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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!

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

While I love to experiment with different cake textures and flavors, the recurrent request in my house, especially when it comes to birthday requests, remains the ubiquitous butter cake. And though I suspect it must have something to do with the yummy melt-in-the-mouth factor, homemade butter cakes seem to charmingly convey the message “I made it myself” without actually having to say the words.

One step ahead of your regular vanilla butter cake, this stunning Almond cake, baked in a Bundt pan, has all the makings of a perfect birthday cake. It was my first and only choice when I started planning my mum’s birthday. “With almonds, almond extract, and almond liqueur all working together in this cake, there’s plenty of almond flavor for even the biggest almond fan.” I cannot help agreeing here with Jennifer from Bake or Break, even if I made the switch from liqueur to more extract. Other than the simple sugar glaze, this beauty needs nothing more a handful of toasted almonds on top to look pretty. My mum loved it so much that she did not want to share her cake with anyone 😛

ALMOND BUNDT CAKE

Ingredients:

For the Cake

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup almond flour

1 teaspoon table salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup light brown sugar

4 large eggs, room temperature

3 tablespoons almond-flavored liqueur

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 cup full cream milk

For the Glaze

1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

3 to 5 tablespoons heavy cream

1 teaspoon almond extract

Toasted sliced almonds, for garnish

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously grease a 10-cup or 12-cup Bundt pan. Whisk together the flours.

  • Add salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside. Using electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter.

  • Add granulated sugar and brown sugar, beat well until it is light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time.

  • Mix well after each addition. Add liqueur, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Reduce mixer speed to low.

  • Add the flour mixture in three portions, alternating with two portions of milk. Mix it just until combined.

  • Transfer the batter to the pan and spread evenly. Bake 50 to 60 minutes until the cake is golden brown.

  • A pick inserted into the center should come out clean. Cool the cake in pan on wire rack for 20 minutes.

  • Flip cake onto a serving plate and leave it to cool completely. While the cake is cooling, make the glaze.

  • Whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, 3 tablespoons of the cream, and the almond extract in a bowl.

  • Add more cream, a teaspoonful at a time, until the glaze has the desired consistency, thick but pourable.

  • Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake and garnish with toasted sliced almonds. Makes 12 to 16 servings.

Happy Birthday Mama!

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PrerrnaMirchi
Mauritius

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