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My Diverse Kitchen by Aparna Balasubramanian - 2d ago

All the Christmas baking I’ve been seeing on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest has got to me. I’ve given into the temptation of baking something that’s totally Christamassy! I made some Fudgy Brownie Christmas Trees.

These Fudgy Brownie Christmas Trees are just that – brownies cut and decorated to look like Christmas trees. I think I first came across them a couple of years back and have been wanting to make some since. It’s just that every Christmas, my baking gets taken over by these Date & Walnut and Fruit Cakes, and cookies. This time I decided to start my festive baking withthose brownies.  

I. Love. Brownies. I cannot resist the intense chocolate goodness of them. It also helps that my brownies are never too sweet. I do have a preference for cakey Chocolate Brownies though. Fudgy Brownies always seem like partially uncooked to me. So I rarely eat or make Fudgy Brownies.

This particular recipe makes brownies that are half way between cakey and overly fudgy. The balance is just right for me. If your taste in brownies run in this direction, this is the recipe for you.

Fudgy Brownie Christmas Trees are very easy to make. Bake the brownies, let them cool and cut them into triangles. Push in small pieces of chocolate cigarettes, pretzel sticks or chocolate fingers into the base of each triangle to make the “tree trunks”.  Then pipe white or green coloured icing in a zig-zag pattern and sprinkle some coloured sprinkles and silver dragees on that. Decorate the top of each “tree” with red and green chocolate buttons. Let the icing set and serve. That’s it!

Fudgy Brownie Christmas Trees
Easy fudgy brownies, a nice balance between cakey and very fudgy, that are cut into triangles and decorated like festive Christmas trees.
Servings12 Brownie Christmas Trees
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Passive Time2 hours
Ingredients
For the Brownies :
For the Icing :
Instructions
Make the Brownies :
  1. Melt the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water (don't let the bowl touch the water). Mix in the instant coffee powder. Remove from the heat.
  2. Lightly whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt to mix. Quickly stir in the flour mixture, the whisked eggs, sugar, and vanilla until just combined.
  3. Pour the batter into a parchment lined and greased 8” x 8” baking tin. Bake it at 180C (350F) for about 30 minutes or till done. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out with moist crumbs sticking to it (not uncooked batter). Do not over bake or the texture of the brownies will suffer.
  4. Let it cool completely.
Make The Trees :
  1. Cut the cooled brownie cake into 12 triangular tree-shaped wedges.
  2. Mix the icing sugar with a tsp or two of water to make a thick icing that is runny. Put it into a plastic icing bag and cut a small hole at the bottom. Pipe over the brownie triangles in a zigzag pattern.
  3. Lightly scatter the sprinkles over the icing and place a red or green chocolate button on the top pf each brownie tree. Insert a chocolate cigarette/ pretzel stick or chocolate finger at the base of each tree to create a tree trunk.
  4. Let the icing to set well before serving.

The post Fudgy Brownie Christmas Trees appeared first on My Diverse Kitchen - A Vegetarian Blog.

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My Diverse Kitchen by Aparna Balasubramanian - 5d ago

I have been on a rather long break. We spent the first half of last month on a trip to the UK. It was part vacation and partly to attend our daughter’s graduation at Oxford.  Once we got back the rest of the month went in a couple of short trips. I haven’t been cooking much either. It’s funny how a break can make it difficult to get back to routine. It’s time I stopped neglecting this blog, though. Let me start with my recipe for a Hazelnut Chocolate Spread that is not Nutella.

I discovered Nutella when it first came to India a while back. It’s not an understatement to say that the combination of chocolate and hazelnuts can be addicting. I went off Nutella when there was a controversy about it not being vegetarian friendly. There was a suggestion that the whey in it was sourced from rennet of animal origin.

That didn’t mean that I didn’t crave it occasionally. At some point I decided to do something about it. Like other things before, I decided to make some at home. I call what I make Hazelnut Chocolate Spread and not Nutella though. For one thing, it’s a copyright issue to do so. Also, I believe my Hazelnut Chocolate Spread is better than Nutella!

Making it at home means I know and can control exactly what goes into it. My version uses darker chocolate, has less added fat and is a lot less sweet which is how we like it. It also has a lot more hazelnuts in it.

My Hazelnut Chocolate Spread needs just 5 ingredients and a blender. There is no set recipe and the proportion of hazelnuts to chocolate is a personal preference. I like to use a little more of the hazelnuts. As far as the kind of chocolate you use, it depends entirely on your taste. You can use just semi-sweet dark chocolate, only milk chocolate or a mix of both. I like using a mix of both as that appeals to all of us. My husband doesn’t really like dark chocolate very much. The coconut oil gives the spread a lovely smoothness and a little goes a long way.

You can use a food processor to make the spread.  I prefer to use my mixer/ blender as it gives me a smoother spread. If your processor or blender doesn’t have a strong enough motor, you might have a slightly gritty spread. The hazelnuts have to be powdered as fine as possible. This spread is of spreadable texture at room temperature but will solidify a bit in the fridge.

Hazelnut Chocolate Spread
Easy home made smooth and creamy hazelnut chocolate spread that's low on sugar, added fat and contains no preservatives or artificial additives.
Servings2 jars
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. If you don’t have toasted hazelnuts, you can toast them in the oven or on the stove top. I prefer doing this on the stove top. For the oven, preheat oven to 180C (350F) and bake hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet for about 10 to 15 minutes till a light brown. Let them cool.
  2. In the meanwhile, melt the chopped chocolate over a double boiler and keep aside.
  3. You can do this in a food processor, but I prefer using the chutney jar of my mixer blender. Run the toasted and cooled hazelnuts in the mixer blender till they’re ground as fine as possible. Make sure the hazelnuts have no skin on them.
  4. If using the chutney or small jar of the mixer blender, transfer the powdered hazelnuts to a larger jar. Add the coconut oil, vanilla extract, salt and melted chocolate. Run in the blender until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides of the jar for a homogenous texture. Makes two medium jars.

The post Hazelnut Chocolate Spread appeared first on My Diverse Kitchen - A Vegetarian Blog.

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My Diverse Kitchen by Aparna Balasubramanian - 1M ago

I’m taking a three week break as we’re going on a short holiday. So it is going to be mid-November before I post again. Before I go, I must tell you that I came across Tamarillos or Tree Tomatoes of this season. This is the season for them and perhaps all I’m going to see of them this time. They seem to have a rather short season here. I rarely see them for more than three weeks and they’re gone. Last year I made some Tamarillo and Pear Jam. This year I decided to make some Tamarillo Apple Chutney with them.

The Tamarillo is originally from South America and belongs to the same family as tomatoes. There they are known as tomate de árbol (tree tomato). Tamarillos came to New Zealand sometime in the sixties. They were then renamed Tamarillo to avoid confusion with tomatoes.

This year, I had plans to bake with the Tamarillos. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the time and now my oven seems to be hinting at permanent retirement. So the Tamarillos sat on my kitchen counter getting ripe and nice deep red. They needed to to be used up before they got spoiled.

Tamarillos have a high amount of pectin and are perfect to make jams, relishes and chutneys. They are a bit tart with a hint of sweetness once they ripen. I had a couple of apples on hand so a Tamarillo Apple Chutney seemed the way to go.

The tamarillos have to be peeled first as the skin is very bitter. Also make sure your fruit is very ripe. Ripe tamarillos should give when pressed slightly. Unripe tamarillos can be very tart and astringent.

This is a really easy recipe and takes very little time. Drop all the ingredients in a pot and slow cook them together till the mixture thickens to a chutney. This shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes. The slight tartness of the tamarillos gives this Tamarilllo Apple Chutney a mild tang. Serve it on crackers or toast. This recipe is for a batch of 2 small jam jars worth of chutney. You can make larger batches.

Tamarillo Apple Chutney
A western style sweet, tart and spicy chutney made with tamarillos or tree tomatoes, apple and onions, spiced with all spice and red chilli powder.
Servings2 small jars
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Passive Time15 minutes
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Make a small shallow cross, with a sharp knife, at the pointed end of each Tamarillo. Drop them in a pot of boiling water and turn the heat off. Cover the pot and let them sit in the water for 5 minutes. Take them out and let them cool. You will be able to easily peel the Tamarillos. Peel and roughly chop them and put them into a thick bottomed pot.
  2. Peel, core and dice the apple and add to the tamarillo in the pot. Grate the onion and add this to the pot as well.
  3. Now also add the brown sugar, vinegar, salt, red chilli powder, raisins and the allspice. Mix and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and allow the mixture to cook. Stir occasionally to make sure the chutney doesn’t catch at the bottom of the pot. Let it thicken to desired consistency.
  4. Take it off the heat and let it cool completely. Transfer to sterilized and airtight glass jars. The flavor will improve if left for a couple of days before using. I would suggest refrigerating the chutney once you open the jars.

The post Tamarillo Apple Chutney appeared first on My Diverse Kitchen - A Vegetarian Blog.

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My Diverse Kitchen by Aparna Balasubramanian - 2M ago

We’re back baking at the Bread Baking Babes once again. This month, we’re giving our ovens a rest as Karen chose Steamed Bao Buns for us to make. This turned out to be a good thing for me, as my oven has started dying on me.

Steamed Bao Buns are Chinese yeasted buns with fillings. Today’s Steamed Bao Buns are like the Gua Bao. Unlike the pleated Chinese buns, the Gua Bao is made by folding over dough and steaming them. This creates a pocket which can hold a filling. Think of it as a kind of sandwich with steam cooked bread.

Steamed buns have been eaten in China for hundreds of years. These buns come from Northern China, where wheat was grown more than rice. There are many stories behind the origin of steamed buns. One tells of a Chinese general who needed to cross a raging river with his troops. The people across the river agreed to help him in return for fifty severed heads of his men. The general however managed to pacify them with large meat filled buns!

I have made steamed buns like Tingmo/ Ting Momos and Chinese Flower Steamed Buns before but not these sandwich-style Steamed Bao Buns. They’re very easy to make, shape and cook. Though typically filled with some sort of cooked meat, you can make any kind vegetarian filling too. I used a stir-fried vegetable and sprouts filling made with a Teriyaki stir-fry sauce.

The recipe below makes 10 Steamed Bao Buns. I halved the recipe and made six slightly smaller buns. They made for a nice evening snack. You can serve them at any time of the day, either as a meal or a filling snack.

Steamed Bao Buns
Vegetarian steam cooked sandwich style yeasted Chinese buns filled with vegetables and sprouts stir-fried in Teriyaki sauce.
Servings10 Bao Buns
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Passive Time2.5 hours
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. This dough can be kneaded by hand as well. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and yeast in the bowl of a processor or stand mixer. Add the water, and mix for about 30 seconds. Add the oil, and knead until smooth. The dough should not stick to the sides of the bowl.
  2. Cover loosely with a damp towel or plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled. This can take anywhere from an hour to two. In the meanwhile, cut parchment paper into 10 four inch squares. These are to keep the buns from sticking to the steamer.
  3. Deflate the dough and divide it into 10 equal pieces. Give each piece a quick knead.
  4. On a floured surface roll each piece of dough out into a 3 inch by 6 inch oval/ rectangle with rounded edges. Fold each over itself in half lengthwise, and place on a parchment square. Cover them lightly with oiled plastic wrap or a damp towel, and let them proof for 30 to 45 minutes, until slightly puffy.
  5. When they’re ready, bring a pot or wok of water to a steady boil. Fit your pan or wok with a steamer, bamboo basket, or steaming rack just above the water. Place the Baos in the steamer, cover, and steam for 12 to 15 minutes. Cool slightly, fill with a filling of your choice, and eat.
  6. You can refrigerate or freeze leftovers. You can either thaw and re-steam for 3 minutes, or wrap one in a damp paper towel and microwave for 20 to 30 seconds.

The Bread Baking Babes (BBB) is a closed group, but you’re most welcome to bake with us as a Bread Baking Buddy. Bake this month’s bread using Karen’s recipe and post it on your blog before the 28th of this month. Mention the Bread Baking Babes and link to her BBB post in your own post. Then e-mail Karen with your name and the link to the post, or leave a comment on her blog post with this information.

The Bread Baking Babes are –

Bake My Day – Karen

Bread Baking Babe Bibliothécaire – Katie

Blog from OUR kitchen – Elizabeth

Feeding my enthusiasms – Elle

Girlichef – Heather

Life’s A Feast – Jamie

A Messy Kitchen – Kelly

Lucullian Delights – Ilva

My Kitchen In Half Cups – Tanna

Notitie Van Lien – Lien

Bread Experience – Cathy

Karen’s Kitchen Stories – Karen

Judy’s Gross Eats – Judy

The post Steamed Bao Buns appeared first on My Diverse Kitchen - A Vegetarian Blog.

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My Diverse Kitchen by Aparna Balasubramanian - 2M ago

Today, I share my recipe for Thengai Burfi or Coconut Fudge. This sweet in not really fudge as it is known in the western world. Yet, that’s the closest I can come with an English word to describe the Indian Burfi. This burfi needs just three ingredients – fresh coconut, sugar and water. Cardamom and a touch of ghee, though not used traditionally, make it a little more special. Thengai Burfi or Coconut Fudge is one more sweet which is typical of Palakkad Iyer cuisine.

My home state of Kerala is really a land of coconut trees, not just ayurveda, Kathakali and backwaters. There still is some disagreement as to the origin of the name, but Kerala is thought to come from the words “Keram” and “Alam”. Keram, in vernacular means coconuts and Alam means land or territory. Even if this wasn’t true, the sheer abundance of coconut trees throughout the state supports the belief.

Not surprisingly, the coconut is important in Kerala cuisine irrespective of community or religion. The coconut and the tree features in most aspects of our lives, then and now. Coconut shells are fashioned into bowls, ladles and other items of utility or decoration. The husk is an excellent potting medium and used to make coir for ropes, baskets and mats.

Coconut flowers/ inflorescence are considered auspicious and used to decorate venues at traditional ceremonies including weddings. The buds yield a sweet liquid which is fermented to make toddy/ arrack (local alcoholic drink) and coconut vinegar.

Coconut leaves are woven into thatch roofs, mats, hand-held fans, fruit baskets, traditional umbrellas, brooms, etc. The wood of the coconut tree is very hardy and durable. It makes excellent furniture and is used as construction material.

Tender coconut water and the soft creamy flesh are particular favourites in our hot and humid summers. The coconut and coconut milk are used in traditional cooking.  Coconut oil is the traditional cooking fat in Kerala cuisine. It is also an excellent hair and skin conditioner. Every Keralite knows and swears by the medicinal properties of virgin coconut oil. Ayurvedic practitioners have long used coconut oil extensively in Ayurveda for its medicinal and rejuvenating qualities.

A burfi is a squarish or diamond shaped bite sized Indian confection. There are hundreds of varieties of burfi made across India. Burfis are generally festive or celebratory fare and comes in a mind boggling variety of flavours and colours depending on which part of India one is in. Most of them feature making a thick sugar syrup which binds and sets the ingredients to a fudge like consistency.

Typically, this Burfi should be quite well set but not hard. The fresh coconut makes it quite juicy when eaten. You could try making it with dry unsweetened coconut, but I can’t guarantee good results. There is no substitute for fresh coconut in this recipe. Thengai Burfi or Coconut Fudge is traditionally made only with coconut, sugar and water. More modern recipes include, non-traditional flavours, colour, nuts, etc.

This post has been updated with text and photography since it was first published in September, 2009.

Thengai Burfi or Coconut Fudge
A South Indian traditional fudge like festive confection made with fresh coconut and flavoured with cardamom and a little ghee.
Servings24 pieces
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Passive Time30 minutes
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. When scraping/ grating the coconut, make sure the brown part does not scraped/ grated as well. This will produce brown flecks in the Coconut Burfi which should be white.
  2. You may also run the grated coconut a couple of times in your mixer/ blender or food processor to make it finer. Do not over process as it will release oil and become a paste. The finer coconut will produce a smoother Burfi.
  3. Place the sugar and water in a thick walled/ heavy bottom pan. Over medium heat, stir till the sugar dissolves completely and starts boiling. Keep stirring frequently and let the sugar syrup cook and thicken till it reaches 2-string consistency.
  4. Since most kitchens in India (even now) do not use candy thermometers, we tend to use the cold water candy test method. And "string/ thread" consistencies are the first stages of sugar syrup.
  5. To check for 2-string consistency, put a couple of drops of the sugar syrup on your index finger (make sure it has cooled slightly, but still warm, or you will burn your finger). Bring your thumb down to lightly touch the sugar syrup. Lift your thumb away from your finger and the syrup will form threads. If 2 or 3 threads (one thick thread is not enough) form and break, the syrup is at the right consistency.
  6. If this consistency isn't reached, your burfi can end up becoming soft and fudgy. If your syrup passes this stage, the burfi will be dry and not quite hold together. At the correct consistency, the burfi would hold its shape well while being a bit soft and juicy when bitten into.
  7. When the sugar syrup has reached the desired consistency, add the grated coconut and stir well. The mixture will take on a slightly wet look from the milk in the coconut. Continue cooking the mixture stirring constantly, till it thickens quite a bit and the edges start looking white and take on a frothy appearance. At this point the mixture will be thick and somewhat dry looking. Don't worry, it will stay together.
  8. Add the ghee and cardamom powder and stir well. Take the pan off the heat and pour the mixture into a 7" x 11" pan/ cake tin which has been greased well with ghee. Press down (not very hard but enough to pack the mixture into the tin) and level the mixture with a greased flat spatula or the back of a spoon or even the underside of a greased flat bowl.
  9. Allow to cool and harden a bit. Mark into 24 small squares. Once it has cooled down completely cut and transfer to an airtight container.
  10. If you plan to keep this beyond 3 or 4 days, then please refrigerate the burfi, in an airtight container, after it has cooled.

The post Thengai Burfi or Coconut Fudge appeared first on My Diverse Kitchen - A Vegetarian Blog.

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My Diverse Kitchen by Aparna Balasubramanian - 2M ago

Mangoes were very much around this summer, and I tried packing as much of it into our meals as I could. Fresh fruit is really the best way to eat mango and we did plenty of that. Mango is never unwelcome in our home, fresh or in any other form. Today I’m sharing my Egg Free Mango Passion Fruit Gelato.

I might have mentioned previously that my husband and I are going vegan for a couple of months. So, it means no milk or milk products which are normally a part of our diet. The lack of milk or cream wasn’t stopping me from making Gelato.

I used coconut milk because it goes very well with mangoes and passion fruit. We also like the flavor of coconut very much. You can use soy milk if you prefer or whole milk if going vegan isn’t a compulsion. You can also add the flesh of an avocado if you want added creaminess in your Gelato.

There’s not much of a recipe really, for this Egg Free Mango Passion Fruit Gelato. All it takes is blending all the ingredients till smooth and freezing it till it’s done. If you have an ice-cream machine use that. Otherwise, use this method like I did.

Not everyone likes the crunch of passion fruit. I do, so what I do with passion fruit is to strain the pulp and keep some of the seeds aside. I then mix in the seeds after the last time I break up the frozen Gelato. If you’re using a machine, just stir in the seeds just before you scrape the mixture into the freezing bowl.

The passion fruit I get here is usually sweet with a hint of tartness. If your passion fruit or mangoes are just sweet, I would suggest you add a couple of teaspoons of lime juice to add a hint of tartness to the Gelato. It really does make a difference in taste.

Egg Free Mango Passion Fruit Gelato
An egg free and vegan summer recipe for a mango and passion fruit gelato. It uses fresh summer fruit and is easy to make.
Servings4 servings
Prep Time15 minutes
Passive Time8 hours
Instructions
  1. Blend all the ingredients except the seeds, till smooth. Pour into a metal container, cover and freeze till set.
  2. Take the Gelato out and run it till smooth in your food processor to break the crystals. Scrape back into the container and freeze till set. Once again run in the processor till smooth. Mix in the seeds and return to the freezer.
  3. If the Gelato has set very hard, take it out of the freezer and refrigerate it for an hour to soften. Serve with sauce and toppings of your choice. Fresh chopped mango and passion fruit sauce are excellent choices.

The post Egg Free Mango Passion Fruit Gelato appeared first on My Diverse Kitchen - A Vegetarian Blog.

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My Diverse Kitchen by Aparna Balasubramanian - 2M ago

Today I’m sharing a recipe for Kurkuri Bhindi – Crispy Okra. Kurkuri Bhindi is a dish that has its origins somewhere in North India. I say somewhere because more than a couple of states make this dish and in their own way. The name, in Hindi, describes the dish perfectly – crispy okra.

There are a lot of people in this world who don’t like okra, while some do. I’m somewhere on the fence. I like okra in some dishes, so long as it’s crisp and not slimy once it’s cooked. I also have a distinct preference for my own cooking when it comes to okra.

However, Kurkuri Bhindi  – Crispy Okra is probably the one okra dish that I’d eat anywhere. For one it’s crisp and crunchy. There’s no hint of slime and many people will not even recognize it as okra until you mention it.

There are many recipes for this dish out there. Every family has their own recipe for Kurkuri Bhindi – Crispy Okra that they will tell you is the best. Some use chickpea flour, some use only rice flour and some like me use both.  A lot of variation in recipes also comes from the spices used to coat the okra.

I come from the Southern part of India and this recipe is not traditional there. The recipe below is based on a mix of spices I use which is pretty much close to traditional versions. You need to use quite tender okra for this recipe. Baby okra works best. If you have the long variety of okra, you can halve them.

Some people prefer to remove the seeds in the okra but I personally don’t bother. I feel the seeds add to the crispy nature of this dish. The thinner the okra strips, the crisper the Kurkuri Bhindi  – Crispy Okra will be.

This recipe is generally served as a side dish with rice or chappathis, and also served as a snack with tea. Some people prefer to lightly sprinkle the fried okra with chaat masala while serving it as a snack.

Kurkuri Bhindi - Crispy Okra
Crispy and spiced okra cooked Indian style. A gluten-free and vegan recipe, this can be served as a side or as a tea time snack.
Servings3 servings
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Passive Time20 minutes
Instructions
  1. Wash the okra and pat them dry. Trim both ends and cut each okra lengthwise into quarters. If the quartered okra seems a little wide, halve them so they’re thinner. You don’t want very thin pieces either. Put them in a largish bowl.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the flours, all the spices and the salt. Sprinkle this flour-spice mix over the okra strips and toss well till the okra is uniformly and well coated. You can do the deep frying immediately. I prefer to let the okra sit for about 20 minutes. I find that this helps because the oil flour-spice mix sticks to the okra better.
  3. Heat the oil in a wok. The oil should be reasonably hot but not smoking hot. Deep fry in small batches to ensure the okra fries well and crisp.
  4. Drop a small handful of the okra into the hot oil. Loosen clumps first, if any, with your fingers while dropping them in. Fry till the okra are a golden brown and crisp.
  5. Remove from the oil and allow to the crisp okra to drain on paper towels. Serve immediately.

The post Kurkuri Bhindi – Crispy Okra appeared first on My Diverse Kitchen - A Vegetarian Blog.

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My Diverse Kitchen by Aparna Balasubramanian - 3M ago

What do you do when you life gives you a whole lot of apples? If you’re me, you would probably turn some of them into apple pie. Since I am predictable when it comes to apple pie, I did bake pie. However, it was a Norwegian Apple Pie, for a change.

I love anything that’s remotely like apple pie. I find the combination of apple, a bit of brown sugar, cinnamon and crisp flaky crust irresistible. I’d be quite happy with just apple pie filling and no, I don’t really need the ice-cream.

Last week, I had gone vegetable and fruit shopping and came home with half a dozen apples as well. Two days later, we had family visiting and they brought us a lot more apples. In my native community, it is common courtesy to carry along some form of food, when we go visiting family and friends. Something sweet or fruit is norm. This is particularly important if there are elders or children in the family being visited.  It is the gesture that is important so it doesn’t matter what you take along.

I went back to my cookbook collection and thumbed through for easy to bake recipes featuring apples. Much as I like apple pie, I didn’t really want to spend time with a pie crust dough. I was looking for an easy and fuss free recipe that would give me dessert in an hour.

I found just the recipe in a Norwegian Apple Pie in Weeknight Desserts by Beatrice Ojakangas. I’m a fan of her recipes and this particular cookbook is full of easy dessert recipes.

A Norwegian Apple Pie or Eplepai is not your typical pie with a crust and filling. It is actually more cake than pie but unlike any other apple cake you might have eaten. A traditional Norwegian recipe, it is simple, comforting and full of apple.

Once you have peeled, cored and diced the apples, the batter comes together in a matter of minutes. It’s a one bowl recipe as well. You don’t even need a hand held mixer. A wooden spoon is more than enough to make the batter. You just gently mix the dry ingredients into the wet ones. I forget to mention that this recipe also does not contain butter or oil.

You can cut it into wedges and serve it warm, as it. Otherwise serve with it a scoop of ice-cream or some whipped cream.

The recipe below is a slightly adapted version of the original.

Norwegian Apple Pie
A no-crust Norwegian Apple Pie that's more cake than pie, is easy to make and is all about the flavour of apples, cinnamon and nutmeg
Servings8 servings
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Line a 8” pie dish (or cake tin) and butter or grease it well.
  2. Put the flour, sugars, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg into a large mixing bowl. Whisk together and then mix in thediced apple and walnuts so they’re well coated with the flour.
  3. Mix in the egg and vanilla extract. If the batter feels too dry mix in a little milk, a teaspoon at a time. Don’t add too much milk because this batter should be stiff and not like typical cake batter.
  4. Scrape the batter into the prepared tin and level it. Bake at 180C (350F) for about 30 minutes till the pie puffs up slightly and is brown.
  5. Remove from oven and cut into wedges while still warm. Serve as is with coffee or tea, or with ice-cream or whipped cream.

The post Norwegian Apple Pie appeared first on My Diverse Kitchen - A Vegetarian Blog.

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My Diverse Kitchen by Aparna Balasubramanian - 3M ago

I’m really late with this month’s Bread Baking Babes a.k.a BBB bread which is a Yeasted Plum Coffee Cake with an Oatmeal Streusel Topping. Actually, Judy picked a Zoe Francis recipe for Yeasted Blueberry Coffee Cake. I don’t get blueberries here so I went with plums instead.

This Yeasted Plum Coffee Cake uses a brioche dough recipe from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. It was a good opportunity to revisit my copy of the book after ages. This recipe also involves making a skillet jam with fresh fruit, which is layered within the bread. One can use whatever fruit is in season to make the jam for this coffee cake. Of course, slightly tart and sweet fruit makes a jam that works better here.  Samruddhi, a good friend and sourdough baker par excellence, recently brought me some of her homemade plum jam.

So this is an enriched yeasted bread or yeasted cake layered with jam and topped with a streusel. It is easy enough to make. The dough is a no-knead dough and just needs mixing well. The skillet jam is easy to make as well, and can be made ahead of making the coffee cake. The streusel comes together in 5 minutes. All the remaining time is mostly spent allowing the dough to rise.

This recipe turned out into a bit of an adventure for me. It rained very heavily and mostly without break most of this month where I live.  33 dams across Kerala were opened to release excess water. All this resulted in severe floods in the state. We were lucky to live where the waters didn’t even come close at all.

I was short of certain ingredients needed for this recipe and not in a position to go shopping for them. So I made some substitutions and my Yeasted Plum Coffee Cake turned out a bit different in taste and texture. It was good though.

I had no butter or eggs as we’re still in our “eating vegan” phase. So I left out the eggs and added a little more water to compensate for the liquid. I substituted oil for butter (generally, about 3/4 cup oil for 1 cup butter works). I also discovered I had run out of all-purpose flour. Instead, I made my yeasted coffee cake with whole wheat flour. So I ended up with a brown colored, slightly denser but delicious yeasted cake.

If you want to try using whole wheat flour, I would suggest substituting for just half the all-purpose flour. Unless your family and friends don’t mind a denser coffee cake. To make this coffee cake completely vegan, you can replace the honey with sugar. The general rule of the thumb for this is 1 1/4 cups of sugar and 1/4 cup of liquid (water or any liquid in your recipe) for a cup of honey.

The recipe below is the full recipe for original recipe without substitutions. My fellow bakers told me that half of the recipe below would make a yeasted coffee cake leaving enough brioche dough for a loaf. So I made just one quarter of the recipe below  to make one 8” Yeasted Plum Coffee Cake.

The Oatmeal Streusel Topping recipe given below is one I prefer to use. Please note that it makes enough Streusel Topping to generously cover one 8” coffee cake. Please see Judy’s recipe for the original recipe.

Yeasted Plum Coffee Cake
A hearty layered no knead yeasted coffee cake with layers filled with plum jam, and topped with oatmeal streusel topping.
Ingredients
For the Brioche Dough :
For the Blueberry Skillet Jam
For the Oatmeal Streusel Topping
Instructions
Make the Brioche Dough :
  1. Mix the water, yeast, salt, honey, and melted oil in a large bowl. There should be enough space above the dough for it to rise in the refrigerator.
  2. Mix in the flour without kneading, using a spoon, dough whisk, or a stand mixer (with paddle). The dough will be loose but will firm up when chilled. Do not try to work with it before chilling.
  3. Cover the bowl loosely and allow to rest at room temperature for 2 hours. Then refrigerate for at least 3 hours. The dough can be used as soon as it is thoroughly chilled. Refrigerate the container and use over the next 5 days.
  4. The recipe can be halved. Even a half recipe will provide enough dough for two separate bakes. I quartered the recipe. If your dough is too hard, let it sit at room temperature for a little while till it is manageable. If you leave it too long it will become too soft to work with.
Make the Skillet Jam :
  1. Cook the berries, sugar and lemon juice until the fruit juices are thick enough that you can run the spoon across the bottom of the skillet or pan and it doesn’t immediately fill in. It should be the consistency of honey.
  2. You are welcome to experiment with other fruits. This can be made ahead.
For the Oatmeal Streusel Topping :
  1. In a bowl mix together all the ingredients with your fingers till crumbly, adding the oil last. Keep aside. You can also make this while the dough is rising.
Assembling the Coffee Cake :
  1. If you’re making a quarter of the recipe, divide the dough into three equal portions.
  2. If using half the recipe, first take 16 ounces of dough (about 450gm or 2 cups approximately) for a 9” spring form pan. You can use 12 ounces (about 350gm or 1 1/2 cups approximately), for an 8” spring form pan.
  3. Divide the dough into 3 pieces, shape them into balls and then roll out into disks that will fit comfortably into your spring form pan. I used an 8” spring form pan. It’s okay if the edges go up slightly on the sides.
  4. Lay one of the disks into the pan. Cover with 1/3 of the jam, spreading out, but not quite to the edges. Repeat this with the remaining two disks of dough and jam.
  5. Loosely cover the pan and allow to rest for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours, depending on the warmth of the kitchen. It should look a bit puffy.
  6. Add the streusel to the pan just before baking, otherwise it will get soggy from the jam. Just scatter it over the top, so it is still in pieces, don’t press it down.
  7. Bake the coffee cake at 180C (350F) for about 45 minutes. Let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing the sides of the pan.
  8. Let cool for 20 minutes before cutting to allow the bread layers to set or cool longer and serve room temperature.

The Bread Baking Babes are –

Bake My Day – Karen

Bread Baking Babe Bibliothécaire – Katie

Blog from OUR kitchen – Elizabeth

Feeding my enthusiasms – Elle

Girlichef – Heather

Life’s A Feast – Jamie

A Messy Kitchen – Kelly

Lucullian Delights – Ilva

My Kitchen In Half Cups – Tanna

Notitie Van Lien – Lien

Bread Experience – Cathy

Karen’s Kitchen Stories – Karen

Judy’s Gross Eats – Judy

The Bread Baking Babes (BBB) is a closed group, but you’re most welcome to bake with us as a Bread Baking Buddy. Here’s how it works.

Bake this month’s bread using Judy’s recipe and post it on your blog before the 28th of this month. Mention the Bread Baking Babes and link to her BBB post in your own post. Then e-mail her with your name and the link to the post, or leave a comment on her blog post with this information. She will include your bread in the Buddy round-up for this month on her blog.

The post Yeasted Plum Coffee Cake appeared first on My Diverse Kitchen - A Vegetarian Blog.

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