Friday, June 19, 2015

Baking I Mango Tres Leches Cake. Recipes that make you drool for #Blogmint

I'm a sucker for desserts. But you already knew that. And while I blog aplenty about chocolate, my favourite desserts are the not-so-chocolate ones. But you see, we aim to please, and that's why most of the time I'm making things that I know others love eating.

But this post, this post is about the recipes that made me drool. Some made it to the blog, some didn't. Not because I didn't want to talk about them, but because they were walloped down so quickly that I could barely take a picture.

Over the years I've collected a whole bunch of recipes that I have either cut out or bookmarked and then slowly made my way through them, depending on the season and how badly I've craved them. But whenever I've thumbed through them, I've known one thing - they've made me drool. Oh how they've made me drool.

For starters I love love love this Banana Nutella Ice cream that I'd been eyeing ever since I spotted it on Pinterest. But it took me almost a year to get around making it. Can I please tell you this takes exactly two ingredients? And it's the most creamy ice cream I've ever eaten.

And then there was my obsession with strawberries. Fresh strawberries, I mean. I  got pretty crazy I think over the last few years and have often turned to well-thumbed cookbooks and made a lot of delicious desserts with it. Strawberry frozen yogurt, cheesecakes, granitas and puddings but it was my favourite was this Hot Strawberry Souffle which was just as light as air.

I also have a deep love for wobbly desserts - creme brulee tops the list ofcourse (If you give me a vanilla-kissed or an orange-scented brulee, I'm your friend for life) followed closely by pudding and then panna cottas. I make a lot of those, because I really really find them easy to make and they are totally delicious.

I love how versatile the panna cotta is, it can take on so many different flavours and each time, the end result can be supremely stunning. But I have to say that the Nolen Gur and Coconut Panna Cotta was absolutely stellar. Mixing in flavours of the west with something Indian just made this even more fantastic. As was this Thai-inspired Mango Coconut Panna Cotta which I'd flavoured with a bit of basil and a bit of lime

To be a dessert is all about the taste. It can be inspired. It can be traditional. But more than anything it has to sound right. Which is why the Tres Leches Cake (pronounced Trace Lay Chays) has been on my to-do (for the blog) list forever.

A traditional Mexican cake that gets its name from the three different kinds of milk  - condensed, evaporated and cream (I've used condensed milk, coconut milk and skimmed milk in mine, you can mix and match through as well ) that a simple airy sponge is soaked in, this cake is the most moist cake you'd have ever eaten. It is sweet, almost pudding like, but it tastes like a piece of heaven. Served with a dollop of whipped cream and fruit or no fruit, this is a cake that's made for people like you and me who love their desserts.

To be honest, it barely takes any time to put together because it bakes up beautifully even when you're not looking. The only effort is whisking the egg whites, which if you have a hand mixer, should take you no more than 5 to 6 minutes.

Ofcourse then there's the wait. The wait for all the delicious milk to soak into the sponge. You could eat it after twenty minutes of soaking, but a good four to six hours, just elevates the flavours completely. I love topping the tres leches with some fruit to cut the sweetness, but you can just slather some whipped cream and just fork through. And I guarantee you, it'll be drool-worthy.

Mango Tres Leches Cake
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks


For the cake
1/2 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
2 egg yolks
3 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar (divided)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup milk

For the soaking liquid
200 ml condensed milk
200 ml coconut milk
100 ml milk

For the topping
100 ml whipping cream
3 tblsp icing sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
2 whole mangoes

1. Preheat the oven to 190 degree centigrade. Line a  6 or 7 inch baking tin with parchment paper and grease on top. Set aside.
2. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
3. Take the yolks and add half the sugar to it (that is 1/4 cup) whisk until it is pale yellow. Stir in the milk and the vanilla. Add the flour mix to it and stir until just combined. Set aside.
4. Start whisking the gg whites on high speed until soft peaks form. Pour in remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until egg whites are stiff but not dry.
5. Fold egg white mixture into the batter very gently until just combined. Pour into prepared pan and spread to even out the surface.
6. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Turn cake out onto a rimmed platter and allow to cool.
7. Meanwhile Combine condensed milk, coconut milk, and regular cream in a small pitcher. It'll seem like a lot but just wait and see how the cake laps it all up.
8. When cake is cool, pierce the surface with a fork several times. Slowly drizzle all milk mixture—try to get as much around the edges of the cake as you can. Allow the cake to absorb the milk mixture for 30 minutes. Refrigerate.
8. To ice the cake, whip cream with 3 tablespoons of sugar until thick and spreadable. Spread over the surface of the cake. Decorate cake with slice mangoes and serve cold.

Food Festival I Mango Festival, Summer Collection at The Spice Route at the Imperial Hotel

I'm going to apologize for the terrible pictures straight up. The lighting is super low at Spice route and my camera was just unable to do justice the the spread that Chef Veena Arora had laid out for us on this hot summers day.

The Summer Collection, is a collection of all recipes mango that span across South-east Asia. There's Thai salads, South Indian soups, Sri Lankan curries and  lots of dessert. The truth is, there is no fruit more versatile than the mango.

Our meal started with a mango rasam - sweet and spicy tamarind soup which worked well with the sweet flesh of a ripe mango. Chef Veena, told us that while her most favourite mango was the Chaunsa variety, she was making do with alphonsos and even banganapallis till the variety of the fruit came into season.

Next up were two different Thai salads - yum mamuang pla krob - a raw mango salad which was served both the vegetarian and the fish way. Light and easy on the palate it was one of the nicest salads I've had in a long long time.

The yum woon salad - glass noodles, ripe mango and peanuts with crispy fried onions and fresh mint, it was a very refreshing salad. And even though I am not a glass noodle fan, I really couldn't stop myself from taking a second helping.

As our mains were brought on, we started chatting about her growing up years. Chef Veena told us about her years in Thailand and all what she had learnt. She talked about what they made at home and how the flavours always shone through.

There was was he Maampalam Katrikai  - eggplants with raw mango, cashew and wasterchestnut. Because the eggplant is such a versatile vegetable that takes on flavours easily, the combination of the raw mango and cashew gave it a very rich flavours and the waterchestnuts added a texture that is deceptively delicious. I have to say this was my favorite as well, only because I do love my eggplants so.

The Vietnamese style Stir fried chicken had plenty of ripe mangoes mixed with lots or spices which worked very well together.

Next up was the Kerala-style Irachi curry - beautifully slow cooked mutton that tasted wonderful with the mangoes. The mutton had flavors of coconut, and curry leaves that complimented the meat and the meat of the fruit wonderfully.

All this was served with mango appams, which I was eating for the first time and mango rice which was just sticky rice with bits of ripe mango. Sooo good. Sometimes I still dream of them appams.

To finish the meal, Chef Veena reached back to her roots - Mango Sticky Rice. Little did she know that this was one of my favorite desserts as well. Gooey sticky rice drenched in coconut milk and a lovely slice of alphonso mango.

The festival is on till July 15, so don't forget to book your table now!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Dessert I Mango Coconut Panna Cotta with Mango Curd

Sometimes when things get real hard for me I start ignoring my blog. These are times I have to make a tough decision. These are times when I have to ask myself some very difficult questions. These are times when I simply do not have the energy to cook and develop recipes for the blog.

I also feel uninspired. I don't enjoy reading my cookbooks, or watching some of my favourite food shows or even want to enter my kitchen. And thereby become a dud.

But now that I'm back to feeling a little like myself I know it's time to get back in the groove. So I go where inspiration strikes. I go back to comfort and to an old favourite.

Ok, so I make this dessert pretty often. I make it different avatars, bring together different flavours and make it work for me seasonal. I've done the White chocolate and  raspberry version and the Nolen Gur version on this blog already and this is how the latest looks.

This particular panna cotta is inspired by a Thai dessert that I love very very much - Mango Sticky Rice. Sweetened coconut milk poured over chewy rice paired with a decadent slice of mango. I, of course, omitted the rice and made the panna cotta as close to the dessert I could.

I used palm sugar. You can use plain white sugar. I used a bit of lemon grass. You can omit that completely. And finally I infused the mango with a bit of basil, you can omit that too if you don't like the flavours of basil.

But honestly, this is about the mango curd, this is something you can omit completely, but I'd say you should spend a bit of time making it (honestly it only take 15 minutes) because it's really worth it.

I used the recipe here for that.

Oh and there is really no excuse for not making this dessert, it is mango season after all.

Mango Coconut Panna Cotta with Mango Curd
Serves 6


For the panna cotta

100 ml fresh cream
200 ml coconut milk
1 piece of lemon grass stalk
1/2 cup palm sugar/ white sugar
a pinch of salt
1 tblsp gelatin
3 tblsp water

For the topping
Mango curd. Recipe here
1 ripe mango
A few sprigs of basil

1. In a little bowl, soak the gelatin with the water and keep it aside.
2. In a sauce pan heat the cream, coconut milk, lemon grass, salt and sugar together. Bring it to a boil turn off the gas and set aside.
3. Melt gelatin gently over low heat and pour into the coconut milk mixture.
4. Strain the mixture into individual cups and chill in the refrigerator until set.
5. Meanwhile make the topping by chopping the mangoes and the basil together.
6. Once the panna cotta has set, spoon a layer of the mango curd (omit if you don't have any) and top with the mango basil. Serve cold.