Bread Pudding

Sometimes you just crave for something sweet at the end of a meal or for breakfast. One of the easiest recipes is bread pudding. My mom would make Shahi Tukra which is fried bread dipped in sweet creamy milk. Bread pudding is similar but a baked variation. I have used plain brown bread and skimmed milk but the dish can be elevated with the use of a fancy bread like Challah and half and half. It will be more decadent. Addition of nuts like walnuts or pecans and a bit of drizzled icing on top can add more color to the dish.

Bread Pudding

Ingredients

3 bread slices

1/2 cup milk

2 tbsp honey

1 tbsp sugar

1 egg

1 egg yolk

2 tbsp raisins

1 tsp vanilla essence

Break the egg and egg yolk and mix. Add milk, honey and sugar along with vanilla essence. Whisk together.

Place the bread slices on a china porcelain baking tray overlapping each other. Place the raisins in between the bread slices. This will prevent the raisins from charring when baked.

Pour the milk on the bread. Press the bread slightly so the milk is absorbed and leave it for five minutes. The drier the bread the better as it will soak up the milk better.

Bake in a preheated oven at 170C for 30 mins. Serve hot.

Tip: You can add orange rind or cocoa or spices like cinnamon and nutmeg also to the bread pudding.

Advertisements

French ‘melt in your mouth’ Meringues

Meringue is a French dessert made by whipping egg whites. There are various types of meringues, the sweetened uncooked beaten egg whites, the partly cooked ones or the classic dry light featherweight ones. Different techniques are used for each one of these but the most commonly used by home bakers is French meringue. These resemble cookies and are like candy fluff which melt as soon as you place them in your mouth.

Meringues used like cookies are baked at a very low heat for a long time. One name for them is ‘Forgotten Cookies’ as they can be left in a gas oven for long periods of time after the cooking is done. They are not supposed to be tanned at all, but they need to be very crisp and dry.

Meringues are actually very easy to make. All you need is eggs, an electric whisk (do not try to beat eggs by hand – it is too time consuming and not worth it) and clean utensils. Yes, clean bowls and spoons are required because the beaten egg whites will not hold if any grease or water is present. For the same reason, so not use plastic utensils. Stainless steel or glass bowls are best.

Also, make sure that the egg yolk does not mix with the egg whites otherwise the peaks will not form. Use separate bowls to carefully remove the egg yolk. If any egg shells fall into the egg whites, use a clean dry spoon to remove them.

When egg whites are beaten you will get soft, firm and then stiff peaks. Some of the hydrogen bonds in the proteinbreak, causing the protein’s structure to unfold. This change in structure leads to the stiff consistency required for meringues. Cream of tartar may be required to additionally denature the proteins to create the firm peaks.

Cooked meringue cannot be refrigerated or it will become soggy. They will keep for at least a week if stored in an airtight container.

French Meringues

Ingredients

2 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

2 tbsp icing sugar

1 tsp vanilla essence (optional)

1 tsp food coloring (optional)

Separate the egg whites. Whisk them into stiff peaks. The peaks should not fold when the whisk is lifted.

Mix both the sugars and add a little at a time to the egg whites while whisking. The egg whites will change texture and become shiny and soft. Add the vanilla essence and mix.

Drop the food coloring and give it a swirl.

Set the oven at the lowest gas mark (Gas mark 1 or 110 C). Line a baking try with cookie sheet. Drop the egg whites with a dessert spoon forming little peaks on top. Bake for 1 hour and then let cool in the oven itself for another hour.

The meringues will be light and airy and will give a hollow sound when tapped at the bottom. Remove from oven and store in an air tight container.

 

Mini Chocolate Croissants

My mother always encouraged me to cook and gave me various ideas to work with. Now that I am married, it is my hubby who has taken up the role. These mini chocolate croissants were his idea completely. Right from getting puff pastry roll to making chocolate croissants out of them instead of boring old veg puffs. Good for me the goods were in the house….he he he. Well, I had always fancied making them after seeing It’s Complicated….but them who hasn’t 😀

Ingredients

Puff pastry dough (I used ready-made)

Chocolate spread

1/2 cup Walnuts (chopped)

Plain flour

1 egg + 2 tsp milk for egg wash

Thaw the pastry dough as mentioned on the cover and roll it out to the required specification.

Cut it into squares and then the squares into halves to get triangles.

Chocolate Croissants

Place 1 tbsp chocolate spread and a few walnut pieces near the largest edge of the triangle. Roll from this largest edge till the very tip of the triangle. Press lightly all over the croissant to make sure all the edges are sealed so the chocolate does not seep out. Form a crescent and place on the cookie sheet/baking tray with the triangle tip facing downwards. This will prevent the croissant from unravelling while baking.

Whisk an egg with 2 tsp milk and give an egg wash to the croissants to get a shiny surface.

Bake for 35 mins at 165 C in a preheated oven. Leave to cool on a wire rack before storing in an air tight container.

Choco Vanilla Pinwheels

Cookies are a great snack. The best thing is you can make some and keep them for later for the snack attack. Chocolate and vanilla cookies are beautiful to look at and taste great too.

Ingredients

2 cups and 1 1/2 tbsp plain flour

13 tbsp unsalted butter

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 pinch salt

1 1/2 cocoa powder

1 egg

2/3 cup sugar

Chocolate and Vanilla Pinwheels

Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the egg and vanilla essence. Mix in the baking powder, salt and flour to get a firm dough.

Divide the dough in half. To one half add the cocoa and to the other, add the remaining flour.

Roll the vanilla dough and cocoa dough separately into equal rectangles on plastic wrap. Place either vanilla or cocoa dough on top of the other depending on which flavor you want on top.

Slowly roll the layered dough with the help of the plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge overnight.

Heat the oven to 170 C. Cut the chilled dough into 2 mm width circles and bake for 25-35 mins.

Cool on a wire rack and store in an air tight container.

Chikki (Peanut Brittle)

Chikki is the perfect snack to ease the sugar craving after a meal. Good to carry around in your purse for snack attact, it is pure simple peanuts coated with jaggery. Chikki is actually very popular in winters as jaggery provides warmth to the body. It is also a healthier alternative to sugar based brittles because of the natural form of cane sugar. Moreover kids love it as it is sweet and crunchy and just like eating candy.

My mom always used to stack some at home. She would prepare it all the time. It is so easy to make and can be stored in air tight boxes for ages.

Ingredients

1 cup raw pink peanuts

1 cup jaggery

1 tbsp butter

Chikki

Roast the peanuts and when they have cooled, rub them together to remove the covering.

Heat the butter in a pan and add the jaggery. Keep stirring till the jaggery begins to thicken. The jaggery is ready when a drop turns into a ball in a cupful of water.

Take off the heat and mix the peanuts. Quickly spread on a greased plate/cookie sheet/baking tray and roll it with an oiled rolling pin to get an even surface. Cut the chikki into diamonds and leave it to cool down completely.

Break the chikki along the indentations and store in an air tight container.