Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas Fruit Cake

Last Christmas I had baked a non alcoholic cake but this year I wanted to try the alcohol fruit cake. I started the preparation in the month of October. Soaked all the dried fruits,cherries and candied mixed peel in dark rum for a month and then baked the cake. Now I am just feeding the cake with rum twice every week. I must admit that making this cake takes hell lot of patience as you have to wait for weeks before you can cut it. I am just counting days, 6 more days to go  
Christmas Fruit Cake
Christmas Fruit Cake
Ingredients:
680 gms assorted dry fruits (I have used glazed cherries, dried apricot, dried cranberries, dried strawberries, dried pineapple, and candied mixed peel)
200 gms of raisins, chopped into bite size pieces (I have used golden and black raisins)
80 gms (hazelnuts + almonds)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup (220gms) dark brown sugar,tightly packed
1 cup unsalted butter
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cup dark rum plus more for brushing the cake
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup ground almonds
1/2 tsp fresh nutmeg powder
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp cinnamon powder
Juice and zest of 1 orange 
Zest of 1 lemon
Pre-baking:
Soak the dry fruits in 1 1/2 cup dark rum for a month in an air tight container. Stir the soaked dry fruits every alternate day.

Method:
Pre-heat oven to 160 degrees C or 325 degrees F. Place the rack in the center of the oven. Butter or grease a 8 inch springform pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. 
In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time and beat after each addition.
Add orange juice, zest of lemon and orange. Add the soaked dried and candied fruits along with the rum. Mix well.
Add the raisins and mix again.
In a separate bowl whisk together ground almond,flour,baking powder,salt,nutmeg powder,ginger powder,and cinnamon powder.
Now fold the dry ingredients in the cake batter. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
Transfer the cake batter to the springform pan and spread evenly. 
Bake for 1 hour 30 minutes or until a long skewer inserted at the center of the cake comes out with few moist crumbs. It took 1 hr 45 mins in my oven and the time can vary from oven to oven so keep a close watch on the cake.
Remove the cake and place it on a wire rack to cool completely. Poke holes on the top surface of the cake with a skewer and brush rum on it. 
Wrap the cake in a plastic wrap and aluminium foil and place it in an air tight container or cake tin.
Brush the cake with rum, twice a week, until Christmas. 
This cake weighed around 1.5 kgs.
Notes:
  • You can choose assorted dried fruits of your choice. Add more dried fruits if you want to.
  • Stir the soaked dry fruits every alternate day.
  • You can change the quantity of spices (ginger powder,cinnamon powder,nutmeg powder) as per your taste.
  • You can use brandy instead of dark rum.
  • Chop the dried fruits and cherries into bite sized pieces before soaking in rum.
  • To cover the bottom of the pan with parchment paper take a large sheet and then clamp the side ring around the base. Fold the paper towards the top of the pan. This way you have the extended parchment when you remove the clamp. It is easier to handle the cake with this extended parchment. 

Adapted from Stephanie Jaworski's recipe.


Monday, November 25, 2013

Kaddu (Pumpkin) Ki Sabji

Kaddu ki Sabji
 I remember my mother cooking this sabji for us and I would love to eat it with plain paratha. I like the sweet and savoury flavour of this dish. The bengali spice paanch phoran gives it an amazing flavour. When I moved to Dubai after my wedding I made sure to carry paanch phoran in my luggage  Let me go ahead with the recipe now.
Ingredients:
550 gms kaddu/pumpkin- seeds removed, skin peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup  parboiled black channa (black chickpea), soak the channa overnight and then parboil it
1 tsp coriander-cumin powder (I have made this powder at home by grinding equal quantity of coriander seeds and cumin seeds)
1/2 tsp turmeric
Salt to taste
1-2 tsp white granulated sugar, adjust to taste (I have added 2 tsp sugar)
2 red dry chillies
1 bay leaf
1 tsp paanch phoran ( a type of bengali spice)
Chopped coriander leaves 2 tbsp
1 tbsp oil
Method:
Heat oil in a pan. Add bay leaf, red dry chillies and paanch phoran. When the cumin in paanch phoran starts crackling add the pumpkin, channa and turmeric. Give it a stir to mix the pumpkin with other spices.
Cover and cook on low heat until the pumpkin is soft and mushy.
Now add salt, sugar, coriander-cumin powder and stir. Let it cook for another 3-4 minutes on medium heat or until all the water has evaporated. I like to mash the pumpkin in this sabji as you can see in the picture.
Switch off the flame and add coriander leaves. Mix again. 
Serve it hot with chapati or paratha.
Tips!!
If you like sour and sweet flavour then add 1/4 tsp of mango powder/amchoor to the sabji.
Kaddu ki sabji

Monday, November 4, 2013

Gajar Halwa Barfi

This Diwali I decided to make Gajar Halwa Barfi. Gajar Halwa is one of my favourites so I thought of giving it a barfi form this time.
Gajar Halwa Barfi
Ingredients for Khoya:
3 cups full cream milk
Method:
In a heavy bottom pan, bring the milk to a boil.
On medium to low heat cook the milk until it is reduced to a thick consistency. All the water in the milk will evaporate and you will get granulated khoya. You have to keep stirring occasionally in the beginning and towards the end stir continuously so that it doesn't burn.
Ingredients for Barfi:
500 gms carrot
1 litre full cream milk
6 tbsp white granulated sugar, adjust as per taste
1 tbsp ghee/clarified butter
1/4 tsp freshly grounded cardamom powder
Almonds/pistachios for garnishing
Method:
Wash and peel the carrots. Grate the carrots using the fine side of the grater.
Take a baking tray and place parchment paper in it.
Melt ghee in a heavy bottom pan.
Add the grated carrots to the ghee and saute for 5 mins on medium heat. Do not let it brown.
Now pour the milk and stir. Simmer and cook until most of the liquid has dried out. Keep stirring occasionally.
Add sugar and cardamom powder,mix well. Add the khoya and cook until all the liquid has dried completely. Now the halwa will start leaving the sides of the pan.
Transfer the halwa to the baking tray. With the back of a spoon spread the halwa. Keep the thickness as per the thickness of the barfi. Smooth the top using a piece of parchment paper.
Garnish the top with almonds or pistachios (I have used almonds) and let it cool completely. Refrigerate for sometime and then cut into desired shapes and sizes.
 
Gajar Halwa Barfi