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Posts Tagged ‘dessert’

Recipe: Diwali Desserts

Thursday, October 12th, 2017

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Hindus around the world light up the night next week during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that takes place Oct. 19 this year. The holiday celebrates good triumphing over evil and light overcoming darkness with firecrackers, homes decorated with elaborate designs of colored rice flour and flower petals, and an abundance of sweets.

Some of the fancier, heavier desserts include gulab jamun (milky doughnuts balls in sugar syrup), jalebi (chickpea-flour fritters also soaked in sugar syrup) or ras malai (cottage cheese dumplings steeped in milk syrup). You can purchase them, of course, but many Indians like to make lighter desserts at home and distribute them in boxes to family and friends.

Cows are considered holy in Hinduism, and many people in ancient times owned cows or had access to their milk. There are 150 or more milk-based desserts made for Diwali, and I’m sharing two of my South Indian family’s favorites.

Historically, most Indian homes didn’t have ovens (and many still don’t), so Diwali desserts are often made on the stovetop with lots of stirring and patience. Prior to the days of condensed milk, chefs it cooked down, which took hours of constant stirring. Now, the recipes are a bit more simplified but still require 20 to 30 minutes of stovetop mixing.

This results in lightly sweetened milky desserts, like burfi (also known by sandesh or peda depending on the region) adorned with some finely chopped pistachios or almonds. This burfi recipe is just a base. Many households adapt it to suit their family tradition, adding mango puree, saffron, cardamom or cocoa powder.

Another common dessert is yogurt-based pudding called shrikhand. This is typically made by straining whole-milk plain yogurt through cheesecloth for several hours, but my mother discovered that using Greek yogurt saves all that hassle. I’ve included her recipe for a lovely, sweetened shrikhand perfumed with cardamom and saffron.

 

 

Milk Burfi
20 to 30 pieces

Customize this recipe with your favorite flavors. Add ¼ cup mango puree or 3 tablespoons cocoa powder with the dairy at the beginning of the recipe, or mix a few strands of saffron or ¼ cup shredded sweetened coconut with the cardamom.

1 15-oz. package ricotta cheese
1 14-oz. can condensed milk
½ cup (1 stick) butter
½ tsp. cardamom ground
Handful pistachio or almond slivers

• Line a baking sheet with parchement paper.
• In a medium saucepan over medium heat, use a rubber spatula to constantly stir the ricotta, milk and butter 20 to 30 minutes until it comes together. Add the caradmon and reduce the heat to low.
• Place a small piece of dough on the baking sheet. If it does not shift of spread, transfer the dough onto the baking sheet. Use your hands or a rolling pin to roll the dough to ½-inch thickness.
• Use a cookie cutter to make shapes and decorate with pistachio and almond slivers, or use your hands to make small balls of dough, then flatten a bit between your palms. Make a small indentation in the center to fill with the pistachio or almond slivers.
• Refrigerate and serve chilled or at room temperature.

 

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Shrikhand
6 to 8 servings

½ tsp. saffron
1 tsp. milk
1 32-oz. containter plain full-fat Greek yogurt
1 16-oz. container sour cream
¾ cup sugar
½ tsp. cardamom
Dried fruit or nuts like pistachios or almonds, for garnish (optional)

• Soak the saffron in the milk.
• In a large mixing bowl, beat the yogurt, sour cream and sugar on medium speed until the sugar dissolves and mixtures isn’t grainy.
• Add in the cardamom and the saffron and milk. Taste and adjust the spices and sugar as needed.
• Serve in bowls and top with dried fruit and nuts, if desired.

Photos by Amrita Song

Amrita Song is a longtime contributor to Sauce Magazine who blogs at A Song in Motion

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Recipe: Peach-Bourbon Milkshake

Thursday, September 21st, 2017

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Boozy milkshakes are a fun, trendy dessert option. Peaches and bourbon are a great combination, and that left me with a fun “free” fifth ingredient to choose. Mint? Vanilla or almond extract? My decision was made for me when I realized the rock-hard peaches I picked up the previous day hadn’t quite achieved perfectly ripe lusciousness. I needed to coax out some flavor and juice, so I brought out the butter and sugar.

 I decided that if I was going to add butter to a milkshake (insert OMG emoji here), that I may as well go all in. That means this butter is browned, my dears, and it makes all the difference. If you’re catering to teetotaling friends or family members, the bourbon can be poured in after you make the shake.

Peach-Bourbon Milkshake
4 small or 2 large servings

2 large peaches or 3 medium peaches, ripe or just underripe
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
¼ cup brown sugar
5-6 scoops high-quality vanilla ice cream, plus more as needed
½ cup whole milk, plus more as needed
4 oz. bourbon

• Bring a medium saucepan filled with water to a rolling boil over high heat. Prepare an ice bath.
• Slice a small X into the bottom of the peaches with a sharp knife, then place them in the boiling water 45 seconds to 1 minute until the skin just starts to pull away from the X. Remove and immediately plunge them into the ice water bath. Starting at the X, peel the peaches, then pit, slice and set aside.
• Place the butter in a large skillet and melt over medium heat. Gently swirl the pan until the solids just start to turn brown and the butter smells nutty.
• Add the peaches and brown sugar and stir to coat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and saute the peaches 3 to 4 minutes, until the mixture is saucy. Remove from heat and let cool at least 30 minutes.
• In the pitcher of a blender, combine the peach mixture and all its sauce, ice cream, milk and bourbon. Cover and puree until completely blended, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add ice cream or milk to reach the desired consistency.

 

Photo by Michelle Volansky 

Dee Ryan is a longtime contributor to Sauce Magazine who also pens Make This

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Sweet Dreams: Beyond Sweet builds Instagrammable monster milkshakes

Friday, August 4th, 2017

While a normal milkshake might be topped with a modest dollop of whipped cream and perhaps a daintily placed cherry, Beyond Shakes from Beyond Sweet in The Loop are Instagrammable monsters topped with baked goods that loom precariously over their cups and ooze enticingly down the sides. Perhaps the most impressive is the Chocoholic.

“This is for someone who really likes to indulge in chocolate,” said owner Dallas Holland with admirable understatement. “We decided to put in everything a person who loves chocolate might crave.”

And she means everything. This Frankenstein’s milkshake begins with a 16-ounce cup dipped in chocolate and coated with sprinkles. Then it’s filled with vanilla ice cream and fudge and topped with all manner of sweetness. The result – a confection of monumental proportions that’ll please even the most rapacious cocoa fanatic.

 

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Baked: Honey & Yogurt Cake

Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

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This cake is perfect for a Sunday brunch. It’s not too sweet and can be made savory with by swapping just a few ingredients. The base is simple: yogurt, honey and olive oil. Use your finest honey and olive oil since those shine the brightest. The tangy yogurt balances the sweetness from the honey and the crumb is moist and light. I added thawed, semi-dried green figs from Trader Joe’s, which gave a gentle crunch to each bite. Try this recipe with thyme, rosemary or sage – or serve with jam or fresh fruit. Just be prepared to love it. Enjoy and happy baking!

 

Honey & Yogurt Cake
Adapted from a recipe at The Kitchn
8 to 12 servings

1 cup plain yogurt (regular or Greek)
⅔ cup honey
⅔ cup olive oil
3 large eggs
1½ cups flour
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
Pinch of kosher salt
½ cup coarsely chopped fresh or dried figs
Jam or fresh fruit, for serving (optional)

• Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9-inch cake pan with nonstick spray line the bottom with parchment paper.
• In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, honey and olive oil. Whisk in the eggs, then use a rubber spatula to gently fold in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
• Pour the batter into the pan and sprinkle the figs over the top. Bake 40 to 50 minutes, until golden and a knife inserted into the center (avoid poking the figs) comes out clean or with a few crumbs attached.
• Let cool at least 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature with jam or fresh fruit, if desired.

Amrita Song is the owner and baker at Mila Sweets and blogs at Chai & Dumplings. 

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Baked: Condensed Milk Pound Cake

Thursday, June 8th, 2017

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I enjoy making hazelnut praline from scratch. Toasted hazelnuts are reminiscent of Nutella without the chocolate (though you can always add chocolate if you want). The recipe takes a little work, but it makes a few cups that go a long way in many desserts. You can fill cupcakes with it, add it to batters or simply eat it spread on toast.

I recently had some condensed milk lying around and thought I’d try to make a pound cake incorporating it and the hazelnut praline. The praline doesn’t add too much to the cake – it’s a subtle flavor enhanced when you spread more atop your slice. This was simply perfect when friends came over for tea. The praline has a slight crunch from the caramel and hazelnut and pairs nicely with a moist, simple pound cake.

 

Condensed Milk Pound Cake
Adapted from a recipe at Spicy Southern Kitchen

½ cup hazelnut praline, plus more for serving (recipe follows)
½ cup (2 sticks) room-temperature butter
3 large eggs
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups flour
¾ cup sweetened condensed milk
¾ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. kosher salt
3 Tbsp. coarse sugar

• Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper.
• Use the stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the hazelnut praline and butter on medium speed until fluffy, about 10 minutes. Add the eggs 1 at a time, then the vanilla.
• Reduce the speed to low and add the flour, condensed milk, baking powder and salt. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula to mix evenly.
• Pour the batter into the loaf pan and evenly sprinkle the top with the coarse sugar.
• Bake about 1 hour, until a knife inserted into the center comes out mostly clean. Let cool at least 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and let cool completely. Serve with more hazelnut praline on the side.

 

Hazelnut Praline

1½ cups sugar
1/3 cup water
1½ cup blanched, toasted hazelnuts
1 Tbsp. hazelnut or vegetable oil

• Place a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat mat on a work surface.
•In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar and water. Occasionally swirl the pan but do not stir. Cook 7 to 8 minutes until it turns amber. Immediately remove from heat, add the hazelnuts and stir to coat.
• Immediately pour the entire mixture onto the lined baking sheet, spreading out the hazelnuts with a spatula. Let cool completely.
• Break the praline into pieces and place in the bowl of a food processor or powerful blender. Add the oil and pulse until a smooth paste forms.
• Pour into a large jar or container and store at room temperature up to 1 month. Spread over slices of pound cake.

Amrita Song is the owner and baker at Mila Sweets and blogs at Chai & Dumplings. 

Baked: Chocolate and Orange Olive Oil Cake

Friday, May 19th, 2017

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I love a simple chocolate cake, unfrosted with a delicate crumb. It’s better still when it comes together in one bowl and bakes in one pan. The olive oil gives a rounded flavor that cuts the sweetness of the chocolate. When I want an easy dessert to serve to company or have something to nibble on Sunday morning, this is the recipe I turn to.

 

Chocolate and Orange Olive Oil Cake
Adapted from a recipe at Baked Bree 
8 servings

6 Tbsp. cocoa powder, sifted
½ cup boiling water
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup orange-infused or orange-flavored olive oil*
3 large eggs
¾ cup plus 1 Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. orange zest
½ tsp. baking soda
Pinch of kosher salt
Powdered sugar or vanilla ice cream, for serving (optional)

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch round cake or pie pan.
• In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and water and let cool slightly. Add the vanilla extract and set aside.
• In the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed, beat the sugar, olive oil and eggs until the mixture is thickened and pale, 2 to 3 minutes.
• Reduce the speed to low and carefully pour in the cocoa water. Mix until combined.
• With a spatula, fold in the flour, zest, salt and baking soda. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
• Bake about 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean.
• Let cool completely before turning the cake out of the pan. Serve with sifted powdered sugar or ice cream.

*Orange-infused or orange-flavored olive oil is available at Di Olivas, Extra Virgin: An Olive Ovation and Vom Fass.

Amrita Song is owner and baker at Mila Sweets and blogs at Chai & Dumplings

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Baked: Caramel and Chocolate Mousse Cupcakes

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

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I always do it up big for my husband’s birthday. He loves anything chocolate, so this year, I thought I’d try a sinfully delicious salted caramel and chocolate combo. These cupcakes are hollowed out and filled with two kinds of chocolate mousse and salty caramel, then topped with chocolate-espresso mascarpone frosting that melts in your mouth. They are airy, moist and irresistibly good. Enjoy and happy baking!

 

Salty Caramel and Chocolate Mousse Cupcakes
Adapted from a recipe at Sally’s Baking Addiction
1 dozen

½ cup sugar
⅓ cup canola oil
2 large eggs at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
¾ cup flour
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup cocoa powder
¾ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
Pinch of kosher salt
¾ cup Salty Caramel Sauce (recipe follows)
¾ cup Dark Chocolate Mousse (recipe follows)
¾ cup Milk Chocolate Mousse (recipe follows)
Chocolate-Espresso Frosting (recipe follows)

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper cupcake liners.
• In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla until combined. Add the flour, buttermilk, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt and whisk until just combined.
• Evenly divide the batter among the muffin cups. Bake 18 to 22 minutes, until a knife inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Let cool completely.
• When the cupcakes have cooled, use a knife or a cupcake corer to remove the center, taking care not to go all the way through the cupcake.
• Fill each cupcake with 1 tablespoon Salty Caramel Sauce followed by 1 tablespoon Dark Chocolate Mousse and then 1 tablespoon Milk Chocolate Mousse.
• Generously ice each cupcake with Chocolate-Espresso Frosting.

 

Salty Caramel Sauce
1 cup

½ cup sugar
¼ cup water
½ cup heavy cream at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract

• In a large deep heavy-bottomed saucepot over medium heat, dissolve the sugar into the water, stirring constantly until it turns amber, about 10 to 14 minutes.
• Immediately remove from heat and slowly stir in the cream and vanilla (the mixture will bubble violently), until the caramel is fully incorporated. Pour the caramel into a jar and let cool.

 

Dark Chocolate Mousse
1 cup

1½ cup heavy cream
2/3 cup dark chocolate chips

• Place the chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl.
• In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the cream to a boil, then immediately remove from heat and pour over the chocolate chips. Let rest 1 minute.
• Gently whisk the chocolate mixture until smooth. Cover with plastic and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
• Use an electric beater or mixer to beat on low speed 5 minutes, until it reaches a light fluffy consistency. Refrigerate until ready to use.

 

Milk Chocolate Mousse
1 cup

1½ cups heavy cream
2/3 cups milk chocolate chips

• Place the chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl.
• In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the cream to a boil, then immediately remove from heat and pour over the chocolate chips. Let rest 1 minute.
• Gently whisk the chocolate mixture until smooth. Cover with plastic and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
• Use an electric beater or mixer to beat on low speed 5 minutes, until it reaches a light fluffy consistency. Refrigerate until ready to use.

 

Chocolate-Espresso Frosting
Frosts 1 dozen cupcakes

2½ Tbsp. natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbsp. instant espresso powder
¾ cup chilled heavy whipping cream, divided
½ cup plus 2½ Tbsp. sugar
8 oz. chilled mascarpone

• In a large mixing bowl, combine the cocoa and espresso powders. Set aside.
• In a small saucepot over medium-high heat, bring ¼ cup cream to a boil. Slowly whisk the cream into the cocoa-espresso powder until the mixture is smooth.
• Whisk in the sugar until dissolved, then whisk in the remaining ½ cup cream. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.
• Use an electric beater or mixer on medium speed to whip the mixture until has stiff peaks.
• With the mixer or beater on low speed, gently add the mascarpone and which until the mixture is combined, fluffy and spreadable.

 

Just Five: Chocolate Tofu Pudding

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

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The few people I talked to about this recipe visibly recoiled. I get it: Tofu is not the most thrilling ingredient, especially when it comes to dessert. I was in this camp. Heck, I sewed and carried the flag for this camp. My favorite tofu preparation is when it’s taken a nice long oil bath and is covered in a delicious sauce. So I was surprised when I tasted this decadent, thick and creamy dessert. Silken tofu’s texture is a lot like custard: quite different from the firm and extra firm tofu I cook with.

High quality chocolate is key (remember, tofu is not known for its overwhelming flavor). Look for Ghirardelli, Scharffen Berger or Valrhona, and do not overcook it. I added cinnamon for my fifth ingredient, but a little almond or orange extract would also be nice, or a touch of cayenne pepper along with the cinnamon could make this a great version of Mexican chocolate pot de creme.

 

Vegan Chocolate Pudding
Inspired by a recipe from Mark Bittman
6 to 8 servings

¾ cup light brown sugar
¾ cup water
½ tsp. kosher salt
8 oz. high quality semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 lb. silken tofu
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

• In a saucepan, bring the brown sugar, water and salt to a boil over high heat until the sugar and salt are completely dissolved, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool.
• Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir, microwave another 30 seconds, stir again until melted.
• Combine the brown sugar syrup, melted chocolate, tofu, vanilla and cinnamon into a blender and mix on medium-high speed, scraping down the sides as needed, until completely smooth. Pour the pudding into 6 to 8 ramekins and chill 15 to 30 minutes until set. Serve.

Photo by Michelle Volansky

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Sneak Peek: Boardwalk Waffles & Ice Cream in Maplewood

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017

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The scent of fresh-made waffles will soon waft down Manchester Road in Maplewood when Boardwalk Waffles & Ice Cream opens doors this Saturday, Feb. 4. As The Scoop reported in October 2015, owners Eric and Laurie Moore sought to bring a taste of Eric Moore’s childhood summers on the Jersey shore to Maplewood.

The narrow space briefly housed a second location of I Scream Cakes, but doors closed just a few months after that establishment opened. Since it was already designed to function as a scoop shop, the Moores made mostly cosmetic changes to the shop, including a fresh coat of paint and resurfaced floors.

Boardwalk’s menu features scoops of Serendipity ice cream sandwiched between fluffy made-to-order Belgian waffles. Customers can choose from a full order – two waffles and four scoops – or a modest single-scoop pressed between a waffle half. They can also forgo the waffle all together and simply enjoy a scoop or two in a cup, or indulge in breakfast for dessert with a plain waffle drizzled with syrup and butter.

Boardwalk Waffles & Ice Cream will be open Monday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Here’s a sneak peek at what to expect when the waffle irons heat up on Saturday:

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Photos by Michelle Volansky

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Baked: Brownie Cookies with Early Grey Glaze

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

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I love to pair Earl Grey tea with chocolate. It’s flavored with bergamot, an Italian citrus that tastes somewhere between a lemon and an orange and smells a bit floral. I added bergamot extract and ground Earl Grey tea leaves to the powdered sugar glaze that tops these chewy brownie cookies. The result is a dense, almost fudgy cookie base with a sweet, lightly citrus glaze on top.

 

Brownie Cookies with Earl Grey Glaze
Adapted from a recipe at Smitten Kitchen
1 to 2 dozen cookies, depending on size

½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 egg
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1½ cups flour
⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. kosher salt
¼ cup water, plus more to thin the icing
30 g. meringue powder*
½ Tbsp. corn syrup
½ tsp. bergamot extract
1 lb. powdered sugar
¼ tsp. ground Earl Grey tea leaves (from a teabag)

• In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on high speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat on low speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt and beat on low speed until well combined. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill at least 1 hour.
• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Sprinkle a clean work surface with flour and roll the chilled cookie dough to ¼-inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes and place on the baking sheet.
• Bake 8 to 11 minutes, until the edges are firm and the center is slightly soft and puffed. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
• Meanwhile, make the glaze: In a medium bowl, beat together the water and meringue powder with an electric mixer on medium speed until frothy, about 1 minute. Add the corn syrup and bergamot and mix 5 seconds. Add the powdered sugar and tea leaves and mix on low speed. The mixture will be very stiff. Add water 1 splash at a time until the frosting has a toothpaste-like consistency.
• Transfer half the icing to a piping bag fitted with a round decorating tip. Carefully outline the cookies with the stiff icing.
• Transfer any icing remaining in the piping bag back to the bowl. Add water 1 teaspoon at a time until the icing reaches a glaze-like consistency. Frost inside the outlines as desired. Let dry for a few hours before enjoying.

*Meringue powder can be found at Kitchen Conservatory.

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