April 16, 2014 § Leave a comment
Greek Yogurt, Labneh, Labni or strained yogurt tart, you can name it whatever you want. But above all, this is the one light velvety textured baked yogurt tart, which is not cloying too. A perfect dessert or a tea time snack for the present weather. It can be topped with whatever in-season fruits you get, or can just be enjoyed plain, no one would complain.
It somehow resembles to the the quark cheesecake I baked last year with balsamic roasted strawberries, the texture, the flavor and even the color. It could be because quark is nothing but the strained natural yogurt. I have been wanting to bake a yogurt tart but preferably the egg-free version. But most of the egg-free version called for a loads of sweetened condensed milk, which kinda put me off, thinking the over sweetness from the condensed milk could ruin the delicate flavors of yogurt.
Talking about the crust, I am not a gluten intolerant person, neither is anyone in my family and friends. But I thought it would be good, if I try some alternate flours for the crust. It might be challenging, the crust would not keep crisp or it might come out excessively crumbly. But after a lot of research on the internet, I decided onto replacing half of the flour with almond meal and rest half with oatmeal and cornmeal.
Oatmeal helps to make the crust crumbly, while cornmeal balances out with the body it gives and almond meal keeps the moistness of the crumb intact. A perfect winner for a tart crust, though I am not sure if this could be used for a traditional double crust pie. I am yet to figure that out.
I topped this tart with ruby red pomegranate seeds and some toasted slivered almonds, which made the tart all the more appealing, resting with high head in the middle of our dinner table!
Recipe adapted from SAVEUR
For the crust
1 cup almond meal
1/4 cup oatmeal, powdered in a food processor
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
80 gm unsalted butter, melted
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
For the filling
400 gm strained yogurt
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
- To make the crust, preheat the oven to 180 degree C. Whisk almond meal, sugar, oatmeal, salt, cornmeal in a bowl. Stir in vanilla extract and butter, until the dough forms. Press into the bottoms and sides of a 9″ springform tart pan. Using a fork, prick dough all over. Line dough with parchment paper and fill with dried beans and bake until pale golden 13-15 minutes. Remove paper weights and bake for another 10-12 minutes. Let cool.
- To make filling, lower the oven temperature to 150 degree C. Whisk all the ingredients in a bowl, until smooth. Fill in the pre-baked tart shell and bake until just set in the center, for about 20-25 minutes. Let cool. Top with fresh fruits and some nuts before serving.
April 7, 2014 § 5 Comments
Pasta, as being one of my quintessential weeknight dinner, which I cook at least once a week didn’t have a post here! How could I forget about the dish which I cook quite often. Sometimes we miss the obvious things that they don’t get enough credit in our lives. I like pasta of any kind! That is true, I love it to my heart’s content. It could be related to the high carb it has to offer. And being a true north Indian, I thrive on carbs.
I know you must be thinking, “Is devouring on carbs really something to brag about?” But the fact is, there hasn’t been one single day in my life when I haven’t eaten flour in one form or another. Then why not to give it’s due importance to the subject? Even for the last minute dinner parties, pasta seems to be the most reliable and stand-by option for which I don’t have to do any kind of prepping/grocery shopping. I generally use to stock everything needed for it.
I gorge more on creamy cheesy alfredo sauce based pasta during winters to match the weather, while during summers, I thrive more on arabiatta or pesto sauce based varieties, which are generally lighter and induce less body heat. And I make pesto a lot from the fresh basil leaves from my little balcony basil plant.
Aromas of fresh basil leaves pounded with nuts, garlic and olive oil are so summery and light that you feel refreshing from inside out. It is so therapeutic! You can use the fresh pesto in a sandwich or throw in some pasta to make a delightful meal out of such basic ingredients. Life is as simple as that!
No fuss cooking, yet simple and fresh! As the weather is amazingly pleasant these days, not sure how long it will last for, I felt like writing about my favorite Spring pasta recipe with mint and basil pesto. This one is a no-brainer! Trust me on that, all you need is freshest and the best of ingredients and you are all sorted out! And the flavors are so packed into this one simple dish, you would want to make this quite often.
1 1/2 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves
1 cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup blanched pine nuts
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
300 gm conchiglie/orecchiette/farfalle pasta
100 gm sugar snap peas, trimmed
200 gm frozen peas
1 avocado, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup pesto
2 tbsp lemon zest
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup mint leaves
1/2 cup basil leaves
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
finely grated Parmesan cheese
- For pesto, grind all the ingredients in a blender to make a smooth paste.
- For pasta, cook the pasta in boiling salted water for 8-10 minutes. Add the peas, snow peas and cook for another 2 minutes, until vegetables are just cooked and pasta is al dente.
- Drain and return to the pan and add pesto, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, avocado and salt and pepper and toss well to combine.
- Top with mint leaves, basil leaves and grated Parmesan cheese while serving. Serve with extra pesto on the side.
March 30, 2014 § 26 Comments
Feeling uninspired! Yeah it’s been happening to me for quite some time now. Even exciting work assignments haven’t been able to rev me up. Life seems to be meh! When I look back through the pages of blog, I can’t seem to figure out, what I want to try next. Not sure, what I want. May be a peaceful travel journey, I’ve been longing for. Last time I traveled was to the mountains of Munsiyari in far north of India. It was an amazing trip, I had. But that was almost eight months ago. It’s a break probably, I have been longing for. Anyways leaving my rant behind, let’s talk about the cake.
I bake cakes quite often, and you would get to know going by the recipe index. But chocolate cake is something which I keep reserved for the times when my six year old niece demands for it. It is for her, you’d see those lovely chocolate cake recipes here on the blog.
She knows well when to demand for one. She’d call me up on Friday evening, whenever she wants to eat it on the weekend, I am visiting the family. I had this unopened bag of hazelnuts in my pantry from last Christmas shopping, which I hadn’t used.
And chocolate hazelnut cake it had to be of which the recipe was there in my bookmarks. It calls for dark chocolate, ground hazelnuts, eggs and butter. That means no flour, no gluten. Although, being gluten-free was not the reason behind choosing this recipe.
It just came out to be an added bonus. The crumb is super moist. It looks more sinful than it actually is! All you have to do is use the best quality dark chocolate. The darker, the better!
I iced the cake with a thin layer of chocolate ganache and topped it with some more chocolate curls and toasted hazelnuts, which is completely okay to skip out, if you want. The cake is that good already! All you need is good espresso shot for yourself to go along, and a scoop of vanilla ice cream for your kids.
200 gm dark chocolate, chopped
125 gm butter, chopped
6 eggs, separated
2/3 cup superfine sugar
1 1/2 cups hazelnut meal
100 gm dark chocolate, chopped
100 ml low fat cream
Toasted hazelnuts, chopped roughly
- Preheat the oven at 170 degree C. Grease and line a 8 inch springform cake pan with parchment paper and keep aside.
- For cake, melt the chocolate and butter together in a bowl, on a double boiler. Keep aside and let it cool.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar, until pale and creamy.
- Beat in the hazelnut meal.
- In another bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form and they start to look glossy.
- Taking one third of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate and hazelnut mixture to make it lighter. Gently fold the remaining egg whites into the chocolate mixture, making sure not to deflate the batter.
- Pour the mixture into prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes to 1 hour, until skewer inserted into the cake comes out with some crumbs attached to it. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Peel the parchment paper, once cooled completely.
- For icing, heat the cream in a saucepan, until it starts to boil. Add the chopped chocolate to the cream and let stand for 5 minutes, until chocolate has melted. Mix the chocolate gently and thoroughly into the cream.
- Pour the icing over the cooled cake and top with chocolate curls and toasted hazelnuts.