Fruit Loaded Pancake!

27 Oct

Weekends call for indulgence, but wouldn’t it be even better if you could add a healthy twist to kick start your weekend? My fruit loaded pancake might just be the answer. It’s so simple to make, trying it on a weekday is not a bad idea either. In just about 15 minutes you’ll have a healthy breakfast option ready.

To get started , here are the ingredients you need  for the pancake (serves 1)

3/4th Cup all purpose flour

2 teaspoons melted butter

1/2 egg

1/4th cup milk

2 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

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For caramelized fruits, use any fruits of your choice and dice them. I chose apples, bananas, oranges, pomegranate and kiwi.  Also keep 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of butter ready.

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Step 1

Mix all the ingredients for the pancake batter together. The consistency of the mix should be semi liquid. Ensure it’s not too watery or not too stiff.

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Step 2

Now to caramelize the fruits, heat some butter and sugar in a pan. Toss the diced fruits in it and mix it together in a medium flame. Cook the fruits until they start oozing out some juice and the sugar has completely melted and mixed with the fruits (be careful not to overcook and don’t let the fruits turn brown). Put the caramelized fruits aside in a bowl.

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Step 3

I chose to cook my pancake in the same pan which I used to caramelize the fruits so the leftovers of the caramelized fruits could lend some flavour to the pancake while its getting cooked, I strongly recommend you do the same. Heat some butter and pour the pancake batter in the pan. Let it cook till both sides are golden brown.

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Step 4

This is an optional step, while some choose to spread butter on their pancake, I had to do something to fulfil my chocolate craving here, so I decided to spread a generous helping of Nutella.

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Step 5

Place the caramelized fruits on top of the pancake and drizzle some Maple Syrup or Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup on it.  That’s it, now go dig into your Fruit Loaded Pancake!

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When In New York, Eat Dessert First!

25 Oct

Soon after booking my tickets to New York I was already dreaming about all the food I was going to binge on there, specially the desserts. There’s so much to the dessert culture of New York, so much to explore and ofcourse SO many yummies to try.

So there we were, my best friend Naimeesha and I on a mission – on the streets of New York at 8.30 am on a bright and beautiful Saturday morning. Our first stop – The Diner on 9th Ave in Soho where we ordered a gigantic blueberry pancake. We had our doubts about finishing it, but before we knew it the pancake was gone.  It almost melted in my mouth and the fresh blueberries added so much texture to every bite.

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We had the rest of the day planned and it was pretty simple – eat, walk, eat, walk and keep doing that over and over again. Next, we landed up in the bustling Chelsea Market, just down the street from The Diner. There were so many cute little, creative bakeries and I wanted to get a bite from each one of them.

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A bright pink wall and irresistible aroma invited me into ‘Eleni’s’ bakery. Though my mind said “no, stop!” as I walked towards the counter to order my chocolate cupcake, my heart said “you would be a fool to say no to that piece of goodness”. Ofcourse, the heart won and how thankful I am that it did. It would be a shame to have missed that cupcake.

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As we started walking again (barely ten meters) we made a quick pit stop at ‘Ninth Street Espresso’. After all, you can never be too full for coffee.

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Turns out, the coffee did fill us up more than we thought and eventhough I walked into Magnolia Bakery, almost reached the counter to order but finally decided I had to walk more to digest all that had been binged on in the last two hours. I always wanted to hold that cupcake and sit right outside Magnolia Bakery with my best friend (just like Carrie and Miranda from the famous scene in Sex and the City) but well, maybe next time.

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After many hours of walking around in Soho and an intentional light lunch, we walked into ‘Georgetown Cupcake’. That chocolate ganache cupcake had ‘bite me’ written all over it. Being a die hard chocolate fan, it would have been a crime to shift my loyalties to any other flavour. So I decided to get a bit greedy and get two cupcakes. My second choice was the ‘Key Lime Cupcake’ and I can proudly say that it was one of the best dessert choices I’ve made. The key lime left such an interesting, tangy taste in my mouth with every bite. What a perfect end it was to an absolutely ‘sweet’ (literally) day!

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I just about managed to scratch the surface of New York’s best bakeries with this dessert expedition, just can’t wait to visit again.

Heavenly Blueberry Panna Cotta!

29 Jun

I know a lot of people who are apprehensive about the idea of making desserts. For most people, cooking a whole meal is much easier than making the dessert alone because it is often believed that making desserts is a time consuming task and involves a whole lot of ingredients. But here’s the good news – you can actually make a delicious dessert with minimum ingredients. For all those who want to start out easy, here is a simple recipe of a Blueberry Panna Cotta that can be made in just a few minutes.

Ingredients

200 ML Cream

50 ML Milk

50 Grams Sugar

1 Teaspoon Gelatin

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Blueberry Jam

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Step 1

In a pan, mix the cream, milk, vanilla extract and sugar on medium flame. Let it blend till the sugar has completely dissolved.

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Step 2

Heat 20 ML water and mix the gelatin powder in it. Once the gelatin has dissolved completely, pour the mix into the pan with the cream, milk and sugar and stir well.

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Step 3

In the serving glass, pour some blueberry jam. Now pour the panna cotta mix on it.

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Step 4

Place the panna cotta in the fridge and let it set for atleast 4 hours

Step 5

Take it out of the fridge just before serving and top it with a layer of blueberry jam again.

That’s it, get ready to indulge 🙂

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Juicy Mango Tarts!

13 May

Mangoes mangoes everywhere…wondering what dessert to make? If you have already tried the mango mousse and mango cheesecake from my recipes, it’s now time to try the mango tarts. These no hassle tarts are good to indulge in at any time of the day, especially with your evening tea or coffee!

For fresh, crispy tart base, follow the sweet paste recipe from here

For the filling, you need these ingredients

Custard powder – 4 teaspoons (heaped)

Milk – 2 cups

Caster Sugar – 40 gms

Mango pulp – ½ mango

Sliced mangoes – 2

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Step 1

Heat the milk and sugar in a vessel and stir until the sugar dissolves completely.

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Step 2

In a bowl take a small part of the milk and mix it with the custard powder (not on the stove) until it dissolves completely and is free of lumps. Now add this custard mix to the remaining milk and sugar mix

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Step 3

Mix until the custard reaches a semi solid stage. At this point, add the mango pulp and mix for some more time at a low flame.

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Step 4

Take the custard mix off the stove and let it cool. Refrigerate it for 2 hours before piping it into the tarts

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Step 5

Top it with freshly cut mango pieces.

Your awesome summer dessert is ready 🙂

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Egg-less Chocolate Loaded Mousse

30 Apr

A very common notion is that eggless desserts never taste as good as the ones with egg. Well, it can be true in some cases but not in all. There are some recipes that will never be the same without eggs but then there are those that will turn out just as good without compromising on the taste and texture. One such recipe is that of the ‘mousse’. A chocolate mousse is a classic dessert, a popular choice with all age groups and it works well with different taste buds. Here is an easy recipe of an eggless chocolate mousse

Ingredients

80 gms dark/cooking chocolate

400 ml fresh cream

40 gms caster sugar (or to taste)

½ cup milk

1 teaspoon custard powder

2 teaspoons Gelatin

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Step 1

Make chocolate ganache by mixing 200 ml fresh cream with 80 gms of dark chocolate on a double boiler. Once the chocolate has blended well with the cream, let it cool and refrigerate it.

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Step 2

Whip the remaining 200 ml cream with an electric whisker until it thickens. Instead of whipping the cream you can also use 200 ml of whipped cream directly. Place it in the fridge once whipped.

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Step 3

You can replace eggs with a custard mix. Heat ½ cup milk and add 40 gms sugar in it and stir continuously till the sugar melts. In a small bowl add very little milk to 1 teaspoon of custard powder to ensure the consistency is smooth and no lumps are formed.

Now add this mix to the milk and sugar on the stove and stir continuously till the mix thickens.

You can replace this custard mix with eggs in any mousse recipe.

Quick tip : Try to use a non-stick vessel while making this mix because custard mix tends to stick to the bottom

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Step 4

Now mix the chocolate ganache, whipped cream and custard mix together.

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Step 5

Add 2 teaspoons of gelatin to 20 ml of luke warm water. Stir continuously. Once it has mixed well, add it to the rest of the ingredients

Quick Tip: Replace Gelatin with Agar Agar if you wish to make this recipe vegetarian.

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Gelatin mixed with luke warm water

Step 6

Place the mix either in glasses or silicon moulds and let refrigerate it for atleast 4 hours

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Serve it chilled with some choco chips or any other garnish 🙂

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Chocolate & Fresh Fruit Tarts

23 Apr

People often associate desserts with something they eat after a meal, post lunch or dinner. How about making something that you can munch on at any time of the day? (yes, I know that’s dangerous for the weight watchers ;)) Here is a simple recipe of a Chocolate & Fresh Fruit Tart, best suited for a tea party!

For the sweet paste

Unsalted Butter – 60 gms

Icing Sugar – 30 gms

Flour – 125 gms

½ an egg (medium sized)

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For the Chocolate Ganache

Fresh Cream – 100 ml

Dark/Cooking Chocolate 40 gms

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Fresh seasonal fruits, cut aesthetically

Step 1

Get started with the chocolate ganache first. On a double boiler, mix the fresh cream and chocolate together until the chocolate has melted completely. Let the ganache cool and let it refrigerate.

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Let the chocolate blend in with the fresh cream completely

Quick Tip : The ideal chocolate ganache should be refrigerated over night, but if you are not able to plan your dessert so much in advance, an hour or 2 will also do.

I also know a lot of people who refrain from making chocolate ganache because ‘double boiler’ sounds like a complicated technique. But it is really quite simple. You can use any container you have at home and pour water into it. Place another container on it that sits well. Ensure the water in the lower container does not touch the container on top. That’s it, your double boiler is ready 🙂

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Simple, home-made double boiler

Step 2

To make the sweet paste, mix the flour, icing sugar, unsalted butter and egg together until you get a dough like consistency. Do not over knead.

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Step 3

Press the dough into the tart moulds. Ensure the dough is not too thick and to get an even tart, press your thumb into the tart mould in upward direction. Once it is evenly placed, cut the extra dough from the top edges with a knife.

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Step 4

Place the tart moulds in a pre- heated oven and bake at 180 degree C for 20-25 mins or until the tarts turn light golden-ish. Don’t let the tarts turn brown.

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Step 5

With a piping bag and a nozzle with swirls, pour in the chocolate ganache into the tarts once the tarts have cooled.

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Step 6

Now place the fresh cut fruits on top. To beautify this further, drizzle some icing sugar with a strainer on the tarts

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Voila, your tea time treat is now ready!

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Cupcake paradise in Hyderabad – Labonel!

19 Apr

Tucked away in a cozy little corner on a busy street of Banjara Hills in Hyderabad is a cupcake paradise, called ‘Labonel – fine baking’.

While in the city on work, a colleague took me there and mentioned they make some of the finest cupcakes. Being the dessert-o-holic that I am, I was all set to indulge. My colleague remembered the place from his last visit and took us right into the bakery which is otherwise difficult to spot, because there are no prominent sign boards, it is infact inside a high compound wall of a residence. Well, such is the popularity of the place! It does not need any sign boards or directions but naturally draws people there 🙂

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Though they have a variety of cakes, cupcakes and brownies, being a die-hard chocolate fan I went straight for the chocolate cupcake which is displayed on their trail table. There’s a piece of almost everything they sell on the trail table, so you can taste it before you buy it which I thought was a great idea.

I got myself an assorted box of mini cupcakes which had chocolate, red velvet and vanilla cupcakes. I found it difficult to start eating them because the packaging was so beautiful, I just did not want to destroy it. But then again, the cupcakes looked even more tempting!

Packaging

Perfect packaging

My first observation and what I loved about the mini cupcakes – there is no compromise on the rich, creamy icing. I have often eaten cupcakes with very little icing which has left me a bit disappointed. But despite the generous portion of icing, I give full points to the chocolate cupcake for not being overly sweet. The sweetness quotient is perfectly balanced with rich dark chocolate used in the icing.

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Mini Chocolate cupcake

The red velvet cupcake was amazingly moist, just the way it should be and the fresh cream cheese frosting made every bite perfect.  Though I found the vanilla cupcake a little too sweet for my taste buds, it is perfect for those who do not mind their desserts a little too sweet.  Even with the sweetness, the vanilla cupcake was full of flavor and did not disappoint.

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Mini Vanilla Cupcake & Mini Red Velvet Cupcake

With no compromises on packaging and ingredients, the pack of 16 mini cupcakes justifies the cost at Rs 650.

The quick stop at Labonel was definitely worth the time and effort! If you live in Hyderabad, or if you are visiting the city, don’t forget to grab a box of Labonel goodies.