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With Diwali just round the corner, I was hard pressed to do a post on an Indian mithai/ sweet and I could not think of a single one I had not yet blogged about over the past many years. Besides the poor diabetes control rightly linked to the aftermath of this national festival of light [and sweets] convinced me to go for something healthier than the traditional burfi, gulab jamun or gato patate. Here’s a big thumbs-up for the dry fruit laddoo, which restored my faith in the unique taste of this humble Indian sweet.

Dates are the most important component in this no-cook recipe by FoodVedam as no extra sugar or sweetener is added. Try to use good quality dates of Medjool variety, if possible, as they are large and soft and therefore easier to process into a paste. The shelling, roasting and chopping of the nuts should be done ahead as it is the most time-consuming step. Once you have the nut mixture ready, the assembly hardly takes 15 minutes and you have a deliciously different laddoo to add to your sweet box and share with your loved ones on the blessed occasion of Diwali, Festival of Lights.

DRY FRUIT LADDOO

Ingredients:

200g dried dates

50g dried figs

30g almonds

30g cashew nuts

30g pistachios

15g golden raisins

15g black raisins

1/4 piece nutmeg

1 teaspoon sesame

3 green cardamoms

1 tablespoon ghee

Method:

  • Remove seeds from the dates and chop them coarsely. Chop dried figs and keep them aside separately.

  • Coarsely chop almonds, cashew nuts, pistachios. Grind cardamom seeds and nutmeg to a fine powder.

  • Put chopped dates and dried figs in a mixer grinder and make into a coarse paste. Melt ghee in a pan.

  • Add cashew nuts, almonds, pistachios, raisins and roast for 2 to 3 minutes. Add dates and figs mixture.

  • Stir in nutmeg powder, sesame seeds and mix well. Turn off flame and let it cool down for few minutes.

  • Divide mixture into equal parts. Apply a little ghee to palms each time to bind laddoos. For 12 pieces.

Happy Diwali 2018!

Combining the best of both worlds, this heavenly dinner time dessert by Paula from Enjoy Dessert has a rich brownie base layered with coffee soaked ladyfinger biscuits and fluffy mascarpone cream. Brownies have been on my baking list for more times than I care to remember and tiramisu is something I no longer need a recipe for, yet I have never paused to give a thought about how these two will pair up until they became famous on food blogs. The subtle coffee kick nicely offsets the intensity of dark chocolate and if you are patient enough to allow the brownie and tiramisu layers to meld together overnight, you will probably thank yourself [and me!] afterwards.

TIRAMISU BROWNIES

For the Brownie Layer

200g dark chocolate

150g unsalted butter

150g caster sugar

30g cocoa powder

3 large eggs, room temperature

50 ml whipping cream

1 teaspoon coffee

1 teaspoon amaretto

100g all purpose flour

Pinch of table salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

For the Tiramisu Layer

200g mascarpone

2 large eggs, separated

Pinch of table salt

60g caster sugar

80 ml strong coffee

10 ml rum, optional

1 teaspoon amaretto

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

20-25 ladyfinger biscuits

50g dark chocolate, melted

Method:

  • For the brownie, melt the chocolate along with butter over low heat in a thick bottomed saucepan.
  • When the mixture is homogeneous, remove it from heat, add sugar and cocoa and mix thoroughly.
  • Combine the all purpose flour with baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl and set this aside.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, to the chocolate mixture and mix well after each addition. Then add cream.
  • Stir in amaretto and coffee. Carefully fold in flour mixture till no flour streaks remain. Do not over mix.
  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees and line a 20×20 cm baking tray with parchment paper. Pour in batter.
  • Level the surface with a spatula and bake for 20 to 23 minutes. Check for doneness with a toothpick.
  • Remove cake from oven and let it cool in pan. Prepare coffee for soaking biscuits and leave to cool.
  • Add rum, amaretto and vanilla extract to cooled coffee. For the tiramisu layer, beat the mascarpone.
  • Beat egg yolks with sugar until they turn white in color and doubled in volume. Fold into mascarpone.
  • Beat egg whites with salt until stiff and carefully fold into mascarpone cream and chill for 30 minutes.
  • For the assembly, dip ladyfinger biscuits in coffee mixture and arrange neatly over the brownie layer.
  • Spoon mascarpone cream over biscuits, chill for few minutes. Melt dark chocolate over a bain marie.
  • Bring to room temperature so that it is still fluid. Drop teaspoons of the chocolate over mascarpone.
  • Run a knife lightly over cream to give marbled effect and return cake to refrigerator. Chill overnight.
  • Dust the tiramisu brownies with extra cocoa powder. Cut into squares and serve. Makes 20 servings.

Tiramisu Brownies

Ganesh Chaturthi always inspires me to get ‘creative’ with a new ladoo recipe as there is nothing like a delicious homemade ladoo to please Ganpati on his birthday. This year I followed Shibani’s recipe from Pearls of East and came to the inevitable conclusion that these whole wheat almond [atta badam] ladoos are way better than the traditional besan ones. The steps are so basic that it is just not possible to go wrong here, plus you will be spared the headache of facing a messy kitchen afterwards. Do not skimp on the ghee even if you initially feel that it is way too much; the roasted flour will gradually absorb all the fat, resulting in an incredibly pleasant melt-in-the-mouth feeling – to be enjoyed by all except those watching their waistlines and sugar/cholesterol levels!

ATTA BADAM LADOO

1 cup atta/ whole wheat flour

1/2 cup ghee/ clarified butter

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1/3 cup fine almond meal

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 tablespoon chopped almonds

1 tablespoon chopped pistachios

Chopped nuts, to garnish

Method:

  • Melt ghee in a heavy bottom pan and add atta to it. Lower heat and keep stirring for 15 to 20 minutes.

  • This is the most important step in making the ladoos. This requires patience and results are rewarding.

  • Sauté it until you get a nice aroma from the atta. Remove from fire and spread it on a plate. Let it cool.

  • Add almond meal, ground cardamom, chopped almonds, pistachios and powdered sugar and mix well.

  • Roll the mixture into small ping pong sized balls. Store them in an air tight containers. Makes 12 pieces.

Ganpati Bappa Morya!

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PrerrnaMirchi
Mauritius

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