Ria's Collection: February 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011

DILKHUSH...an Indian favourite my way!


In one of our telephone conversations Amma & I happened to speak about 'Dilkush'. We both had it in our respective hostels during our college days. It was served as a tea- time snack. When I mentioned it to Jobin that evening, even he remembered eating it. Actually we 3 had very fond memories of it so I thought of giving it a try. I knew it was not a puff pastry casing instead something in between rough puff pastry and shortcrust pastry and I had no idea as to how to make it. So I thought of using the rough puff pastry I made a few days ago.

I love the filling. You can really have it alone if you are craving for something sweet.I couldn't stop myself from digging into it while I rolled out the pastry shell. I don't know how far I was successful in it because I think this is the closest I can get to in replicating that sweet at home unless that Bakery guy shares his recipe with me.

Today (Feb 22) is Amma's birthday and I thought I'd post this for her. Last year, we were there in Kannur on that day to celebrate her birthday with her. This year we are continents apart from each other!

DILKHUSH  my way!
Recipe for the rough puff pastry- My grandmother's cookbook
Recipe for the filling- My own

For the rough puff pastry:
150g butter
200g plain all purpose flour
a pinch of salt
1 tsp lemon juice
125 ml ice cold water

For the filling:
1 c freshly grated coconut
3-4 tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp cardamom powder, optional

1 egg, lightly beaten for glace

For the rough puff pastry:
Cut the firm but not hard butter into walnut sized pieces.
Sift the flour and salt together into a wide bowl and add the butter with lemon juice & water.Mix the ingredients lightly with a round bladed knife and maybe use your fingertips too, to form a soft elastic dough.
Turn out the dough to a floured surface & knead it lightly.Shape it into a rectangle and then roll it out into a strip about 3/4 " thick, 12" long and 4"wide keeping the edges straight. Butter will be clearly seen as yellow streaks in the pastry.
Fold the bottom third of the pastry up& upper third down.( It will look like a parcel)
Turn the pastry so that the fold points toward the left hand side, seal the edges lightly with the edge of the little finger.
Roll out the pastry again keeping it 1/2" thick and to a rectangle of 18" x6".Fold it once again.
Place in a plastic bag and leave it in a cool place for 20 mins. Repeat this 4 times more .
Rest the finished pastry for 10 mins before shaping .

For the filling:
Dump all the ingredients together in a pan. Cook on medium heat till the sugar dissolves and it becomes slightly sticky (about a minute or two).
Let it cool completely before you fill the pastry case.


Pre-heat the oven to 425F and position the rack in the centre.
Line a rectangular baking tray with parchment/butter paper.
Divide the dough into 2 parts and roll out each part on a lightly floured surface or using a parchment paper.
Take one rolled out circle and place on the baking sheet.
Top it with the filling. Place the other rolled out pastry sheet over it and seal the edges using water.Fold it over to create a decorative edge.
Brush the top with the egg and cut a small X in the centre of the pastry (just a steam vent).
Bake for 25-30 mins or till it is golden in colour.
Cool completely on a wire rack before serving.

Verdict: I wouldn't say this was the exact same replica, it was definately different. This was more crunchier than the original. Jobin had a totally different filling idea and I didn't know that until he ate a slice. 'Oh this was not the filling that I had in mind but whatever this filling is, it's really good' was his reply after he had a bite!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

WE TURNED ONE...It's time to celebrate! :)

Valentine flowers
It was our 1st wedding anniversary on the 15th, yes, time sure flies! If you have been thinking that's the reason for my absence here, no,it was because our laptop battery and charger decided to die almost on the same day so we had to get it replaced.Now getting back to blogging is quite tough...I was slowly comfortably getting used to not typing a hundred words in one minute :)
First Anniversary Cake

I still remember the confusion and stress I went through on the same day last year when I iced our wedding cake! Ah, I think I should tell you all that story! I think I drove everyone around me crazy...I think sometimes I'm the 'Monica' (FRIENDS) types in my family. I can be really rude at times and give orders without even thinking what the other person might think or feel. When I look back at it, it was fun, for me :) It was Amma's dream that I bake/decorate my own wedding cake which later got into me and became my dream as well :) Amma and I baked the cake the previous day and kept the icing part for the big day. It's not that we didn't know it would drive us nuts but it was just a prevention from driving us nuttier! You see, I have a HUGE family of no less than 100 people (counting immediate family only ;)We had our engagement and wedding back to back (14th Feb and 15th Feb) so we had a houseFULL of people ALL the time. It included infants to 80 year olds. We didn't worry about anybody elder than 12 years, but it was the younger ones that we were scared of. Imagine your nephews and nieces licking off bits and pieces of the buttercream roses that you painstakingly piped out one by one ? :) Whatever it was, no matter how many told us...we (Amma & I) knew that I am going to do it, all by myself. People around me thought we were crazy, but we know the fun we had! I wouldn't have missed it for anything!! Given a chance, I would still do it :)

If you were thinking what cake it was...it was Amma's Honey Soaked Date & Nut Cake.I decorated it with buttercream and piped roses in different shades of pink (I told ya I love pink!! ;) It did suffer some injuries while transportation but it was still in one piece :-D

Coming to the present scenario, I was throughly confused as to what to bake for the BIG day! Whenever I logged into FB, I had 100's of questions to answer to about the same thing and I had absolutely no idea as to what it would be :-D It's because I can do things only in the last minute.I'd start planning maybe a month back but I know myself very well...in the end when the time approches I would do something very different from what I though I would do before! This time it was no different. I knew one thing for sure...I'd be baking a cake, a layered cake. That's it. I had no further idea as to what to do with that piece of cake or what flavour it would be.This thought haunted me since January. I think of it day and night. I breathe it day and night . I dream about it so much that I wake up feeling tensed! Anyhow,on the day I was supposed to be baking, I wrote down a recipe and started with it. But I couldn't go on...I wanted to do something of my own and I did. That's what you just saw above :-)
Do you feel like reading more about my wedding prep? Click here!

Haven't I told you all that I love trying out different techniques? I actually search for them...I find that challenging.This is probably the only challenge that I go forward with without any hesitation, baking/cooking. Somehow I've always been able to produce a decent thing out of it.The anxiety that I go through when I cut through it is something I cannot explain using words...you should feel it for yourself :) It's FUN and I love it, totally!


Recipe source for the sponge- Amma

For the vanilla sponge:
1/2c sugar
1/2 c flour minus 1 tbsp
1tbsp cornstarch/cornflour
1tsp vanilla extract

For the chocolate sponge:
3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 c flour minus 3 tbsp
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1tbsp cornstarch/cornflour
1tsp vanilla extract

1 portion soaking syrup
11/2 heavy cream,whipped (If you wish,you can whip it up with some sugar to taste, too)

For the sponge (Vanilla & Chocolate)
Preheat the oven to 350F/180C
Butter and flour/line a 8' round cake tin with parchment paper.

Sift the dry ingredients together.Reserve.
Beat the eggs and sugar together till mousse like and almost tripled in volume. This will take about 10-12 mins of beating on high using an electric beater. DO NOT skimp on this as we are not using any leavening agents (baking powder/baking soda). Otherwise the cake WILL NOT rise.
Fold  the dry ingredients into the egg mixtures, carefully. The mixture will deflate a little,don't worry.
Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 28-30 mins or till the top is springy to touch and the skewer inserted comes out clean.
Cool in the tin for 10 mins and then invert it onto a rack and cool completely. 

To make the checkerboard pattern:

First of all, you need 2 round cakes, one dark and one light.
Instead of cutting it horizontally, this time you need to cut it vertically.

Imagine a cake having 2 more concentric circles in it .Cut accordingly. I used a round cookie cutter for the innermost circle and my saucepan lid for the middle circle as the template. So now, you have 3 rings out of one cake. Similarly do the same with the second cake.
Now, interchange the middle ring. While you do so, be careful and try to spread some whipped cream/jam/ganache so that the rings sticks together.Now you will be left with two black and white cakes.
Place one cake (with the interchanged rings) on the serving plate and soak it using half the soaking syrup.
Spread some whipped cream over it and place the second cake over it.
Spoon over the remaining soaking syrup over it.
Cover the top and sides with whipped cream and decorate as you desire.

This whole process is made so much easier if you happen to own a 'checkerboard pan' which I don't. I don't think I would want to because this method is really simple and with another tin, I will have to throw away some stuff to find a place for it in my cupboard!

Verdict: A very soft and spongy cake with perfect sweetness. We really loved it. I served it chilled which I feel is always better when it comes to gateaux.
We were away for the weekend so basically we gorged on all possible food,both junk and healthy.That way when I look at this cake I'm happy, it's butterless and  you wouldn't even miss it!

Monday, February 7, 2011


Isometimes get this feeling that I should create a series of my own recipes. And  I pull out everything and start with some weird combination of ingredients in my head. Luckily, they have always been edible.Last Friday evening,I was thinking of baking something out of that weird combination of ingredients and use Nutella to balance everything just in case something goes wrong ;) I couldn't wait for it to get baked. I almost stood by the oven for that 1 hour, the time it took for the pudding to bake...taking a peek every now and then. I bless my oven because it has a bulb inside it, so it's easier to have a peek.
I actually made this pudding for the World Nutella Day but I couldn't post it that day as we were busy at the Winter Carnival at the State Capitol,St.Paul. That day was fun! We got to see ice sculptures, ice palace,ice chair so on and so forth.They also had wine tasting plus a torch parade ,so I don't have to tell you how much fun we must have had! :) It was freezing but our jackets did a good job so I have no complaints!
Then came the SuperBowl Sunday and we were at our friend's house for dinner...so even that day passed by. But the good news is, this little space of mine touched 500,000 hits yesterday!! So that means the nutella post can be tweaked in for the celebratory post! ;-) So once again, I'm killing 2 birds with one stone! I hope I got that line right because the last time I said that, I said something else! :-D


My own recipe

For the custard:
1 1/2 c whole milk
4tbsp coconut milk powder
1 c warm water
5 eggs
1/2 c sugar
A pinch or two of salt

10 slices white bread
3 tbsp nutella

Pre-heat oven to 350F/180C and position the rack in the centre.

Arrange the bread slices on a cookie sheet and toast/bake them in the oven for 5 mins.
Spread nutella on each of the slices and cut them into 2 diagonally.
Arrange them neatly (with peaks showing) in a pudding dish.
Mix together whole milk, warm water and coconut powder (Instead of coconut powder and warm water, you can use 1 cup thick coconut milk).
Beat together eggs ,salt and sugar till fluffy, for about 30 secs.
Add it to the milk mixture.
Pour the milk mixture over the bread. If you want, you can spoon some over the slices too.

Prepare a water bath*and bake for 55 mins or till set.

* Inorder to prepare a water bath, take a rectangular baking tray and fill it half way with hot water. Place it in the oven and then place the bread pudding dish into it,carefully.

Verdict: We both had been craving for a bread pudding the whole of last week. Jobin said he's not a big fan of Nutella after I baked the pudding but he still ate it.It's because this was not the kind of bread pudding he was longing for, instead a Shahi Tukre/ Double Ka Meeta types. According to me, it was really nice with a faint coconut-y hint. If you are not a big fan of coconut, you can subtitute it with milk or cream for the same amount.Serve it hot or cold, I bet you are going to fall in love with this pudding! I just had 2 huge serving, myself :)

Now that the Shahi Tukre /Double Ka Meeta kind of bread pudding is still pending in our house, you might see that pop here as well ;)

On another note, I am hosting the Kerala Kitchen (click on the link for more details)this month, so if you are making anything with a touch of 'Kerala' in it, send in your entries to  airmathew AT gmail DOT com. The event ends on 28 Feb 2011. Please feel free to use the logo.

Friday, February 4, 2011


Thank you all so much for your precious comments on my Interview in Women's Era Jan 2011. You guys rock!! Now let me get my feet firm back on the ground! :-) It still feel so surreal! Anyhow, I baked a batch of brownies  before 'the' news broke but I wanted to share that  with you more than the baked goodie, so the brownie post had to wait.
There's something with me and brownies. I just cannot let go off a single recipe! I read through it and try to compare to what I have made before. And I bake a batch of 'em. This happens all the time including this time :-) Jobin doesn't seem to get fed up with it, so it's kind of OK with me baking brownies every now and then. This one is again from Alice's new book and is definately a delicious one.I just realised that I should tell you about my 'certain' food problems.

Whenever something (obviously food!) catches my fancy,I have to make it at home,whatever it may take and however long I have to wait! Initially it was the Joconde Imprime on the Chocolate Mousse Cake I found in Bangalore then it was Brownies and now I have many many more to add to my list and all of them are WIP (Work In Progress). I hunted for the perfect homemade brownie and made an American Brownie using my friend's mom's recipe.But now, my taste has definately refined over the years and I am looking for much more intense flavoured, chocolate-y stuff. Of course, I have my go-to recipe for a good brownie...but I still love that anxiety,that excitement, that wonder, the pressure of getting the crackly crust and the perfect texture inside it. That makes me go on and on baking brownies one after another!

Now, I have laid my eyes on a few things which I really want to try at home and someday I will. Till then, let me leave you with yet another intensely chocolate-y brownie recipe :)

Recipe:Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy by Alice Medrich. Pg 225

4 tbsp unsalted butter
11 oz (approx.300g) chocolate chips
2/3 c sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
2 large eggs,cold
1/3 c plus 1 tbsp  unbleached all purpose flour
1 c almonds
Chocolate Almond Brownies

Line an 8-inch square tin, the bottom and all 4 sides with foil.
Pre-heat oven to 180C/350F and position the rack in the middle.

Melt the chocolate and butter together, till smooth.
Stir in the sugar, salt and vanilla, if using.
Add 1 egg, stirring until it is incorporated. Repeat with the second egg.
Stir in the flour and beat with a wooden spoon or spatula until the batter is smooth and glossy and comes away from the sides of the bowl; it is critical that the batter pulls away, so do not stop mixing until it does.
Pour into the baking tin,spread it evenly but with lots of raised swirls and ridges and top with almonds.
Bake for 30-35 mins, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out with a few moist crumbs, not totally gooey.
Cool on rack, lift the foil ends to transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 squares.

Verdict: Just like any other Alice's recipe, this one is equally good. It has a deep chocolate-y taste and the crunch provided by the almonds add to the delicious-ness! Gosh, I really hope somebody comes up with a rule of no more new brownie recipe ever again! ;-) This is a temptation which I find hard to resist. I mean, look at those soft-bellied chocolate squares...how can you just take your eyes off them ??

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


My 2- page interview on Women's Era (A National Publication in India )  January 2011.

Interview - Page 1

Interview - Page 2

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