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Showing posts with label baking on a budget. Show all posts
Showing posts with label baking on a budget. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Ladyfinger Biscuits

With the budget being the flavor of the moment, I will be posting some recipes that will help you manage the household budget in a better manner. Here comes the first one.

I have been planning for a Tiramisu for sometime. It is one of my favorite desserts but I have not had a chance to indulge in it of late. All my plans to make a batch at home were being stonewalled as I was unable to get my hands on some Ladyfinger biscuits. Ladyfinger Biscuit's form the base of the dessert, helping to soak up the coffee and cheese flavors.

I finally found some on the net but they were ridiculously priced, something around Rupees 350 for 500 gm. And since I could not locate a good substitute, I decided to bake some myself. And it turned out to be pretty easy. The only hitch being my oven which has been acting up lately. But somehow I managed a decent batch.
Read on for the recipe:

Preparation Time - 40 mins

Ingredients - 2 eggs (separated), 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 1/4 tsp baking powder,  sugar ( 1 tbsp + 1/4 cup ), butter for brushing on the foil/baking sheet.

Preparation - Beat the egg whites till stiff. Add 1 tbsp sugar and beat for another 2-3 mins.

Beat the egg yolks separately with the remaining sugar till very pale yellow in color.

Add half of the egg whites to the yellow and fold in. Add the flour and baking powder.

Add the remaining egg whites and gently mix it.

Put it in any icing bag or make your own makeshift one. Use the discarded milk packets or any packet for that matter. Put in the batter and tie it up. Cut off one end and pipe the batter though it.

Grease a foil/baking sheet with butter. Pipe 1 inch wide strips that are about 5-6 inch long. Do not get them too close.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

Put in the baking tray and bake the biscuits for 7-8 mins. They will be slightly soft when you remove them but will harden as they cool.

Store in a airtight container.

Note - They taste great even if you dip some in coffee and have it as it is.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

How to make Vegan Marzipan @ home ??

Marzipan is a confection consisting primarily of sugar or honey and almond meal, sometimes augmented with almond oil or extract. It is often made into sweets; common uses are marzipan-filled chocolate and small marzipan imitations of fruits and vegetables. It is also rolled into thin sheets and glazed for icing cakes, primarily birthday and wedding cakes and Christmas cake. [Source: Wiki]
While some marzipan recipes make use of the egg white instead of water, I preferred this simple vegan recipe: It can be used it as a substitute for fondant in some cases. Read on for the recipe:

Preparation Time - 10 mins

Ingredients - 1 cup almonds, 1 cup powdered/castor sugar, coloring agent as desired.

Preparation - Boil water in a saucepan. Add the almonds and boil for 1 minute.
Drain off the hot water and add cold water. Allow to stand for 2-3 mins.

Drain off water. Now you can remove the skins easily. (The above steps are usually referred to as blanching)

Take the almonds in a food processor and grind into a powder (almond meal). Do not overdo else the almond meal releases its natural oils and it starts sticking to the sides of the jar.

Take the almond meal and powdered sugar in a mixing bowl. Add water ( if using any color, add it to the water), a few drops at first and then more if needed. The ingredients should come together into a tight dough.

Take the dough and work/knead if further on a clean working surface to remove any lumps.

Shape it as desired or roll out into a thin layer to cover your cake.

Store it for up to 1 week (rolled in a thin film and put in a airtight container). But remember to bring it to room temperature before working it.

[ I have painted the marzipan figurines in the above picture with chocolate sauce ]

Friday, December 6, 2013

Caramel Custard

Caramel Custard is one gorgeous looking pudding which can also be quite low on the calorie meter. The soft layer of caramelized or slightly burnt sugar on top lends it a somewhat bitter yet distinct taste (quite like a tofee but little bitter ). A sure shot winner when served at sit down dinners, this one is surprisingly easy to prepare ( and ridiculously low-budget too ).

While the original calls for the use of eggs, I used the Brown & Polson Custard powder ( Vanilla flavour ) which is an egg-free formula. And as my readers already know, I am not into fancy molds/ramekins. So, I opted for a simple steel bowl or katori ( one can find them in all indian homes ) and it turned out quite well. With a whole lot of designs cropping up in the steel dinnerware, one can easily find square, oval or even flower shaped katoris.

I opted a pressure cooker ( with a stand inside ) for cooking the pudding. If you do not have one of these stands, use a raised steel/iron mesh ( the kind that is used to avoid putting a hot kadhai/vessel directly on the table ). Read on for the recipe:

Preparation Time - 30 mins

Ingredients - 3 cups boiled milk, 6 tbs milk powder, 3 tsp custard powder, 6 tsp sugar, 1/2 cup sugar for caramelizing, butter for greasing the bowls/molds.

Preparation - Lightly grease the bowls with butter. Dissolve the custard powder in 1/2 cup slightly warm milk.

Cooking - Heat the 1/2 cup sugar in a thick bottomed pan on a low heat. Stir at regular intervals. It will turn melt and turn golden brown. You can allow it to turn a few shades darker ( if you like a little bitterness ) but remove it from flame when it is just short of starting to smoke.

Pour into the bowls and swirl gently to cover the bottom of the bowls. Allow to stand and solidify .

Bring milk to a boil in a saucepan. Remove some of the milk to another cup, add milk powder, mix well and pour back into the saucepan. Add sugar and dissolve.

Pour the milk-custard powder mix into the saucepan slowly with continuous stirring. Cook for 3-4 minutes till it thickens. Carefully adjust heat to avoid burning the bottom contents of the pan. Remove from flame and pour into the bowls/molds.

Put a stand inside a wide mouthed pressure cooker. Place the bowls inside it and pour water gently so that the bowls are half immersed. Remove the weight and put on the lid of pressure cooker.

Cook on medium flame for 15 minutes. Switch off burner and allow to stand for another 5-10 minutes.

Open lid and remove the bowls. Insert a knife in the center and if it comes out clean, pudding is done. Else cook for another 4-5 minutes.

To unmold, run a knife around the sides of the bowl. Place a plate on top of each bowl and turn over carefully. The pudding will come out nice and wobbly. Pour the remaining caramel sauce over it.

Serve right away or chill if for 2-3 hours before serving.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Beetroot & chocolate Cake

Beetroot is not exactly my favorite vegetable. I know it looks lovely and gives that delectable pink color. But after watching Nigella's Beetroot soup I had been planning to incorporate it in my cooking. After googling a few times, i read this interesting piece of information about beetroots and chocolate. Till date i usually thought of using beetroots in a savory rather than a sweet preparation. I was quite apprehensive about this cake but it turned out very well. The beetroot gives it a rather earthy flavour. I had planned to use 1 cup of the beetroot puree but reduced the quantity at the last
moment as i did not want my little one to make a fuss over it. It was suprising when he happily gobbled it up.

Here goes the recipe:

Preparation Time - 1 hour

Ingredients- Butter ( 100 gm ), sugar ( 1 cup ), eggs ( 3 nos ), buttermilk ( 2/3 cup ), all purpose flour ( 2 cups ), baking powder ( 1 tsp ), cocoa powder ( 3 tsp ), beetroot puree ( 4 tsp ), vanilla essence ( 1/2 tsp ).

For frosting - 1/2 cup cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, 1 cup powdered/castor sugar.

Preparation - Powder the sugar in a food processor.

Take the butter ( at room temperature ) in a mixing bowl and add the powdered sugar. Beat it nicely with a whisk till it turns a few shades lighter in colour.

Break the eggs in a separate bowl and whisk them till it forms soft peaks.

Add the whisked eggs and vanilla essence into the mixing bowl and mix them nicely.

Add the beetroot puree, little by little so that it mixes completely with the batter ( Do not add all of it in one go ).

Take the flour and cocoa powder in a seive and add to the above batter slowly, a little at a time (This trick incorporates an extra amount of air into the batter which is very important in making the cake very spongy).

Alternately add the buttermilk to this batter . Add the baking powder to the last quantity of the flour being added to the batter. Mix well.

(We need to be quick from this point as the baking powder starts working as soon as it comes in contact with moisture)

Take a 8 inch round baking tray and spray it with a non-stick cooking oil/brush with butter. Sprinkle some flour.

Pour the batter into it and shake it gently.

For frosting - Take the cream cheese and butter (at room temp) into a mixing bowl and beat nicely.

Finally add the sugar and mix thoroughly. Allow to cool for half hour before using.

Cooking: Pre-heat an oven to 175 degees celcius. Put the cake into the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes. Prick the centre of the cake with a toothpick. If it comes out clean, the cake is done. Else pop it back into the oven for 5-10 minutes.

Allow to cool down.

Cut the cake hotizontally ( along its length )into two halves. Spread a thin layer of frosting on one half. Refrigerate it for 30 mins. Remove from the fridge and do a second layer of frosting. This helps in getting a smooth finish. Place the other cake half over the frosting. ( Spread a layer of melted dark chocolate on top if desired )

Take a knife and dip it in hot water. Wipe and cut into generous portions( the edges of the cake pieces will remain clean and sharp ) and serve. Store the remaining pieces in an airtight container.

Note: The butter-sugar and eggs should be beaten separately as it helps in getting more air into the batter.

Note - I baked the beetroots in the oven at 180 degrees for 30 minutes ( wrapped in a aluminium foil with a drizzle of oil ) before removing the skin and pureeing them.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Eggless Nutmeg Muffins

Baking supplies are difficult to come by in India. And even if you find them, they do not come cheap. A simple muffin tray would cost in the range of 500-700 bucks. Forget pastry sheets, even muffin liners come for 150 rupees a dozen at the cheapest. An imported cake mold could set one back by 1000-1500 bucks.

So when i chanced upon this non-stick muffin tray for Rs 167/- at Total Superstore i readily bought it. But decided to skip buying the liners. This also marks my first attempt at baking without eggs.

Preparation Time - 30 mins

Ingredients - All purpose flour ( 1 1/2 cup), Fortune Rice bran oil ( 3/4 cup ), sugar ( 1/2 cup, powdered ), yogurt ( 3/4 cup ), condensed milk ( 4-6 tbs ), baking powder ( 1 1/2 level tsp ), nutmeg powder ( 1/2 tsp ).

Preparation - Take the oil in a mixing bowl. Add the powdered sugar and beat well for 5 mins.

Add the condensed milk and yogurt. Beat well for another 5 mins.

Mix the flour, baking powder and nutmeg powder togather. Use a seive to gently sift it into the batter in small batches.

Mix gently till no lumps remain.

Grease a non-stick muffin tray. Pour into the molds till 2/3 full.

Cooking - Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Put the tray inside and turn down heat to 160 degrees after 5 minutes.

Bake for another 10 mins. Insert a toothpick at the centre of muffin and check if it comes out clean. Else bake for another 5 mins.

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