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ChaiTiramisu_First

We had good friends over for dinner recently and I made an Indian extravaganza (all posted recipes but I’ll repeat them below). I wanted something a little different because I’d already made Chai Crème Brûlée and Gulab Jamun. I’ve always wanted to bake Lady Fingers and that’s how I landed on Chai Tiramisu. We feasted on the Indian food and then retired to the living room to enjoy the wood fire and dessert; our guests must have enjoyed the dessert because after they’d decided they had had enough and rested the half-eaten plates on the coffee table, they kept picking them up for ‘just one more bite’, eventually finishing off the entire plate. Now THAT makes me happy.

It’s not overly sweet and the chai comes through from the chai liquor soaked lady fingers. The ricotta and Greek yogurt combo makes it slightly less rich than the mascarpone version which was good considering the heaviness of the meal; I would definitely make it again even with the home-made ladyfingers, but if you’re tight for time, the store bought Italian ladyfingers would certainly do the trick.

Chai Tiramisu and Homemade Ladyfingers

Makes approx 1 loaf pan 23 cm x 13 cm  (9″ x 5″) tiramisu.

ChaiTiramisu_7636

Placing the tiramisu in the freezer for one hour before serving guarantees perfect slices.

Lady Fingers

Makes about 36 small lady fingers

Roughly based my recipe on this recipe, but I reduced volumes and I changed the method for egg whites

Ingredients Ladyfingers:

  • 2 eggs, room temperature, separated
  • 4 tbsp sugar, divided
  • 1/2 tsp bourbon vanilla extract
  • pinch of cream of tartar
  • 42 g cake and pastry flour, sifted

Directions Ladyfingers:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350° F (176° C). Generously butter and flour a lady finger molded tray or a cookie sheet.
  2. Beat egg whites with 2 tbsp sugar and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form, set aside.
  3. Beat egg yolks with remaining 2 tbsp sugar and vanilla extract until pale in colour but not ribbons.
  4. Gently fold in the egg whites being careful not to deflate. Carefully sift the flour into the egg mixture and fold even more carefully so as not to deflate but making sure all the flour is well incorporated.
  5. Using a lady finger molded baking tray, or piping the batter into long fingers
  6. Bake for 12 minutes, allow to cool completely in pan and gently coax out to remove.
LadyfingerPan_7618

Butter generously and then dust with flour. Don’t take the non-stick spray shortcut, it doesn’t work!

Ingredients for Chai liquor (see note):

  • 1/3 cup of milk
  • 2 short cinnamon sticks
  • 2 star anise
  • 3 green cardamom pods
  • 8-10 cloves
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 5 cm fresh vanilla bean
  • 1 black tea bag
  • 1 tsp Pastis (or any anise flavoured liquor such as Ouzo or Anisette)

Directions for Chai liquor:

  1. Add milk and all of the spices except the vanilla bean to a small saucepan and stir well.
  2. Scrape seeds out of the vanilla bean and add both bean and seeds to the saucepan. Heat slowly to infuse the milk with the chai flavours, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Allow to cool, strain through a coarse sieve to allow vanilla seeds to remain in infused milk. Stir in Pastis. Set aside for assembly.

Ingredients for the Ricotta Cream and Chai Sugar:

  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese (See note)
  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp orange zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 tbsp icing sugar, divided
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 1/8 tsp cardamon
  • 1 tsp cocoa
  • 1/4 cup, roughly chopped pistachios, toasted

Directions for the Cream and Chai Sugar:

  1. Combine ricotta, yogurt, orange rind and 2 tbsp icing sugar and whip until fluffy.
  2. Combine 1 tbsp icing sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamon and cocoa and mix well.

Directions for Assembly:

  1. Line a small loaf pan with parchment paper.
  2. Dip each end of the ladyfingers into the chai liquor and line the loaf pan with them. Spread one third of the cream mixture over top, sprinkle with the chai sugar. Repeat 2 more times.
  3. Refrigerate overnight. About 90 minutes before serving, place in the freezer for so it’s easy to slice. Remove after 1 hour and slice into portions. Sprinkle some of the chai sugar on each plate, carefully place each slice in the centre of the plate, allow to sit for 30 minutes so it’s not overly cold. Serve with sprinkled pistachios.

Notes:

  • On using ricotta over mascarpone: I chose ricotta for two reasons, first is calories, this dessert made with ricotta is less than half the calories than using the richer mascarpone and two is budget, for some bizarre reason, mascarpone was $15 for about the same size of a $4 ricotta tub.
  • Feel free to use a chai tea bag to infuse the milk and omit all of the other spices, although I would still add the vanilla bean and seeds and the Anise liquor. Do not squeeze the tea bag otherwise you will have bitter chai liquor.
  • This dessert is best if it sits overnight in the fridge.
  • Although it is tempting to spray the ladyfinger pan with a non-stick spray, it will NOT WORK. Butter it generously and dust with flour. Each pan must be washed and rebuttered.

ChaiTiramisu_7635

The lady fingers soak up the Chai Liquor so they are pillowy soft.

Previous Posts about Indian Food:
Palek Paneer

Also known as Saag Paneer

Also known as Saag Paneer

Carrot Pickle and Mango Chutney

Lightly crunchy and packed full of flavour

Lightly crunchy and packed full of flavour

Sweet and tangy, just like a chutney should be

Sweet and tangy, just like a chutney should be

Best Naan Ever

Chewy and crispy at the same time

Chewy and crispy at the same time

Aloo Papri Chat

A quick shot of the actual serving dish at the dinner party

A quick shot of the actual serving dish at the dinner party

Beef Buhna

Tender beef cubes drenched in a mildly spicy, fragrant, flavourful gravy

Tender beef cubes drenched in a mildly spicy, fragrant, flavourful gravy

Paneer Makhani

A delicious, rich tasting tomato gravy with gently firm paneer

A delicious, rich tasting tomato gravy with gently firm paneer

Baked Onion Bahjis

Don't be fooled by their size, they pack a big punch of flavour

Don’t be fooled by their size, they pack a big punch of flavour

Jamie Olivers Chicken Tikka Masala (by far our favourite Indian Recipe)

ChickenTikkaMasala2_Blog

Chai Crème Brûlée

ChaiCremeBrulee_1925

Lemon Lentil Soup

Lemon Lentil Soup_1337

Tamarind Chutney

Tangy, sour and sweet all at once.

Tangy, sour and sweet all at once.

Enhanced Mulligatawny Soup

Enhanced Mulligatawny Soup

Enhanced Mulligatawny Soup

Gulab Jamun

Gulab Jamun

Gulab Jamun

Matar Paneer

matarpaneer

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Did you have pancakes on Tuesday? Pancakes are traditionally served on shrove Tuesday, not sure why but because we love the ‘cakes of pan’ we had these beauties for dinner Tuesday night. Thank you Sissi.

In early February, mid-February, late-February and now early March, we have been going through a bit of a deep chill which always makes us crave hearty, spicy foods. We invited my nephew, niece and her beau to dinner last month and I wanted to serve something new, for them and for me (I’ve never made this before!) so I turned to the hearty West Indian Rôti, always comforting with it’s warm flavours and great textures.

I chose Chef Marcus Samuelson’s Trinidadian Chicken Roti recipe, with some very minor alterations. I also used this recipe* for my Jamaican Curry powder; I actually liked the second one because I was able to make as much or as little as needed — I used 1 teaspoon as my single measure for the ratios which made more than enough for 4 tablespoons! You may also buy Jamaican Curry Spice ready made from the store.

There is absolutely nothing stopping you from omitting the chicken and using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth to make this entirely vegetarian, you can even add tofu but the chickpeas are likely filling enough.

Below is the calorie count for one of the Rôti’s served at our favourite takeout place.  After the success of this recipe, I suspect that rôti will not be bought take out ever again! For the record, I always cut my rôti in half and shared it with someone else!

Calories: 1,013 YIKES!
Fat: 43 grams DOUBLE YIKES!
Sodium: 1,617 milligrams OMG!
Carbohydrates: 106 grams
Protein: 51 grams

Chicken Roti_2099

A perfectly seasoned and slightly spicy Chicken, chickpea and kale roti

Trinidadian Chicken Rôti

Makes 8 servings. Please see Chef Marcus Samuelson’s original recipe here. Make the curry a day in advance because it will taste better!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dried sprouted chickpeas**, rehydrated over night (or low sodium can of cooked chickpeas)
  • 3+ cups chicken stock
  • Quick spray of non-stick spray
  • 1 large red onion, finely sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium Chinese egg plant, cubed
  • 2 generous cups kale, chopped
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 4 tbsp Jamaican curry powder*
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • salt, to taste
  • 800 g chicken breasts, no bone, no skin, cut into even chunks
  • 1/4 cup white wine

Directions:

  1. Add the sprouted chickpeas and stock to a slow cooker and set on high for 4 hours.
  2. Spray a large dutch oven with non-stick spray and sweat the onions until translucent on medium heat.
  3. Add the garlic, eggplant and kale and sauté for about 3 minutes. Add the Jamaican curry powder, cumin and salt and pepper and stir until fragrant. Add the vinegar and give it a good stir. Using a silicon spatula, scrap this mixture into the slow cooker and give it a good stir. Cook on high for 4-6 hours.
  4. About 1 hour before serving, reheat the dutch oven and sear the chicken pieces in the spice laden dutch oven. Add the chicken to the curry in the Dutch oven. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and add to the curry.
  5. Give the curry a good stir and reset the timer and heat to Low for 1 additional hour.
  6. You may need to add a bit more more stock if the curry is too thick because you want a lot of gravy.
  7. Serve with Roti bread.
Chicken Roti_2097

Delicious!

** I tried sprouting my chickpeas for the first time on my friend Norma’s suggestion, not sure it made much of a difference the taste but it was fun to do.

Screen Shot 2014-02-12 at 3.00.46 PM

Nutrional Facts for the Curry

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Nutrional Facts for the Roti Bread

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Happy Valentines Day! I can’t believe it’s the middle of February! And on top of it, it’s Valentine’s Day — do you have something wonderful planned for your partner? Or do you wait for the weekend?

We had our good friends Rae and Mon over for dinner a couple of weeks ago and I made this new rendition of the clafoutis we made in Lyon; I dare say I like this one a touch more, or at least it hit my taste buds perfectly. The warming spices of the cinnamon go well with the apple and the pudding. I will surely make this again.

Apple Cinnamon Clafoutis

Makes 6 Claffoutis about 10cm or 4 inches in diametre

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 80 g granulated sugar
  • 40 g all purposes unbleached white flour
  • 100 mL Carnation Evaporated Milk (or cream)
  • 150 mL milk (I used skim)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp lemon jest
  • 2 ripe sugar crisp apples

Cinnamon Slurry:

  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 175° C (350° F).
  2. Butter the pans and dust with sugar until sides and bottom are totally coated.
  3. Combine the melted butter, cinnamon and brown sugar into a slurry. Pour into a squeeze container like this. Set aside.
  4. In a bowl, mix the sugar and flour well. Make a well in the centre and slowly pour the cream with the vanilla and lemon zest combined into the flour and then add the milk. Add the lightly beaten whole eggs and yolk and mix delicately until all of the flour and sugar are combined.
  5. Peel and cut up the apples into smallish cubes (1 cm or 0.5 inch), divide evenly in the 6 pans. Pour the pudding mix in about 1/2 way into each cavity and squeeze a pattern of the brown sugar cinnamon slurry on top; add the remaining pudding mix and squeeze a bit more of the slurry onto each one.
  6. Bake for about 45-60 minutes or until firmly set. Cool in pans and remove carefully.
    Set aside.
IMG_4053_BLOG

Pipe the Slurry over each pudding (I actually snuck a layer in between)

This time I made the microwave caramel sauce, if you want more, follow Tracey’s recipe.

Salted Caramel Sauce:

Makes just enough sauce to scantly decorate the clafoutis (there is enough sugar in the clafoutis without the sauce, it’s just lovely to decorate)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp corn syrup
  • 1 tbsp water
  • splash of lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup hot heavy cream
  • 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Directions:

  1. Combine the sugar, corn syrup, water and lemon juice together in a 2-cup microwave-safe measuring cup.
  2. Microwave until the caramel is just barely starting to take on some color, 4-6 minutes (depending on your microwave).
  3. Remove from the microwave and allow to sit. Don’t be tempted to keep reheating the caramel in the microwave until it is darker, it will become darker on its own.
  4. Combine the warm cream/milk with the salt.
  5. Slowly add the warm cream/milk and stir until well combined (be careful, it’s very hot still). Add the butter and stir until melted. Cool completely.

Assembly:

  1. Warm the clafoutis in the oven for about 10 minutes.
  2. On a large rimmed plate, pour the caramel sauce into the centre and spread out evenly.
  3. Carefully place one clafoutis into the centre of the sauce and serve warm.
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There is a similar ratio of apples to pudding in this romantic dessert. The caramel was meant for the dessert, not your partner’s…

IMG_4078_BLOG

The slurry caramelizes within the clafoutis in the pan and the incredible flavour of cinnamon and brown sugar are woven throughout the pudding. Oh my.

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First I’d like to apologize, my Armenian Nutmeg Cake post was inadvertently published on June 10 yesterday (which was June 15) I was sure I had it set up for June 20. I hastily reset the publish date to June 20 without realizing all the comments attached. I am hoping the comments remain but if they don’t I apologize in advance and by no means expect you to comment again. WordPress can be such a pain in the !@## sometimes! Now back to our regular programming.

I am soooo excited with my vegetables this year! I grew green onions for the first time this year on the garage roof (best sun ever), and I also filled a pot with lettuces on our back deck. The first harvest was amazing. I haven’t bought my tomato plants yet, these weekends have been crazy hectic and this one is no different.

The onion might have been left in the ground a little long

Crisp Green Lettuce, YUM

It’s cocktail season on the back deck and you know how I love my little hors d’œuvres whenever I serve booze. So I decided to make French Onion Gougeres, little cheese puff stuffed with the deliciousness of sweet onion confit and gruyère cheese. The cheese is all melty and the puffs are reminiscent of the crouton within the French Onion Soup and the caramelized onions are of course the onions within the soup. The only thing that’s missing is the rich beef broth, but I didn’t want my gougeres soggy so it was omitted.

I made the puffs a couple of months ago and froze them. They freeze incredibly well. For the Cheese Puff recipe, please click here.

A perfect little bite with a perfect martini. Cheers!

I filled these beauties with the onion confit I also made some time ago and froze (I freeze small batches in little zip lock bags so I can pull out a small amount or two and use as needed). (Yes, Norma, I also cook for my freezer!).

The sweet onion, the oozy gruyère and the crisp pate a choux is making my mouth water.

Please click here for the Sweet onion confit recipe.

French Onion Gougeres or Pate a Choux

Serves 2 for hors d’œuvres

Ingredients:

  • 4 pre made cheese puffs (they defrost very quickly)
  • 4 tsp Sweet Onion Confit
  • 4 1cm squares of good quality gruyère

Directions:

  1. Pre heat oven to 375°F
  2. Cut the tops about 3/4 off the cheese puffs leaving them attached at the back.
  3. Stuff each of the puffs with 1 tsp of the onion confit and one square of the gruyère.
  4. Press the tops back down. Bake for about 12-15 minutes until the cheese has melted and the puffs are firm to touch (we like them a little crispy on the outside).
  5. Serve immediately with Vodka Martinis, shaken and not stirred.

Cheers.

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