking and how we need to go back to our roots and understand this process. How to live and eat healthy.

3 – Fed Up

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Fed up is an eye opening documentary on how the processed food and fast food chains are dominating our world and the adverse effects it has on our body. The focus being on the ever growing obesity problem in USA. An insight on how the big food companies are just not playing with our heads but our future also.

4 – That Sugar Film

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That Sugar Film similar like Fed Up is based on similar lines. But has a slight different approach. It shows how a healthy man goes on an apparently so called “healthy food” diet and the effects on his body. It is really interesting on what these food companies will feed you for their own gain.

5 – Spinning Plates

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Spinning Plates shows us three interesting and inspiring stories about 3 different chefs and restaurants in different parts of America. From the struggle and hardships a 3 Michelin Star restaurant Chef faces. To the disasters that hit the three generation old Breitbach restaurant, and their will and strength to get up and work again. A story about a hardworking family man who wants to earn money for his family and wants his wife’s passion cooking to succeed.

If you have seen all 5, hifi! If you haven’t, please do. It is insightful, inspirational and fascinating, and over all its about FOOD!

If you have seen some interesting ones please do let me know by leaving a comment below.

 

Pumpkin Pie

So I had planned to post it before Thanksgiving but its me and I get late. But better late than never. Here I present to you first time ever – Pumpkin Pie. But first of all a bit Gyaan (information) –

We bakers usually complain that most of the international desserts cant be made over here cause of one constant reason “That INGREDIENT is not available” but I always wonder why nobody bakes/sells a Pumpkin dessert. Pumpkin is ample available here. Or is it our logic of “who will eat Kadu” So I am breaking this … whatever this myth/reasons/blah blah is and baking a Pumpkin Pie.

Without further ado here goes –

This recipe is for enough for 8 inch Pie.

Pumpkin Pie

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First Pumpkin Puree –

Ingredients –

  • Half decent size Pumpkin / 4 cups chopped Pumpkin
  • Water

Method –

Boil pieces of Pumpkin until soft. I used pressure cooker.

Drain the water. In a food processor puree the pumpkin. In a muslin / cheesecloth let the Pumpkin puree hang for at least 2 hours. As Pumpkin will loose a lot of extra water.

While the puree is getting ready. Get started with the Pie Crust.

Pie Crust –

Ingredients –

  • 1 1/3 cup flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 100 grams cold Butter cut into pieces
  • 3 – 4 tablespoons cold water

Method –

In a food processor pulse flour, salt, sugar or whisk it in a large bowl.

Add butter and pulse again until sandy texture. Or mix it with a whisk/spoon/hand by rubbing the butter with the flour.

Add 1 tablespoon of water and knead with your hand. Keep adding cold water till the mixture begins to hold together and forms a dough.

Form a ball and wrap it in a plastic wrap and let it chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour or up to 24 hours. Remove the dough, sprinkle some flour on the surface and roll it to 10 inch disk for a 8 inch pie pan.

Grease the pie pan with butter and flour. Put the rolled dough onto the pan, press slightly around so it will take the shape of the pan.

Preheat the oven – 180 C

Cut a square piece of parchment paper and put it on top of the dough. Put some raw rice/beans as pie weights on the paper.

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the pie weights and bake more for 10 minutes until golden brown.

Remove and let it cool.

Pumpkin –

Ingredients –

  • 3/4 Pumpkin Puree
  • 1 eggs
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornflour/cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground clove
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup cream

Method –

Preheat oven 180 C

In a large bowl whisk everything until combine.

Pour the mixture into the cooled Pie crust and bake for 35 to 40 minutes till the sides are set and center slight wobbly.

Let it cool for an hour and then cut into slices or just dig in.

If any question or comments or reviews if you tried the recipe please do let me know in the comments section below.

 

Dim Sum, Dim Sum and more Dim Sum

That is probably the mantra of Spices, JW Marriott, Juhu, Mumbai, for their Dimsum Festival. I was one of the lucky people to be a part of their grand blogger’s table hosted by JW Marriott and FBAI. Now who doesn’t love Dimsum. Dim sum traditionally is served with tea as a light snack. But, the love for Dim Sum we have is so great, that we want to eat it in every meal. And we wont stop till we haven’t stuffed ourselves with as much as Dim Sum we can get. So here I was ready to hog on as much Dim Sum as I can.

JW Marriott has groped in a new Dim Sum chef, Chef Tenzin Khechok (who by the way is one more addition to their band of good looking young chefs) unwanted information there but just saying.

Now coming back to the food. Obviously the food was great. Obviously we stuffed our selves with as much as Dim Sum as we could. Even we though we felt the quantity could have been more because of the sheer amount of bloggers that were called. But still we got to taste a lot of delicious Dim Sum and most importantly I started eating Prawns. So lets see how that went –

Prawn Har Gow –

Prawn Har Gow

Prawn Har Gow

Har Gow is basically known as the Shrimp Dumpling. According to Wikipedia, this is the dumpling, where the skill of a Dim Sum Chef is judged on. Well then according to me, Chef Khechok nailed it. The dough was soft, translucent, and prawn inside was perfect. Well what can I say he converted me to start eating prawns again.

Chef Tenzin’s Specialty – Edamame and Truffle –

Chef Tenzin's Specialty - Edamame and Truffle

Chef Tenzin’s Specialty – Edamame and Truffle

This is one of the vegetarian option. But this is a Chef’s special which is a must must try! I will not say how wonderful it tastes. You seriously have to go and try that yourself.

Chicken Shanghai “Pan Fried” –

Chicken Shanghai "Pan Fried"

Chicken Shanghai “Pan Fried”

Chicken Shangai is also one of those dishes that keeps you wanting more. These perfectly cooked pan fried stuffed Chicken Dim Sum is also one of the heroes of the night.

Vegetable Chive –

Vegetable Chive

Vegetable Chive

Chive infused vegetable dumpling was really nice. I ll just say its filled with vegetables which in fact are so perfectly mixed, you don’t care it whether they are ones you eat or don’t, because it is that delicious.

Vegetable Shanghai “Pan Fried” –

Vegetable Shanghai "Pan Fried"

Vegetable Shanghai “Pan Fried”

The vegetable version of the pan fried Shanghai is decent, but if you can please opt for the chicken one.

Vegetable Crystal Dumpling –

Vegetable Crystal Dumpling

Vegetable Crystal Dumpling

Crystal clear vegetable dumpling is also a winner. Filled with delicious vegetables, you will almost not miss the meat for once. Dough as you can see apart from being crystal clear is also light and nice.

Sticky Rice with Prawn and Chicken in Lotus Leaf –

Sticky Rice with Prawn and Chicken in Lotus Leaf

Sticky Rice with Prawn and Chicken in Lotus Leaf

This is the dish, I feel you can totally avoid. It is very mediocre compared to other delicious delicacies.

For all those of you who love desserts –

Hot Chocolate Bun –

Hot Chocolate Bun

Hot Chocolate Bun

Sweet and Chocolate dough filled melted chocolate ganache. Is a very basic and simple twist to a dessert Dim Sum. If you like melted chocolate then this is the dessert for you. Unfortunately I am very picky when it comes to desserts also. So I will pass this one.

All in all the JW Dim Sum Week is an absolute go for people who love Dim Sum. And for a nice price for 1999 plus taxes for unlimited dim sum at Marriott, it is definitely a deal. Best part the number of vegetarian and non vegetarian options are almost the same, which makes it perfect for everyone.