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If you have a crush on the famous Indian pudding, kheer, there is a good chance you will like this pina colada version. Instead of cooked rice, this milk based dessert gets its boost of flavors from tinned pineapple and grated coconut.  You may use fresh pineapple if you manage to get a very ripe one and happen to be skilled with a knife. The original recipe from Manjula’s Kitchen tells you to caramelize the fruit by cooking it with sugar but I felt that the canned pineapple was sweet enough without the extra caramel. This special kheer was my offering to Lord Krishna on the occasion of his birthday, Janmashtami as it is believed that Krishna was particularly fond of homemade dairy stuff as a child.

PINEAPPLE COCONUT KHEER

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cup full cream milk

3/4 cup coconut milk

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup freshly grated coconut

1 1/2 tablespoons corn flour

1/2 cup pineapple, diced

1/4 cup pineapple, crushed

1 tablespoon sliced almonds

6 Maraschino cherries

Method:

  • In a heavy bottom pan over medium high heat, boil the milk, coconut milk, sugar and grated coconut.

  • After it comes to a boil, lower heat to medium and let it boil for about 18-20 minutes, stir occasionally.

  • In a small bowl, mix combine corn flour well with 2 tablespoons water, making sure there are no lumps.

  • Add corn flour to boiling milk, mix it well and boil for 3 to 4 minutes stirring occasionally. Turn off heat.

  • Drain the syrup from canned pineapple, and slice them into about 3/4 inch cubes, save half the cubes.

  • Lightly crush the other half into a chunky pulp. Reserve the pineapple in a bowl at room temperature.

  • Carefully fold the pineapple cubes, crushed pineapple and milk mixture together until well combined.

  • Chill for at least two hours before serving. Garnish with pineapple cubes, almond slices and cherries.

Pineapple Coconut Kheer

Though I have had several rewarding experiences making my own ice cream from scratch in my small SEB machine, I had yet to try making blueberry ice cream at home. After browsing through a myriad of recipes online, this unusual combination of brown sugar and fresh blueberries, from Dinner with Julie, caught my eye. The basic technique remains that of making a custard based mixture into which the macerated berries are folded before going through the chilling process. Make sure you select berries that are ripe and firm; a good option would be to use frozen berries that get harvested when they are at the season’s peak. You may want to give a gentle swirl as you combine ice cream and berries together to create a marbled effect or you may be unable to resist turning the whole thing into a uniform shade ranging from delicate lilac to deep purple. Both ways, you are going to enjoy some seriously good stuff, best served scooped into wafer cones, with a dash of blueberry sauce left at the bottom of your saucepan.

BLUEBERRY ICE CREAM

Ingredients:

1 cup whipping cream

3/4 cup full cream milk

3 large egg yolks

1/3 cup dark brown sugar

Pinch of kitchen salt

1-2 tablespoons bourbon

1-2 cups fresh blueberries

2 tablespoons sugar

Squeeze of lemon juice

Method:

  • In a saucepan, heat cream and milk until steaming. In a bowl, whisk together yolks, sugar and salt.

  • Pour some of the hot cream into egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to pan.

  • Whisk constantly until it bubbles and thickens. Remove pan from the heat and stir in the bourbon.

  • Scrape into a bowl, cover and refrigerate until well chilled. Heat blueberries, sugar and lemon juice.

  • Cook berries in a medium skillet over medium-high heat, stirring, until the berries soften and burst.

  • When fruit is soft and jam-like, remove from the heat, scrape into a bowl and refrigerate until chilled.

  • Freeze the custard in an ice cream machine. When ice cream is frozen but still soft, fold in the berries.

  • Transfer the ice cream into a loaf pan and freeze until firm. Makes about 3 cups blueberry ice cream.

Blueberry Ice Cream

Panna cotta is dessert I think I should make more often. It is one of those examples which justifies the old adage that ‘simple is beautiful’ or ‘less is more’. All the way from Italy, this delicate chilled pudding is traditionally made from cream and gelatin with a side serving of fruit coulis. You can play around with the gelling agent and the dairy as long as your final product has a soft set and a slight wobble with a smooth, melt-in-the-mouth texture. You need to make sure your mixture does not turn lumpy or gritty at any point; it is not a good idea to walk away from your pan as it goes on the stovetop. If you are worried that it does not get to set properly, you can serve this vanilla speckled strawberry panna cotta, from BBC Good Food, right out of dessert cups or shot glasses instead of unmolding it on a plate.

STRAWBERRY PANNA COTTA

Ingredients:

For the Panna Cotta

3 agar agar leaves

450ml double cream

200ml whole milk

100g white caster sugar

1 vanilla pod

For the Strawberries

400g strawberries, hulled

1½ teaspoon corn flour

50g white caster sugar

Method:

  • For the panna cotta, put agar agar leaves in a small bowl of cold water to soften, about 5 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, pour the cream, milk and sugar into a pan, split the vanilla pod, scrape out the seeds.

  • Add the seeds, along with the pod, to the cream mixture. Heat gently until hot, but not bubbling.

  • Remove agar agar leaves from the water, squeeze out any excess liquid then add to the hot cream.

  • Stir the mixture until agar agar is dissolved and leave to stand for 20 to 30 minutes until cooled.

  • The vanilla pods should be suspended in the liquid by this point. Strain mixture through a sieve.

  • Pour into 6 serving glasses, then chill for at least 3 hours. Toss strawberries in a small saucepan.

  • Add the corn flour and sugar in a saucepan. Place over a medium heat and cook for 4 to 5 minutes.

  • Cook until the released juices thicken and strawberries are softened. Set the mixture aside to cool.

  • Once completely cooled, top panna cottas with the strawberry mixture. Chill until ready to serve.

Strawberry Panna Cotta

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