Guava Ice Cream – Eggless, Quick and Creamy

Guavas – these gorgeous tropical fruits ! I can never resist them and if I do see them in the grocery aisle , a a pound or two is bound to sneak home. Eat them raw with salt and chili powder . Eat them ripe just like that. Red or white , it does not matter , but if I see them they come home :-)..

Guava Ice Cream - Eggless, Quick and Creamy

While this season though the hunt for it is yet to begin ( I hunt in the grocery aisles .. Please !) and I don’t’ seem to have ventured out on the weekends to the  farmer markets, a trip to the regular grocery store got me this – frozen guava pulp. Simple pleasure of life. Plus it was unsweetened. Gorgeous and begging to be made into something exotic or rather something that reminds  me of my mom’s creations..

 

 Delicious Guava Ice cream with just three ingredients that makes it super creamy without eggs and  can be made in a jiffy. And also no ice cream maker. I have not been impressed enough to justify plonking 50 bucks for the occasional treat ..

 

Ingredients:

  • Frozen guava pulp ( goya) : 16oz ( thawed for use)
  • Heavy whipping cream : 1 pint / 16 oz
  • Sweetened Non fat Condensed milk : 14 oz can

Before whipping the cream ensure the contents as well as the mixing bowl is well chilled . This will get you to whipped creamy stage faster and also hold it firmer.

If using the KA stand mixer, ensure the wire whisk and the bowl is chilled well for a couple of hours.

 Procedure :

  • In the bowl of your stand mixer if using ( or a regular hand mixer can be used ) attach the wire whisk and proceed to whip the heavy cream to nearly stiff creamy peaks. Start on slow speed and bring it to higher speed for about 4-7 minutes. By now you should have very creamy and stiff peaks formed. Take care not to harden it and create the sweet cream whipped butter from it . You do not want it.
  • Add in the condensed milk and thawed guava pulp.
  • Change to flat beater and mix it again for about 3 minutes until they are mixed well. You will see a thick creamy mass. It is fine.
  • Scrape the sides of the bowls and pour into a freezer safe bowl. Close tightly  to prevent any crystallization.
  • Should set in about 4-6 hrs.

Thick, luscious creamy guava ice cream is ready to be indulged in !

Guava Ice Cream - Eggless, Quick and Creamy

Notes :

  • You can use whipped cream in place of the heavy whipping cream if you are pressed for time.
  • Guava combines with some great flavors as well. Try it as a combination of mango – guava ice cream too.
  • Want a dash of chocolate? Just add your favorite flavoring on the top.

But as for me – and A1.2.3.. This is just perfect ..as it is !

 

 

 

 

 

Saffron Kalakkand – Quick and Easy Cheese and Milk Fudge with Saffron and nuts

Fresh, dewy eyed and eyes full of spark a young lady landed on the shores of opportunity in the land of the grand USA some 16 plus years ago. While the young lady has progressed in age , thoughts and wisdom, marked by the appearance of few strands of gray ( honestly, truly, I noticed 5 in total),the spark ala dimmed a bit, but still bright I hope nonetheless.

One of the first people I met, was a happy foodie couple in Boston. At that point, A1 was yet to put in an appearance, and I was happy to meet people ( ignorant of any of the pyramid scheme trap and happily oblivious as well ). While the “come over for tea” turned into recruiting for the scam/scheme and I could not wait to get out faster, I did notice these gorgeous milk burfi’s. I also did sneak in more than one. Hey if I had to sit in and listen to all that yakking on gold and gorgeous things within arm’s reach, might as well do it with some indulgence.

In any case, today on father’s day DH was in a bit of a mood. Happy smiley face, clean counters, dishes done, emptying dishwasher and more. Well no complaints, cause I love this mood. A nice card, a self bought “surprise” on the homey , techy, front and great family time. And I decided to do something that so grandly resembled hours of labor while actually needing a few min of microwave time. The best part was I did not need to hunt for the ingredients. My awesome neighbor/ friend/ b – partner decided to donate to me 3 huge tubs of Ricotta cheese before her trip to India. 2 Thumbs up! I suppose more Ricotta cheese recipes need to be made now!

This has been the perfect day and weekend is done ! But hey summer holidays on and no school tomorrow.. Which means more staying up for the kids.. Love this !

#FDMenu

Saffron Kalakkand – Quick and Easy Cheese and Milk Fudge with Saffron and nuts

Ingredients:

  • Low Fat or Part Skim Ricotta Cheese – 16 oz
  • Non fat Condensed Milk – 14 oz
  • Saffron strands : a pinch
  • Cardamom Pods – 1/2 tsp
  • Pistachios – 6
  • Almonds – 10
  • Ghee or melted butter: 1 tsp to serve as grease

 Method:

 Prep work :

  • In a spice grinder, add in the saffron strands and cardamom seeds and fine grain powder these without adding water.

 Prep work 2:

  • Finely chop the pistachios and almonds in a food processor or spice grinder.

Process:

  • In a microwave safe glass bowl or container, mix the Ricotta Cheese and the Condensed Milk well. I used a wire whisk to break out the lumps and completely homogenized the mix. Took about 5 min or so
  • Cook in the microwave for about 12 minutes uncovered. Keep an eye out for the bubbling mix. Stop and scrape the edges and re-do this process. I did this step in about 5 stage intervals of 3 : 3: 2:2:2 min cooking . I suppose you can go all out and cook in lower intervals, but I just needed to keep a clean microwave oven. No spill mess 🙂
  • Next microwave covered for about 6 min or so. Stop every 2 min , scrape the sides stir and continue.
  • Just before the final 2 min stage add in the cardamom and saffron mix. Cook for a final 2 min. The heat in the cooked milk fudge will release the flavor or the saffron and cardamom and you will see the beautiful color of the saffron permeating the fudge mix.
  • The final stage should resemble soft crumbly mix . Slightly wet and moist mix would be the ideal stage to stop the cooking process.
  • In a square serving container , grease the bottom with ghee or melted unsalted butter. Go easy the grease part. The idea is for easy release of the pieces not to drench it !
  • Pour in the hot fudge mix in the prepped container with grease and add in the crushed nuts mix on the top and pat down to resemble an even surface.
  • Cover and allow to set in the refrigerator for an hour or so.
  • Cut into beautiful squares and serve!
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Besan Burfi -Chickpea Flour with walnuts and cashew !Fudge- o – Mania???

Here I was thinking I all but exhausted my list of goodies to be made for Diwali. I mean seriously how many goodies can one indulge in , Right?  Wrong. Apparently there are a few more up my sleeve than what I had originally envisioned. ( I think I am channeling my mom here. )

My first-born sort of wheedled the concoction based on semolina out of me yesterday. ( that post is still sitting in the drafts. I do need to post it up). And my butterfly wanted to know if I would make Mysore -Pak. Seriously this child would eat anything crunchy. She enjoys cucumbers as much as she enjoys  the  crunchy spirals I would make. But this is the one sweet, she can seriously dig into. Traditional Mysore Pak, would call for the need  to indulge in heavy ghee. No sir, no butter or flavorless oil would do. It calls for the simplest ingredients, Besan or Chickpea flour, sugar and ghee.But the last one simply cannot be compromised on.Wary of indulging in such heavy fattening matter , especially since they stick on rather fast and sort of love you so much that they refuse to come off ( Folks, I am referencing the pounds that appear on the scale here ) especially with array of mithai I have in store for the festive season. I already had walnuts in stock, and since I did not use it  my dry fruit and nut fudge thought it would be nice to have some nutritional value in this dessert.

Here’s hoping this will appease her appetite for besan based sweets, this recipe is a marriage of Southern India’s Mysore Pak and Northen India’s Mohanthal and with a host of deliberate variables introduced by yours truly!

Prep time : 15 min              Cook time : 20- 25 min or so.

Setting : 20-30 min              Yield : 36 pieces

Ingredients:

  • Chickpea Flour (Besan) – 2 cups, sifted
  • Cashew nut powdered – 1/2 cup ( optional). I used it because I had left overs from kaju burfi recipe.
  • Unsalted Butter – 10 oz ( 1.25 sticks)
  • Walnuts – 1 cup, chopped finely
  • Cardamom Powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Crushed Saffron strands
  • Non fat-sweetened Condensed Milk – 14 oz can
  • Chopped pistachios for garnishing – optional

Method:

  • In a heavy bottomed non-stick pan, heat the unsalted butter so it melts well and is even in tone and color.
  •  Add in the besan or  Chickpea Flour, mix well and roast on a low flame. This process will get rid of the raw smell of the chickpea flour. The aroma of this will significantly change in 15 minutes or so and it starts smelling heavenly. Please do not skimp on this step. Experience speaks folks ! You will have to deal with  raw besan fudge if you hustle to the next step. Ensure that the besan is roasted to light brown color completely.
  • On low heat setting , go ahead and  add in the Cashew nut powder if using, and then add in the  chopped Walnuts and Cardamom Powder. Make sure this is mixed very well.
  • Now add in the condensed milk and mix until all ingredients are well incorporated.I would say in about 5 min or so, it should be done.
  • Immediately pour mixture onto a greased baking tray. Delay in this process will result in a mass of glop that will be hard to manage.
  • Using a sheet of parchment paper, place it over the fudge and flatten out using the bottom of a steel bowl or a flat ladle.
  • Now add in any garnishing you prefer, like chopped pistachios or halved cashews if desired.
  • Stick this mixture in the refrigerator and let it settle for about 20- 25 minutes
  • Using a greased knife, a pizza cutter or your laser beam  ( just kidding !) cut the fudge or burfi into diamond or square pieces.

Note:

I believe this recipe can be fairly adapted to making it in the microwave. I would recommend this based on my previous experiment with besan ladoos. Just make sure you stir in-between in fairly short intervals and to use a microwave safe bowl.

  • I just powdered raw cashew nuts at room temperature using a high-speed blender in pulse mode. It was done in a matter of minutes. Feel free to omit this in your preparation.
  • Please Note : This is a low-sweet, chewy, crunchy fudge  and equally delicious!!!

Coconut Ladoos – Snowy, pillowy, soft ,gooey balls of goodness

I was running ragged between the kids and their classes !  Yep! During such moments of insanity that creep in albeit briefly is born the desperate sense of recipe development and sense to accomplish a thing or two .. more like a stress buster. You see , I was the kind to clean up my room before the exam fever [pitched is high. I had to de stress and often cleaning organizing and making lists would be on my hit list. Somehow a visual task list with hit list of things to do would  create a sense of order in the chaotic turbulence that prevails within me. And I have been ragged royally on it as well.. my  cousins and sisters in spirit Anu and Kris have perfected the art!

And out of sheer desperation in purging out things from the pantry I noticed that I had one too many cans of condensed milk ( apparently I did shopping without a list, Tsk Tsk ) and a bag of desiccated coconut flakes ( which of course snuck into my pantry cause I could not find decent coconuts once upon a time in NC when I desperately needed one. Sigh! Hence decided a packet or two of desiccated coconut flakes with a rehydration experiment should work . To cut a long story short  and chemistry theories aside I had an extra packet of this). And there was an impending urgency in me to create something that was not assaulting  my kids blood level with tons of sugar. (Really, have you noticed  a 5 year old on a sugar high. Know those bouncy balls? My youngest could put it to shame. And my middle one, she can talk nonstop on it for hours. My oldest though is strangely immune to outburst of these kind, but his  witty , sarcastic one liners reach new high . Go figure!). Notice how DH is not in the picture, cause somehow globetrotting on work seem to throw up an invisible shield around him ( sarcasm folks !). May the force be with him ! Anyway I did manage to save a few for him.

Ingredients:

  1. Fat Free condensed milk – 14 oz
  2. Unsweetened Desiccated coconut flakes – 3-3.5 cups depending on the store brand and quality
  3. Cardamom pods : 6-8 – roughly pounded
  4. Saffron a few strands
  5. Melted butter or ghee – 1 tbsp to coat your hands when you make those ladoos and to grease the baking pan

Procedure:

  1. In a heavy bottomed ban, add in the condensed milk and 3.5 cups of desiccated coconut flakes and mix well. Add in the powdered cardamom pods and saffron.
  2. On medium heat in about 8-10 minutes, you will notice the mixture clumping together.If at this stage you notice that the condensed milk has not bound in the flakes and you still feel it a bit more liquify, add in more coconut flakes. About 1/4 cup or so.
  3. Once the desiccated coconut flakes absorb in the milk and sugar from the condensed milk and is more softer to touch , it will be in very thick fudge consistency.
  4. Scoop it out in a greased 8 by 8 inch baking pan. Flatten the surface using the spatula and parchment paper.
  5. While it is cooling down, slice it up. ( chilled mine in the refrigerator . What can I say, I am impatient !)
  6. You can serve it as fudge slices or soft burfis at this stage.
  7. To make Ladoos, grease your palms well, pick up a sliced buffi piece and roll it into those pillowy soft balls of goodness.
  8. Roll in a cup of desiccated coconut after that to give the effect and texture.

 

Notes:

  1. Don’t have desiccated coconut flakes? Use fresh. It will take a bit longer to get to the fudge consistency in the cooking time, but hey it will be worth it.
  2. Don’t have unsweetened coconut flakes, try the mildly sweeter version. The condensed milk has enough sugar to offset the unsweetened flakes. This version would have a little more sugar in the punch. But, hey then again, each one’s taste – o – meter for sugar tolerance and requirement varies.
  3. Don’t have coconut flakes? try coconut powder instead. But just make sure they rehydrate well.
  4. Want to add in nuts? feel free. Almonds, Pistachios and more…
  5. How about dried fruits? Go on try what comes to your mind, raisins, cranberries , dates…

Yield: About 18 – 24 ladoos.

Eggless Sponge Cake studded with Almonds and Walnuts!

I simply cannot stress enough on the integral part to any outcome of any culinary experimental equation:

Good, fresh ingredients in = great food out  from the hearth of the house.. aka the kitchen.

In this case though a bare bones pantry and an impending trip to the west coast actually brought about this culinary experiment. My darling MIL, a frail looking but with nerves of steel lady is a precious gem. She would be this burst of sunshine in an otherwise humdrum day. I am constantly amazed at this septuagenarian’s endless energy and unflailing enthusiasm about things.. everyday things, cooking cleaning, you- name -it- anything.

My otherwise tempestuous affair with cooking is completely complemented by her abounding stable, and infectious enthusiasm . I would seriously marvel at how she could be really ebullient about the cooking process …everyday. And she is one awesome cook!!! Seriously folks, it is lip smacking good food… every time. Traditional Indian food, vegetarian and no frills but prepared with abundant  love would be her signature style. And everyone is welcomed with a smile. No one leaves hungry at her door 🙂

Cut to this day, since eggs are not a part of her repertoire, a bit of organic chemistry came to my rescue to yield this birthday cake for her . So dear MIL aka MOM, this one is for you 🙂

Eggless Sponge cake studded with walnuts and almonds- Seriously simple, seriously good!

Prep work:

  • Preheat the oven / 350 deg F
  • Grease and flour the pans of your choice. . I used one 10  inch round and one bread loaf pan.
  • Chop 1/2 cup of walnuts roughly along with 1/4 cup of slivered almonds.

The Ingredients : Dry

  1. Self rising flour : 4 cups
  2. Baking soda : 1.25 tsp
  3. Baking powder : 1 tsp ( I approximated this as the flour I used already has some baking powder in it )
  4. Salt a pinch
  5. A generous tsp of ground cardamom powder

Dry whisk all these ingredients together and keep aside to be used later.

The Ingredients: Wet

  1. Fat Free condensed milk : 14 oz cans, 2 tins . Use any brand. I used the Eagle one.
  2. 1/2 cup of butter melted ( told you – fat come in here !)
  3. 1/2 cup of olive oil ( sort of balancing the guilt here by not adding in more butter )
  4. 1 cup of milk – I used the fat free evaporated kind. Why? The evaporated kind will still provide the density in the medium anyway.
  5. 1/2cup of water. ( OK folks, this was seriously some rough calculation. I wanted to add in 1.5 cups of liquid based on my previous banana nut cake recipe and decided to split it amongst water and milk.
  6. 1 tsp of vanilla extract – optional. I just had it so added it in !

Mix all the wet ingredients along with a generous pinch of saffron.( Ahem ! Notice my mild obsession with saffron:-) )

Process work:

  • Gently add in the flour mixture to the wet ingredients. I just added it in slowly with gentle mixing of the batter with my trusted electric whisk at low speed.
  • The gooey mass emanating the mild and wonderful flavor is going to turn even more better. How?
  • Add in the1/2 the chopped pieces of walnuts and almonds and fold in gently.
  • Distribute the gooey mass of goodness in the prepared baking pans of your choice.
  • Add in the remaining nuts ( walnuts and almonds) as a garnish.

Baking : 350 deg F  for 45- 52 min or until done. Mine took approximately 47 min to be done.

Ok the exam results are out! It smelled heavenly …the aroma of the toasted nuts mixed with saffron and cardamom to emit an – oh – you-so – cannot – resist- me – siren’s call.

 

Verdict. Slight more dense than the eggs added version, but still very light on the palate. One huge bonus was that it was very mild on the sweet scale. It would make a wonderful custard cake served with fruits and whipped cream or vanilla custard. Or a wonderful tea cake..

Serves : Well it could well serve an army but was polished off  by a dozed people in under a day – flat!

Possible variations? orange cake? banana orange cake? spiced cake? chai cake?  Well, my chemistry instinct is going on an overdrive 🙂 But you get the idea!

Versatile, simple and so divine. Go on try it out, you will not be disappointed !