Butterscotch Pudding

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The past few recipes I have tried for the blog are all from books. This is a little surprising for me since I depend more on the internet than on books for ideas. But now, I am beginning to pay a little extra attention to the books that I already own or the ones I bring in from the library. I feel like I should look first at my collections and try to cover a little more of it before I look for recipes from the net. Not sure how long the feeling is going to last, but I am determined to enjoy it while it lasts.

So, here I am, with a recipe from a very favorite book of mine. Another pudding recipe from Clio Goodman’s book, Puddin’. I have been making way too many puddings and though I am a big fan of the book, it might be taking the back seat for a little while.

This recipe covers three bases for me. Its perfect for this week’s Blogging Marathon where the chosen theme is Kid’s Delight – Family favorites. It also fits the bill for Cooking from Cookbook Challenge  event. Enjoy the dessert and read on for the recipe.

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Ingredients:

Butterscotch sauce: 

  • 100 gms butter (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Pudding:

  • 2.5 cups milk
  • 2.5 cups heavy cream
  • 6 tablespoons cornstarch (cornflour)
  • 2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Butterscotch pudding from above

Method:

  1. Make sauce: Melt butter in a thick bottom pan until its golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add cream, sugar and salt. Bring it to a boil, stirring till the sugar is dissolved and the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Take off the heat and stir the vanilla in. Set aside.
  2. Make Pudding: In a thick pan, whisk everything except vanilla extract and the butterscotch sauce, until no dry lumps remain. Cook, whisking all the time for about 8-10 minutes, until the pudding starts to thicken or when the whisk leaves a shadow when you lift it from the surface). Take off the heat and whisk in the vanilla extract and the warm butterscotch sauce in 2-3 batches. Cool for 10 minutes and chill for at least 2-3 hours before serving.
  3. The recipe serves about 10 people.

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This post is a part of the Kid’s Delight – Family Recipes, guest hosted by Sandhya this month.
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Chocolate Mousse

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I like chocolate cakes. And chocolate cookies. And chocolate bars. And of course, chocolate chips. Chocolate pleases me. In all forms. But it pleases me the most when its in the silky, creamy form of mousse or puddings. That luscious, airy, light and smooth feeling is something that need to be experienced and not explained.

I was looking for a chocolate mousse cake recipe and came across this one in All recipes. Not only did I try this recipe for the chocolate checker board cake, but I started preparing the mousse by itself as a dessert. How can you go wrong with a combination of condensed milk, chocolate and whipped cream?! This recipe uses instant chocolate pudding mix with half cup of water, but I have a feeling this can be skipped as such. But its a version I haven’t tried yet.

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The mousse feels light in your mouth, but calorie wise, its not. But lets not dwell on calories when we are talking about dessert, because its dessert and not a meal in itself. The recipe below serves to fill and frost a 9 inch layer cake. I used it for a 6 inch four layer cake.

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Ingredients:

Melt the chocolate chips using microwave (short 10 second bursts) or over double boiler. Add the condensed milk to the melted chocolate and mix well.

Now add the chocolate pudding mix and the cold water to it. Mix well to incorporate everything and refrigerate for at least half an hour. After half an hour, whip the cream until stiff peaks form.

Carefully fold the chocolate mix to the whipped cream until no streaks remain. Refrigerate again for at least an hour before using. You can use this to fill and frost a 9″ layer cake or serve as a dessert to about 10 people.

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This post is a part of the Kid’s Delight – Family Recipes, guest hosted by Sandhya this month.
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Cabbage payasam

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Sometimes we explore the resources we already have only in times of need. That’s how I stumbled on this recipe. A friend of mine asked me an idea for an innovative or fusion payasam for a small cooking contest she was participating in. I immediately turned to my Blogging Marathon friends and the suggestions poured in. They suggested boondi kheer, chocolate payasam, cake payasam, gnocchi payasam (potato dumplings), gulab jamun payasam, cauliflower payasam, paneer payasam and many more. These ideas are really worth exploring if you are innovative enough.

I browsed through my reliable Vasantha Moorthy’s Vegetarian Menu Book. and found this recipe for Cabbage rabdi there. So along with my friends suggestions, I mentioned the Cabbage payasam as well to my friend. A bit of online search told me that this recipe was already tried by Aparna from My Diverse Kitchen. So with two sources to fall on, my friend zeroed in on the cabbage payasam. We did a trial run and our families loved it…..until we told them that there was cabbage in it (rolling my eyes here!). There was exclamations and facial expression changes when we mentioned the cabbage part :D.

But the thing is, her payasam won the contest !! My friend had mentioned the presence of cabbage to only one of the judges to rule out any allergies, but otherwise kept it low key. So everyone tried it with an open mind I guess. The judges were very impressed and surprised when they learnt about the cabbage factor :-).

The only beast about this recipe is cleaning the vessel in which milk was cooking for such a long time. It needs a lot of soaking and scrubbing, but hey, I am not complaining. We got a winner here, you see :-).

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Ingredients:

  • 4 cups milk (1 litre)
  • 1 cup chopped cabbage
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • handful of skinned and chopped almonds
  • handful of chopped cashew nuts
  • 1/2 cup cream, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • a few chopped pistachios for garnishing

Method:

  1. This serves 4 people. Use fresh cabbage for this payasam. Boil the milk in a thick pan and add the cabbage. Cook over a slow flame stirring in between until the mixture reduces to 2/3rd the original quantity and thickens well.
  2. Add the chopped almonds and cashews along with sugar. Continue to cook until the mixture is very thick and creamy. The process took more than an hour for me.
  3. Take off the heat and add ground cardamom. Once its cool, you can add the cream, if desired. Garnish with pistachios for some bright color. This tastes best when chilled and served.

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This goes to Cooking from Cookbook Challenge Group.
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Boston Cream Pudding

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Puddings have become the standard desserts at my place when we have guests coming over . After making multiple puddings, I can feel the need to switch to the other kinds of desserts. But you cannot beat the ease of making this, especially when cooking for a crowd. So until I actually make the move to other desserts, you guys are going to be bombarded with pudding recipes.

The Boston cream pudding is adapted from Clio Goodman’s book, Puddin’. I felt it was a little short on sweetness. So if I am making it again, I would increase the sugar a little bit. Its a very simple mix of milk and cream cooked with corn starch, sugar and egg yolks until it begins to thicken a bit. The cooking time is somewhere around 10 minutes. Refrigeration time is needed, so its a perfect make ahead recipe. If you are using this as a cake filling, it can be stabilized with gelatin.

Read on for the recipe.

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Ingredients:

  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar*
  • 5 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 6 egg yolks
  • a good pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla essence

*I would increase it to 1 cup the next time. I felt this was a little less sweet than it should have been.

Method:

  1. Add all everything except the vanilla extract to a thick saucepan and using a whisk, combine well until no dry lumps remain.
  2. Cook this over medium heat, whisking all the time until the mixture begins to thicken, about 8 minutes. When you raise the whisk from the pudding, it should leave a faint shadow, that’s when the pudding is done. It will thicken further on refrigeration, so its okay even if it looks runny at this stage.
  3. Take off the heat, whisk in the vanilla. Pass through a sieve and transfer it to the serving container and let it cool for 5-10 minutes. Press a film of cling wrap on the surface to prevent the ‘skin’. Refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours before serving.

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This goes to Cooking from Cookbook Challenge Group.
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Brownie cake

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Thanks to my overstocked drafts folder, there is a post ready for almost any occasion. All I have to do is to pick and publish the post. The cake here has a good story to tell. Even without a story, its a cool cake – it has two layers of brownies filled with peanut butter pudding between them and frosted all around with a wonderful chocolate buttercream. On second thoughts, I would skip the pudding and the frosting the next time. Because the brownie underneath really doesn’t need anything to enhance it. Its the Hershey’s Best Brownies and it really is the best brownies I have ever had till now.

Coming back to the cake, it was made to celebrate one dozen years of our marriage in November. I never got around publishing the recipe on time. I also never got around making a cake for my blog’s sixth birthday/anniversary which was on March 31st. So my wedding anniversary cake is going to celebrate my blog anniversary as well. I  started the blog as a one year project and I can’t believe I am still actively doing it :-).

My family loves Peanut butter & Nutella sandwiches :D, so my thought for the cake was to fuse those flavors. But I could see that peanut butter in a cake is not everyone’s cup of tea. So I wouldn’t suggest this combination if you are not a fan of it.

The pudding is excellent in taste, but it is extremely rich. So if you are serving it directly as a dessert, I would suggest serving in small quantities. Maybe about 1/4 cup per person. You can always serve a second helping later. The quantity here will have some leftovers after filling the cake.

The recipe for the filling, frosting and the cake is all from cookbooks. The brownie is from one of the Hershey’s cookbooks I have. The frosting is from Joy the Baker’s cookbook (I got it from the library). And the peanut butter pudding is from Clio Goodman’s book, Puddin’. It is the perfect candidate for Cooking from Cookbook Challenge :-). Read on for the recipe.

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Cake : Best Brownies

Decoration on top – The roses are made with ready made fondant using a silicon mold. I used melted chocolate as a glue for the roses. 

Best Buttercream recipe : Joy the Baker I got the recipe from her cookbook, not the site. But it seems to be the same, so I thought of linking it anyway.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup or 1.5 sticks (about 150 gms) butter
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • a good pinch of salt
  • 2.5 to 3 cups of confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • about 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup chocolate ovaltine

Method:

  1. Cream butter, sifted cocoa powder and salt in a big bowl for a few minutes using a stand or hand mixer.
  2. Add the sugar (2.5 cups first and then if needed, the rest half cup can be added) and mix it in using a rubber spatula. Beat it on low speed using the mixer. Add the milk and vanilla extract. Beat it in high speed until smooth. Stop the mixer in between to scrape the sides of the bowl for even distribution.
  3. Milk cream and ovaltine in a small cup. Pour this into the frosting and beat it again until it reaches creamy consistency.  Store in an airtight container and refrigerate until the time of use. Bring it to room temperature before using. You might have to beat again using the mixer to get a spreadable consistency. Once the cake is filled with the pudding, frost it using the buttercream. 

Peanut Butter Pudding

  • Whisk together in a thick saucepan – 1/2 cup heavy cream, 1 1/2 cups milk, 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter, 2 tablespoons corn starch and 6 tablespoons of sugar until everything is combined well.
  • Cook this over medium heat whisking all the time until the mixture starts to thicken – about 8-10 minutes or so. When you raise the whisk from the pudding and it leaves a shadow on the pudding, it is done. Let the pudding cool for 10 minutes. Press a layer of cling wrap on top of the pudding and refrigerate for at least two hours. To stabilize this as a filling for a cake, you can use gelatin if you wish. But I found this to be stable enough to be used as such.

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Cardamom cake

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BM # 74: Week 4, Day 1
Theme : Swedish recipes
Recipe: Cardamom cake 

I didn’t rely only on the internet for this week’s theme (which is Swedish recipes, BTW), but I headed out to the library too to look for Scandinavian recipes. The first trip to the library had me coming home with two books for everyday recipes. Since Swedish vegetarian choices are pretty limited, I picked up two more books the next time I went back to the library. Baking books this time!

So for Fika last week during the snow storm(Fika is coffee time, but mostly with some baked goodies), we had this soft, spongy cardamom cake with a refreshing cup of coffee. I distributed most of this cake to my neighbors and friends and the feedback has been excellent. Baking during snow storms is fun and the house smelled amazing!!

This is one of those simple recipes that gives you amazing results. Its a keeper for sure! I didn’t make any change to the original recipe other than replacing almonds with cashew nuts. There are so many other recipes I want to try from that small book aptly named Swedish cakes and cookies, but I am resisting the call of butter and sugar for the sake of fat content inside my body :D.

I am struggling with my photography now (its a phase that comes and goes), so I have not been able to do justice to this soft and light sponge. So don’t judge the cake by the picture and give it a try for sure!

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Recipe source: Swedish cakes and cookies book

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 1/3 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 200gms/2 sticks/1 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • Pearl sugar/chopped almonds/nuts for decoration

Method:

  1. Grease and line a 9X13″ pan with baking parchment. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Melt the butter and let it cool to room temperature.
  3. Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat the sugar and eggs until it turns light yellow and thick. Add the baking powder and cardamom powder, beat again.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients (butter, milk and flour) and mix everything carefully. There shouldn’t be any dry lumps in the batter.
  5. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 55-65 minutes or until a skewer comes free of crumbs when inserted in the middle of the cake. Once its out of the pan, let the cake rest in the pan for about ten minutes. Slice and serve once its cool.

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Chia cardamom pudding

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BM # 74: Week 2, Day 2
Theme : Are you pudding me?
Recipe: Chia cardamom pudding
My neighbor mentioned making chia payasam for her son with all Indian flavors. She cooks chia in milk over stove top with a pinch of cardamom and sugar. Then she decorates it with cashews and raisins roasted in ghee. When you top off with saffron strands, you have a great pudding style payasam. 

I liked the idea and so made something similar except that I went for the overnight refrigeration method. I skipped roasting the nuts as well since I had this for breakfast. Chia gives you the perfect pudding texture without much effort from our end ;-). 

Enjoy this simple recipe that makes breakfast an extremely easy affair!

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Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cups chia seeds
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar(or more per taste)
  • A good pinch of cardamom powder
  • Few strands of saffron

Method:

  1. Mix the chia with milk, sugar and cardamom powder until no pumps remain. Add the saffron as well. 
  2. Refrigerate overnight. Serve chilled or you can microwave it for 30 seconds before serving. Decorate with saffron strands and some nuts and dry fruits. 

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Dulce de Leche pudding

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BM # 74: Week 2, Day 2
Theme : Are you pudding me?
Recipe: Dulce de Leche pudding

I love anything sweet and I love them even more if its easy to make. That’s how I got hooked onto puddings. The book Puddin’, my happy find of the year, has been a good influence in that direction. Its a wonderful book to rely on when it comes to feeding a crowd. I have slowly started substituting milk for cream in some of the recipes to reduce the calories a bit and I also serve much smaller portions than the book recommends. I find that smaller portions work out better when it comes to rich desserts like these.

My husband, who doesn’t like sweets much, likes dulce de leche a lot. I remember gifting him Dulce de leche for one of his birthdays :-). It was special because we don’t get it in India and I made it by pressure cooking condensed milk. I still remember him watching a movie and working his way slowly through that can of cooked condensed milk. Sweet simple times :-)!

I had made this pudding when one of my friends came over for dinner to our place. I had lost touch with a lot of friends over the years. So imagine running into a close friend after almost 10 years when you are shopping at Costco! I didn’t even have a clue where she was in this big world and it seems that she was just 20 minutes away from my home all this time! Those are moments and feelings that cannot be expressed in words :-)

Anyway, coming to the recipe here, its simple to prepare, tasty, creamy and smooth and just delicious. But I am biased towards anything sweet, so don’t just take my word, prepare it and see for yourself.

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Recipe source: Puddin’ by Clio Goodman

Serves: 10 small servings 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 6 tablespoons cornstarch/cornflour
  • 3 egg yolks(I skipped)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2  (14 oz) cans of dulce de leche

Method:

  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk everything except the dulce de leche until no corn flour or sugar lumps remain.
  2. Cook over medium heat, whisking all the time until it starts to thicken. When you lift the whisk off the pudding and it leaves a shadow, the pudding is done).
  3. Remove from heat and strain through a sieve. Now add the dulce de leche and whisk into the pudding.
  4. Let it cool for 10-15 minutes and refrigerate until time to serve or at least 2-3 hours. You can cover with a cling wrap on top of the surface to prevent the pudding skin from forming, but I didn’t bother.
  5. Decorate as you wish and serve.

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Sahlab – Milk pudding

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BM # 74: Week 2, Day 1
Theme : Are you pudding me?
Recipe: Sahlab / Milk pudding

Its rare that I get so attached to a book, but the book Puddin’ has had that affect on me. I have tried about 3-4 recipes from that book and not a dud so far. The bad part is that I didn’t click pictures of those, but they were delicious nonetheless. What I like is the ease of preparation, especially when it comes to a crowd. Ten minutes, maybe fifteen and you are done!

The negative side of that book is that it uses whole milk and cream. A.lot. For someone who is trying really hard to stop expanding in size and trying harder to shrink a little bit, that’s not the right book. So for this theme, I wandered into the world of internet looking for “waist friendly” puddings. That’s how I came across this recipe.

Sahlab is a popular Middle Eastern drink. It is a silky smooth milk pudding made with a ready made mix called Salep which contains root of a special orchid. I used corn flour, which is the recommended substitute if you can’t find Salep. This pudding is extremely simple to prepare and tastes nice on a cold winter day. Do give it a try!

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Recipe source:

Serves 3 small servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoon corn flour or sahlab powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar or per taste
  • Cinnamon/ nutmeg/chopped nuts/coconut flakes for sprinkling on top

Method:

  1. Heat milk with sugar and corn flour whisking continuously until the milk starts to thicken. It took about 8-10 minutes for me.
  2. Pour onto a cup, sprinkle nutmeg and chopped nuts on top and drink cold or hot.

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Mini Pizza and Coca cola cake

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BM # 73: Week 1, Day 2
Theme : Mini baked treats 
Recipe: Mini Pizza cake

Three days before my husband turned 40, my son turned 10. Their birthdays fall right after Christmas and three days apart from each other. So that means, the oven is quite busy during that time. I am either baking or decorating the cakes for their big days.

I am yet to upload my son’s 9th birthday cake. It was a Lego cake, but I wasn’t happy with the outcome. He doesn’t like fondant and I couldn’t get a finish I liked with buttercream. This year he wanted his favorite food – coke and pizza. It was my idea actually :D, but he agreed wholeheartedly.

The coke cake seems intimidating, but its actually not. I followed this particular video by How to Cook That for it. I used a different recipe for the cake, for everything else, I followed the video as such.

I didn’t want to put the candle on the coke cake, so I made a mini pizza cake to keep the candle. On hindsight, I should have made a much thinner cake for the pizza, but at that point, I wasn’t thinking much. The pizza cake is pretty straight forward to make. Fill and frost your cake layers and cover it with fondant. You need to color the fondant with a teeny bit of copper or brown color. Use bits of black, green and red fondants to use as toppings, teeny bit of red buttercream for tomato sauce and grated white chocolate (chips here) for the cheese.

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You have to use a 2L coke bottle as a mold for the coke cake. Cut the bottle into two carefully at the middle. Save the label, you will need it for masking the joint and to give an authentic look. Melt chocolate and coat the bottom and top half. I followed the video and used white chocolate near the bottle cap to give the illusion of bubbles. Now refrigerate this to harden a bit and its ready to be filled and layered with cake.

The layers inside are as follows:

  • Whipped cream infused with coke that is boiled down to the consistency of honey
  • Chocolate cake
  • A jelly layer made with coke and plain gelatine
  • Vanilla cake made with coca cola

If I make this again, I would skip the jelly and use whipped cream as such without any coke flavoring. The cake won’t suffer at all because of these deductions.

You will need a cutter of some sorts to cut the baked 4″ cakes and the jelly into smaller circles that can get inside the bottle. So layer the bottom half of the bottle with fresh cream, followed by chocolate cake cut to fit inside correctly, a jelly layer, some fresh cream again and then the vanilla cake. Once the layers are done till the top, refrigerate the cake. So now  you will have top and bottom of a Coca Cola shaped chocolate mold with cake layers inside it. The last step is to carefully cut the plastic off the cake. After that join the two parts using melting chocolate as a glue. Keep the label back to cover the joint. Make a small cap using fondant.

coke_cake

The best part of this was the vanilla cake. I had already baked the chocolate cake and wanted a vanilla cake for the color contrast. I also wanted some coke to be infused somehow in the cake.An internet search led me to this space and please check it out for some excellent food photography. I really loved those. The cake was very soft and tasted absolutely delicious. I couldn’t taste the soda in the final cake. I used the recipe below, which makes two 9″ cakes, to bake 2 tall 4″ cakes and 24 mini cupcakes. This recipe is a keeper.

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Recipe source: Local Milk Blog

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 sticks (226 gms) butter at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups coca cola

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 180 C/ 350F. Grease and line two 9″ pans or in my case, two 4″ pans and line a mini cupcake pan with baking cups.
  2. Whisk the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg) in a medium sized bowl.
  3. Beat butter for 3-4 minutes using a hand or stand mixer. Add the sugar carefully and beat it in until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time and beat it in. Add vanilla extract and let it combine well.
  5. In three batches, add the coca cola and the flour mix in, alternating between the two. So first add 1/2 cup coke and once its incorporated, add 1/3rd of the flour mix. Add the 2nd batch of coke only after the flour is mixed in well. Another half cup of coke, beat it in well. Next 1/3rd of the flour mix. One more round of alternate mixing like this and take the bowl out of the mixer and fold everything well with a silicone spatula to ensure that there aren’t any dry lumps.
  6. Pour the batter until its a little over half way  into the prepared pans. Bake until a skewer comes free when inserted in the middle of the cake, about 35- 40 minutes. For mini cupcakes, the time was around 20 minutes.
  7. Take the cake off the oven and let it rest for about ten minutes undisturbed. Carefully remove from the pan and frost and use once its completely cool.

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This is for Srivalli’s Kid’s Delight event , guest hosted by Gayathri, themed on Mini Baked Goodies.