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A popular treat from North India, the besan laddoo is traditionally served as prasad, an offering made to God or to mark festive occasions like birthdays and weddings. Unlike other laddoos which involve painstaking methods of preparation, the technique of making besan laddoos comes as straight forward and relatively foolproof such that you will get it right on your very first attempt. The only catch is to get your besan/chickpea flour perfectly roasted over a low flame until it loses its raw smell and texture without letting it burn.

The rich, characteristic taste of the besan laddoo depends on this crucial step, so roll up your sleeves and make sure that you keep stirring the hot besan until it turns golden and fragrant. Usually a generous amount of clarified butter is required to get that distinctive melt-in-the-mouth texture, so do not skimp on the desi ghee if you can help. The khoya helps to bind the mixture well and make it less crumbly though it does reduce their shelf life a bit. Make this easy yet flavorsome laddoo for your brothers on Raksha Bandhan and share the love!

BESAN LADDOO

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups besan

1/4 cup semolina

1/2 cup ghee, melted

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1/3 cup khoya or mawa

1/2 teaspoon cardamom

1/4 cup almonds, chopped

1/4 cup cashew nuts

Method:

  • Heat 1 tablespoon ghee in a heavy bottomed pan. Add the cashew nuts and sauté on low medium flame.
  • When they turn golden brown, remove from the pan from heat and place cashew nuts in a bowl to cool.

  • Add almonds to ghee, sauté on low flame for 3 minutes. Remove from pan and place with cashew nuts.
  • In the same pan, add remaining ghee and allow to melt and turn warm, not hot. Slowly, add the besan.

  • Roast on low flame till besan turns color and gives lovely aroma after at least 30-35 minutes of cooking.
  • Turn off heat and remove roasted besan to a wide plate and allow it to cool. It can be slightly lukewarm.

  • Melt 1 tablespoon ghee and roast semolina on low flame for 7-8 minutes and add it to the roasted besan.
  • Meanwhile, add 1 tablespoon of ghee to the same pan and sauté the grated khoya for some 2-3 minutes.

  • Turn off flame and remove it from pan. Grind the roasted cashew nuts and almonds to a coarse powder.
  • Add the nuts to roasted besan. Add powdered sugar and mix to combine. Finally add cardamom powder.

  • Mix gently to combine and shape this mixture into small, lemon sized even balls. Leave to set on a plate.
  • Place cashew nut on top as garnish. Laddoos have a shelf life of 2 weeks at room temperature. Makes 12.

Besan Laddoos

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Welcome to our May Bakealong challenge. Each month, we’ll announce a new recipe for you to try, along with helpful tips and step-by-step instructions here on our blog. We invite you to bake this month’s recipe, Berry Blitz Torte, then share a photo of your creation, tagging it #bakealong. Enjoy! May means graduations. And wedding showers. Throw the potential for birthday celebrations in there, and you’ve got all kinds of reasons to bake a cake. Or multiple cakes, if you’re the designated family cake baker.

Most of us have a go-to cake recipe, one we religiously bake for one party or gathering after another. Maybe it’s a chocolate layer cake, like our Favorite Fudge Birthday Cake. Or perhaps a simple pound cake, such as our Lemon Bliss Cake. For me, that signature cake is Berry Blitz Torte. A wonderful mix of tender cake, delicately crunchy topping, and creamy filling layered with fresh berries, it’s a visual stunner with flavor to match. It is easier to make than it looks and there’s no need to polish up your pastry skills; this cake is reachable by any baker.

BERRY BLITZ TORTE

Ingredients:

For the Pastry Cream Filling

2 1/2 cups whole milk

1/2 cup caster sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup cornstarch

3 large egg yolks

1 large whole egg

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped

1 1/2 to 2 cups fresh raspberries

For the Cake

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1/2 cup caster sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 large egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup All-Purpose Flour

For the Meringue Topping

4 large egg whites

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup sliced or slivered almonds

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon sugar

Method:

  • In a medium saucepan, stir together 2 cups milk, sugar, and salt and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  • Stir to dissolve sugar. Meanwhile, whisk cornstarch, egg yolks and whole egg with remaining 1/2 cup milk.

  • Whisk some hot milk mixture into egg yolks to temper yolks and prevent them turning into scrambled egg.
  • Pour egg and milk mixture back into simmering milk, pouring through a strainer to capture any bit of egg.

  • Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • The mixture will thicken significantly. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Transfer to container.

  • Top it with a piece of buttered plastic wrap and refrigerate the filling until it is cool, for up to several days.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two 8-inch round cake pans and line it with baking parchment.

  • To make the cake, beat together the butter, sugar, salt, and egg yolks until well combined. Beat in vanilla.
  • Add milk, baking powder, and flour and beat; batter will be stiff. Spread the batter into the prepared pans.

  • Using an electric mixer or stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until they are foamy.
  • Gradually add 3/4 cup sugar and continue to beat till the meringue is smooth, glossy, and somewhat stiff.

  • Spread meringue on cake batter. Sprinkle almonds over the meringue. Dust the top with cinnamon sugar.
  • Bake the cakes for 30 minutes, until the almonds are lightly browned. The cakes will puff up significantly.

  • Remove the cakes from oven and allow them to cool for 15 minutes. Carefully loosen the edge of each cake.
  • Gently turn out on a rack to cool completely. Now remove pastry cream from refrigerator and stir it gently.

  • To assemble cake, place one of the cake layers, meringue side up, on a serving plate. Spread with the filling.
  • Add a layer of fresh berries. Top with the second cake layer, meringue-side up and serve cake immediately.

KAF May Challenge: Berry Blitz Torte

This classic French ‘petit four’ derives its name from its cute, rectangular shape which looks like mini gold bars. Another theory says that the cake became popular in the financial district of Paris surrounding the Paris stock exchange. No matter what the origin of the name, the financier smells [and tastes] just as sweet!

Though you might find the ingredient list rather basic, the secret that goes in the making of a good financier lies in the combination of browned butter and lightly toasted almond flour, two key ingredients that account for its rich, buttery flavor. The batter owes its delicate texture to beaten egg whites and can be stored in the refrigerator, making it a good bake-ahead project on weekends or anytime you have extra egg whites waiting to be put to good use.

I was quite excited at the idea of using my new silicon pan for these mini cakes from Baking at Tiffany’s, who adapted the recipe from Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel. While the plain financier with its browned edges and golden crumb is a treat on its own, you can always go one step ahead with fresh blueberries or raspberries to add a dash of colour to your little almond bars. I have a good mind to try them with pistachios next.

FINANCIERS

Ingredients:

1/2 cup + 1-1/2 tablespoons (120 g) sugar

1/4 cup + 1 tablespoons (40 g) unbleached all purpose flour

1/2 cup + 2 teaspoons (60 g) almond meal

100 g egg whites or egg whites from about 3 large eggs

1/2 cup (100 g) unsalted butter, browned

1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 425 oF and butter 12 financier molds or a mini-muffin tin. Refrigerate buttered tin.

  • Sift together sugar, flour and almond meal into a bowl. Create a well in the center of dry ingredients.

  • Add in the egg whites and whisk together by hand until all the ingredients have been well combined.

  • To brown the butter, melt butter in a sauce pan over low to medium heat until bits begin browning.

  • While still hot, slowly pour browned butter into batter, simultaneously whisking batter till combined.

  • Evenly distribute batter among molds or mini-muffin tin wells, leaving about 1/8″ space from the rim.

  • Lower oven temperature to 350 oF. Bake on the center rack for about 20 minutes or till golden brown.

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PrerrnaMirchi
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