Showing posts with label Baked goodies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Baked goodies. Show all posts

Monday, September 4, 2017

Apple Turnovers




You could have these apple turnovers for breakfast or tea time, they are just so enjoyable. If you have some puff pastry ready at home you could quickly prep them up in no time using any fruit or savoury fillings of your choice with meat, chicken or vegetables. They are so easy to make that you would wonder why you haven't been making them before.
Ingredients:

1 Pack of Puff pastry dough 

4Large Apples (cored and peeled) 
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar 
1/2 TSP Cinnamon (ground)
1/2 TSP Vanilla Essence
1 TBS Unsalted Butter



Method:
1. Thaw the puff pastry if frozen and unfold it on a lightly floured pastry board. Cut into 4x4inch squares if it is a thin long sheet. Otherwise if it is a big thick square, cut it into smaller squares and roll into 4×4 inch square
2. For the apple filling, peel, core and slice the apples. Add a blob of butter to the sauce pan followed by the apple slices, brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla essence. Combine well and cook till the apples caramelize and are no longer runny. Remove to cool and set aside.
























3. Place one or two teaspoons of filling in the centre of each pastry square, brush the edges with egg white and fold into a triangle. Then press the edges using your fingers.






















4. You could be a bit creative to make a design on the edges with the fork or cookie cutter. This not only makes them look pretty but helps to seal them well.You could also make square shaped hand pies by using 2 pastry squares one on top of the other with the filling inside.



























5. Prick with the fork in the centre to let the air out before putting them in the oven. This prevents the pastry from bubbling while baking. Glaze them with egg white and place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. It is better to keep them chilled in the fridge for sometime before placing them in the oven.






















6. Bake in the oven preheated at 375 degrees fahrenheit for 30 – 35 minutes till golden brown.
























7. Cool them on a wire rack and enjoy with tea or vanilla ice cream.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Chicken Foccaccia



Ingredients:

For the dough:
3 cups All Purpose Flour 
1tbs Active Dry Yeast                  
1 tsp Salt                    
1 tbs Olive Oil            
1cup Water


Toppings:
1/4 Cup Green Olives
1 Cup Shredded Chicken
1 Sliced Onion
1 Diced Tomato
1 TSP Dried Basil
1 TSP Dried Oregano
Red Cayenne Pepper flakes (optional)

Yield: Makes two 12 inch Focaccias or one big Focaccia.

   
Method: 

1. Heat 1 cup of water for 35 seconds in the microwave. It should feel lukewarm on your wrist. Mix 1 tbs active dry yeast and 1 tsp granulated sugar. If the yeast is active within 3 - 4 minutes it would become frothy and begin to rise to the surface, otherwise it will be flat which means it is stale so should not be used for baking. 

2. In a food processor pulse to combine 3 cups of sifted all purpose flour and salt. Pour the yeast solution through the feed tube and pulse 3 or 4 times until well incorporated and the whole mixture forms a ball. Add 1 tbs olive oil and pulse for 2 - 3 seconds till the dough becomes springy and starts to spin which means it is kneaded enough.

3. Remove the dough from the food processor bowl and with greased hands shape it into a ball by gathering towards the bottom and pinching to close, then place it in a greased bowl, cover with a lid or plastic wrap and leave it in a warm dry place on the counter to rise - 45 minutes to an hour till it is double in size. But yes, you have to check to see if your dough passed the window pane test. Donna Currie in her article on Serious Eats describes how to test "if the gluten has developed well enough for it to hold the bubbles while it rises, and stretch even more as the gases expand from the heat."

4. Place the puffed up dough in the centre of a greased pizza pan and slowly start spreading the dough  outward by pressing gently and evenly with the tip of your fingers greased with olive oil till it covers  the entire circumference of the pizza pan and is shaped into a 12 - 14 inch circle as big as the pizza  pan. Alternatively you could just press the dough on a lightly floured surface and start working on it with your fingers using the same technique till you stretch it to form a 12 - 14 inch circle. Transfer to a pizza pan or stone. 























5. Drizzle olive oil generously on the surface of the crust, then with the help of a fork prick everywhere. Alternatively you could use your fingers to make depressions all over. This is done to prevent the bubbles from popping up while baking.























6. Sprinkle dried oregano and basil on the crust.  Then use toppings of your choice. Below are pictures of focaccia with different toppings.


7. The focaccia in the above picture has shredded chicken, diced fresh tomatoes, onions, green olives as toppings. 

8. Focaccia with Mushrooms, Black Olives and Mozzarella Cheese. 

9. Sun Dried Tomatoes and Onions focaccia.

10. Portobello Mushrooms and Cheddar Cheese Focaccia. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Persian Love Cookies





Persian sweets and desserts are so visually appealing as well as delicious in taste that I could not help devouring these Pistachio Rose Persian Love Cookies as soon as they were done. I have long been eyeing these cookies on this blog: and at last gathered all the ingredients to make them.

So attractive to behold, soft, chewy and delicious in taste with the fragrance of rose petals that fills your senses as you bite into them. And with the first bite you begin to wonder if you have already fallen head over heals in love with them.  You cannot stop craving for more....... No wonder they are called Love Cookies!!

I followed the recipe almost exactly except for the fact that I didn't have enough almonds that day so combined it with pistachios and the taste was divine. Next time I make them I want to try without almonds and use only pistachios.

Also I did not have pomegranate juice so substituted with berry juice which was sweet and tangy like the pomegranate flavour.


Recipe adapted from heneedsfood.com

Ingredients: 
100 gm Almond meal
50 gm Pistachios ground
110 gm Icing Sugar sifted
80 gm Pistachios finely sliced
1/2 Tsp Nutmeg
1 Tsp Green Cardamoms ground
1/3 Cup Dried Rose Petals
1 Egg White
1 Tsp Rose Water


Icing 
1 Tbs Berry Juice (blue berry and raspberry)
6 Tbs Icing sugar































    Method:

    1. Preheat oven to 335 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

    2. Grind the almonds and pistachios separately and mix together. Add the sifted icing sugar, nutmeg, green cardamom powder, rose petals and mix well.

    3. Blanch the 80 gm pistachios (soak them in warm water and remove their skins) and slice them.

    4. Now add the egg white and rose water to the dry ingredients (step 2) till the mixture comes together.























    5. Shape into balls and roll them in the pistachio slices, place them on the lined cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove and leave them to cool on a wire wrack.























    6. Mix together the icing sugar with the berry juice until you get a smooth flowy texture. When the cookies are completely cooled, drizzle the icing on top in a zig zag motion with a fork.

    7. Once the icing is completely set, decorate them with rose petals and dust lightly with icing sugar before serving. Enjoy!

    Friday, April 7, 2017

    Baked Spring Rolls


    I have always fried spring rolls and have not tried baking them until today. I don't know why I always felt they would not be crispy enough. But this time they were as good as fried ones and my husband could not tell that they were baked  until I told him which kind of left him confused. They were not only crisp and crunchy but also not oily. I smeared them with olive oil and they turned out great. I can eat them without feeling guilty as they are healthy.   


    Ingredients: For 12 Spring Rolls

    24 Spring Roll Wrappers
    1/2 Cup Shredded Chicken (1/2 Chicken breast)
    1/2 Tsp Garlic paste
    2 Cups Japanese style flat white Cabbage (finely grated)
    1/4 Cup Carrot (thinly grated) 
    2 Tbs finely chopped spring onions
    1 Boiled egg
    1/4 Tsp Black Pepper 
    1/2 Tsp Hoisin Sauce
    2 or 3 drops of Sesame oil
    2 Tbs Olive oil
    Flour and water paste
    Sea Salt as required

    Method:

    1. Steam the chicken breast in a covered pot with a little water, garlic paste, salt and pepper till completely cooked. Remove and let it cool.

    2. Grate the cabbage finely or slice thinly with a sharp knife to get long shreds. Add one tsp salt to the cabbage and mix it well by rubbing it with the salt with your fingers till the salt is dissolved and the cabbage starts oozing out water. Drain the water and repeat working with your fingers this time without the salt. Drain well again. Then wipe the shredded cabbage with paper towels till dry. Set aside.

    3. Grate the carrot or make thin juliennes from thinly sliced carrots. Finely chop the spring onions.

    4. Grate a hard boiled egg. Shred the steamed chicken with a fork and knife. 

    5. Mix together the carrot, cabbage, spring onions, egg and chicken. Sprinkle some salt and black pepper as per taste, then 1/2 tsp hoisin sauce and 2 or 3 drops of sesame oil.

    6. Place a portion of the filling in the near corner of the spring roll wrapper and apply the flour and water paste to the far corner away from you. You can also use egg white to seal instead of flour paste. Roll over neatly while tucking the near corner under the filling. When you roll to the centre of the square fold in both the sides then roll again tightly till the end (I used 2 wrappers for each roll coz my filling was a bit moist and I didn't want them to get soggy). For exact instructions please watch this video.

    7. Brush the spring rolls with olive oil and place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. 

    8. Bake in an oven preheated at 350 degrees fahrenheit for 30- 35 mins. The timing may differ with other ovens. When you are half way through baking turn them over and then bake till golden or evenly browned. Enjoy with sauces of your choice. 

    Wednesday, March 29, 2017

    Dum Ka Rote Halwa (Baked Semolina Pudding)

































    This is a very popular halwa in Chennai, India well known for its name "Dum Ka Rote". To make this halwa the mixture is first cooked on flame then baked in the oven on low. In olden days they baked on charcoal ovens with burning charcoals on the top and bottom of the baking dish. But they controlled the heat, by keeping it on low. It was baked on low heat for a long time till it became crusty at the top and bottom. The crust is a delicacy and we as kids used to fight for it as it was the best part of the halwa. This halwa is what you would die for as it is so insanely delicious!!

    Basha's Halwa in Chennai is world famous (as he says in this video) and whosoever has tasted it once keeps craving for more. I am dedicating this recipe to one of my readers who was badly craving for it and requested me for its recipe. The recipe for Dum ka rote has been rotating in our family for many years and it is the closest to Basha's halwa I can say. Basha uses only melon seeds as garnish. I could not get melon seeds in the stores here, so had to use some which I managed to save after eating a melon,  therefore, I have used them sparingly. Here is the recipe:

    Ingredients:
    1/2 Cup Semolina (coarse)
    1 Cup / 225gm Unsweetened Khoya
    1 1/2 Cups / 325gm Sugar
    1 1/2 Cup Ghee + 1 tbs
    1 Cup / 115gm Almonds (for paste)
     Almonds and Cashews (chopped for garnish)
    2 Tbs melon seeds for garnish
    1/8th Tsp Saffron
    1 Cup half and half / Whole Milk
    1/4 Cup Whole Milk (for grinding almonds to a paste and for soaking saffron threads)













    Method:
    1. Soak semolina in 1 cup half and half or whole milk till it gets soaked well for 10 minutes.

    2 Cut the Unsweetened Khoya (Nanak Khoya or Bapu ka Khoya) into small pieces and blend them in a food processor till reduced to powder.

    3. Grind the almonds separately in a grinder first to a fine powder then add a little milk and grind to a fine paste with no lumps.

    4. Mix together the sugar, ghee and the ground almonds with the khoya powder in the food processor and pulse till everything gets blended well. Transfer to a bowl.

    5. Now add the soaked semolina and whisk everything with a hand whisk to a smooth thick batter.

    6. Crush the saffron threads in a mortar and pestle, add some warm milk to it then add this saffron milk to the halwa mixture and mix well.

    7. Transfer this mixture to a heavy bottomed sauce pan and on medium heat keep stirring till it comes to a boil and then starts slowly thickening. Do not stop stirring at this stage as it could get burnt at the bottom quickly. Finally when it starts leaving the sides, remove from the stove.














































    8. Grease a baking dish with ghee and pour the thickened halwa into it. Sprinkle the slivered almonds and melon seeds then drizzle the remaining ghee on top and place it in the centre of the oven preheated at 325 degrees fahrenheit.
















    9. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes until the top and the bottom layers start browning and the sweet scented aroma of saffron is filling the air. Remove from the oven and let it cool down to room temperature.







    10. The above picture was taken when I made the halwa again for a picnic. This time luckily I found the melon seeds at the Sri Lankan store. 



















    11. As you see in the above picture all the nuts ( I used chopped cashews and almonds) and melon seeds are gathered in the centre This is because this time I changed the baking technique a bit. I used the convection bake (temp: 350 degrees fahrenheit) instead of the regular bake and as it baked all the nuts and seeds came from the sides to the centre. Also it got crispier on the sides and center more compared to the previous halwa which got evenly crisp all over. I prefer the convection method of baking for this halwa as it had a beautiful crust and a crispy centre just like the basha halwa. And it tasted delicious!

    12. You can decorate the halwa with silver paper and serve it to your guests for dessert. 








    Thursday, March 23, 2017

    Zafrani Halwa Pies


    I grew up eating these baked pies filled with almond, channa dal paste flavoured with saffron. It was always accompanied with rice kheer (porridge) which went so well with these pies. I have been craving for these for a long time and wanted to bake them like my mom but smaller in size. At last I tried them out to satisfy my craving. They turned out better than I had imagined. My mom used to make the pie crust with ghee (clarified butter) but I wanted something light and healthy so I followed a different recipe for the pie crust which was light, flaky and good.  For the halwa I followed my mom's recipe

    For the pie dough I followed this recipe from Simple Bites.  I cut down the recipe by half and the halwa I made following the recipe below was just enough to use up all the dough. 

    For the Halwa:

    Ingredients: 
    1/4 cup Channa dal
    1/4 cup Almonds (peeled)
    1/2 cup Sugar
    2 tbs Ghee
    Saffron a pinch

























    Method: 

    1. Soak the channa dal for 30 minutes after rinsing in water 3 or 4 times till the water is clear. Soak the almonds in warm water or microwave them with a little water for 30 seconds. The peels will easily come off.

    2. Boil the channa dal till it gets cooked, let it cool, then grind it to a smooth paste. Grind the almonds separately to a fine paste.

    3. Take a sauce pan and on medium heat add one or two cloves and 2 green cardamoms then add the ground dal and almond paste.

    4. Add the sugar and keep stirring till it thickens then dd the saffron dissolved in warm milk. Stir till the milk gets absorbed and the halwa starts leaving the sides of the pan. Remove and set aside to cool.
























    5. Take the refrigerated pie dough and start rolling it into a fairly thick circle on a pastry board dusted with flour. Cut round shapes with a cookie cutter or a steel tumbler with a sharp rim.

























    6. Place some halwa in each of them, brush the edge lightly with water or egg white and close it in the shape of a half moon or turnover.

























    7. Press the edges with a fork to seal them then brush them with saffron water (soak a few threads of saffron in a tsp of water) to give them a coloured decorative edge.

    8. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees fahrenheit for 25 - 30 minutes. When they turn lightly golden at the bottom they are done. Remove and cool on a wire wrack and enjoy with Rice Kheer.



    Saturday, September 7, 2013

    Maamoul Cookies

    Maamouls are what I would call, cookies from Heaven!! They melt in the mouth and make you feel like you are in the seventh heaven. These little goodies, packed with rich nuts, scented with orange blossom water and sweetened with honey are so addicting that you would never want to stop eating them.



























    Here's the recipe.

    Ingredients:
    White flour - 4 cups - 6 cups
    Unsalted butter - 1lb chilled
    Sugar - 1/2 cup
    Salt - 1/4 tsp
    Chilled water - 1/4 cup
    Orange blossom water - 2 tbs
    Maamoul mould

    Method:
    1. Cut the chilled butter into cubes.

    2. Place the flour, salt and sugar in the food processor and pulse 2 or 3 times.

    3. Add the butter and pulse again  3 or 4 times, till the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs.

    4. At this stage add the orange blossom water followed by chilled water little by little with each pulse till it forms into a soft dough. Squeeze the dough to check. It should  be soft but not sticky.

    5. Pound the nuts coarsely. You can use different fillings with mixed nuts (almonds, pistachios and walnuts) or just pistachios or just almonds in combination with honey/icing sugar and orange blossom water. You can also use just date paste mixed with orange blossom water. Or dates and mixed nuts with orange blossom water. For the maamoul fillings recipe click here.

    6. Make small round balls of the dough. Make slightly bigger balls of the filling. You can use different moulds for different fillings.

    7. Make a depression in the small rounds of the dough then shape them like a bowl by swirling around with your fingers . Place the ball of the filling in the bowl, close the circle over the filling and smoothen it like a ball. Please note that there should be a considerably thin layer of dough around the filling (not so thin that the filling comes out on baking and not so thick that there's hardly any filling inside). Keep a paper towel handy to wipe your hands each time you touch the filling otherwise the dough would get discolored with your sticky fingers and it would be hard to give shape.





    8. Roll the filled rounds in the flour, dust the moulder too with a little flour then overturn it and tap to shake off the excess flour.

    9. Place the filled maamoul in the selected shape in the maamoul moulder and press it with your palm.

    10. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

    11. Now tap the moulder on the edge of the cookie sheet so that the maamoul stuck in the mould falls off on to the cookie sheet. Repeat with the rest of the maamouls.

    12. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Bake the maamouls for around 10 -12 minutes till the base of the maamoul is lightly golden brown. After 12 mins take a flat thin spatula and lift the base of a maamoul to see if it is done. Switch off the oven and leave them inside for 3-4 minutes.  Remove when they look firm at the top and lightly golden brown at the base.



    13. Cool on wire wrack for one hour. Dust them with icing sugar after they cool down completely and enjoy.

    Tips: 

    Do not store these cookies in the fridge. Store them in a cool dry place in an air tight container or cookie jar. They stay fresh outside for 2 - 4 weeks. You may freeze them if you want to store for longer periods of time. But bring them to room temperature before serving them.