Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Palak Paneer Pie... once again..

Am sure most of you reading this won't know that Palak Paneer Pie was my first ever post to this blog. Since then I have often thought of the changes I would like to make to that particular post. And today I decided to make a new post with all the things which I feel should have been in that first post.

The first thing would be I think a picture of the stuffing. So here we go...

You can see the Palak (spinach), the white stuff is the paneer (indian cheese), the pomegranates, the onion and the peas.

Another thing I would like to suggest here for people who would prefer a-not-so-soft lower crust is that you may blind bake your lower crust, and use cooked spinach. Just chop the spinach, put it in a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Within a few minutes it will have separated into a green mass and quite a lot of water, cook till all the water evaporates and then use this spinach. This is something I have done, so I know its just fine.

Another thing I have taken to is cutting out shapes from the upper crust instead of making steam vents with a tooth pick.

And here is what you can do with the left over dough, specially if you like your crust crisp. Oh I know you would think anyone likes it that way, but with Palak Paneer Pie it all tastes good. Nonetheless these cut outs are nice to eat alongwith the pie.


Sunday, 21 October 2007

Banana-Toffee Pie

This, according to Reader's Digest, is a slice of the world's best pie. RD happens to be where I got the recipe from, and I regret to say that I hadn't heard of it before. It's certainly worth knowing and making again and again. The recipe is simple enough, the ingredients are:

300gm Marie Biscuits (or graham crackers)
1 can of condensed milk, 400gm
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 bananas
A cup of whipped cream, or more if you like
Some grated chocolate, or chocolate curls

Now for the method.

The most important and time-consuming part of this recipe is the toffee making. You have to cook the unopened, yes, unopened, can of condensed milk in boiling water for 3 hours. Make sure the can is always under water, if uncovered it might explode. This is how you get the toffee. And it's worth it. [You can boil several cans at a time, which is what I did after I made this once and liked it enough to want to make it loads of times more.... The toffee keeps indefinitely in the unopened can and can be stored and used at leisure.

Put the biscuits/crackers in a plastic bag, and crush them with a rolling pin till you get what you see in the picture. Though alternately you can pulse it in a food processor/mixer. (The actual recipe calls for 250 gm of biscuit, but I prefer a thicker crust, maybe next time I might make it 400gm, not kidding)

In a saucepan over low heat mix thoroughly the biscuits and the butter, until its warm to the touch. Put this mixture in the dish you plan to make your pie in. For my first attempt, I used a baking tin lined with parchment paper.

Smooth it out. Nice job, right? Once you've done this, refrigerate it for around half an hour.

Add the banana layer.

And then the toffee. Its a bit difficult to spread it out.

Another nice job :P

Now for the whipped cream. I love these soft peaks.

And lastly, the grated chocolate. I would like to add that I've made this pie a few times more and instead of grated chocolate I used chocolate curls, it looks prettier.

Chill it, and its ready to be eaten. Though I felt it was easier to handle after being left in the fridge overnight. Once its thoroughly set, you can remove it from the tin to a plate, but you have to be very careful as the biscuit layer cracks easily, but what the hell, it doesn't affect the taste! Dig in or see it disappear before your eyes!

Update: I just came across this amazing site, videojug, and they have a video on how to make Banoffee Pie, and two things they did different from me was that they didn't press down the biscuit crumbs very compactly, it was rather loose, which will make it easier to slice the pie, and they boiled the condensed milk only for two hours, which means its lighter colour, softer, and
spreads much more easily, though it will be be probably less caramel-y. I think another good idea would be to melt some chocolate and make a base of that, so that the biscuit crumbs get confined!


Monday, 15 October 2007

Delicious tomato tart

This tomato tart from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook has fast become one of my favorite things to bake. Tomatoes, garlic and basil --- one of the best combos in the world. But it really isn't something to make too often -- unless you're trying to put on weight, it is very, very buttery! I made this twice in Ramadan, it was perfect for breaking the fast and I got to use up my delicious black tomatoes the second time.
The recipe is on Martha's website too, though the one in the book calls for 3 oz fontina, not 2. And one head of garlic would have someone calling the fire station, 4-5 large cloves are more than enough on a 7 inch (I can never get the pastry to fit on a 10-inch pan, and I haven't gotten around to getting 8 or 9 inchers). Actuallythe crust isn't super thick at all, and i think it would be soggy if it were any thinner.
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Thursday, 11 October 2007

a tottering pile of sugar..

Sugar Cookies
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350F.
Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda.
Cream sugar and butter till light and fluffy. Blend in the eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Add the flour, again mix well. Chill the dough for two hours.
Roll out the dough approx 1/8 inch thick and cut out shapes and place on a cookie sheet. Or make small balls with your palm and place them on a cookie sheet and press, which is what I did.
Bake for 5-8 minutes, or until the cookies are barely browned at the edges.

Mix together 1/2 cup sifted confectioners' sugar and 1 tablespoon milk. Spread on cookies, sprinkle with nonpareils.

Fun fact: I adapted the recipe I came across on a cookie sheet cover.

Next I plan to either add chocolate chips to them or make plain ones and sandwich then with chocolate. Whatever, I will surely post it here!


Sunday, 7 October 2007

Lemon Yogurt Cake

I came across this recipe from Orangette at Happy Home Baker's, and since we just got a new oven after days and days of burnt cake :( I was quite excited to try something new. And somehow I decided upon this. And it was well worth the little effort it required. Very simple indeed, the batter is pretty oily and flat but it rose remarkably well for such a batter. I was pleased! Though I didn't know I would have to turn the cake halfway through baking and therefore the huge smile, but I still like it. I love the colour, We had quite forgotten this hue with our old oven, whose temperature regulator had gone bonkers, about time too, after two and a half decades of service!


Monday, 1 October 2007

someone's been at work...

And it's this little chap! And no I have no fascination for spiders as such, rather I dont like them, (creepy-crawly), but we all were fascinated with this one and his huge web!

...and he doesnt even get tired. This web is basically between the madhumalti (Quisqualis Indica) you can see dangling and the banisters of a staircase, and since there are flower pots on each step of the staircase and upstairs, the chap who waters the plants keeps removing his web, but this chap strikes back :P

and its got this really funny backside, onion shaped with two orangish eyes and a smiling face! Maybe it's to lure insects!