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Kulfi, often likened to ice cream, actually bears subtle differences which completely sets it apart from its American counterpart. This, you will notice, as soon as you start making your own kulfi at home. Firstly, kulfi does not use eggs, which makes it safe and accessible to a larger group of foodies. The process of making this traditional Indian dessert will need you to be patient as you wait for milk to come to a slow boil; it should be thick enough to coat a spoon like a custard. The texture will remain somewhat coarse and grainy, and even more so if you plan to add ground almonds, as kulfi is not churned to get rid of ice crystals as it is done for ice cream.

This delightfully easy mango kulfi, from Cooking from Heart, works best with freshly plucked, fragrant mangoes though you can also use frozen or canned if they are not in season. This year, we have unfortunately not been blessed with a long mango season and good quality mangoes have been rare and rather expensive but do not let this keep you from trying homemade mango kulfi. If you happen to have any leftover mango pulp after this, you can always whip it with some plain yogurt to make mango lassi, a refreshing summer drink.

MANGO KULFI

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups milk

1/4 cup cream

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup almonds

3 tablespoons pistachios

2 green cardamom pods

3/4 cup mango pulp

Method:

  • In a mixer jar, add 1/4 cup of almonds along with 2 cardamoms and grind to a fine powder.

  • In a bowl, add milk and bring it to boil. Next add fresh cream and let it heat on a low flame.

  • Add ground almond powder and mix well before it turns lumpy. Cook till mixture thickens.

  • Add sugar and mix until completely dissolved. Remove from heat and cool down completely.

  • Mix mango pulp with milk mixture. Sprinkle pistachio slivers at the bottom of kulfi molds.

  • Pour cooled mango mixture into prepared molds and sprinkle more pistachio slivers on top.

  • Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours until set. Gently push an ice cream stick halfway into each kulfi.

  • Dip the molds in warm water to release the kulfi and serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.

Mango Kulfi

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The classic financier, made with finely ground almonds, is something I bake every time I have extra egg whites left over from homemade custards or ice cream. Very basic in its ingredient list and baking method, the only lengthy step you will encounter is to brown a few knobs of unsalted butter to create the aromatic beurre noisette, which highlights the nutty flavor of this delicate loaf-shaped friandise.  For a twist, I switched the almond meal in Weekend Bakery‘s recipe to a good measure of ground pistachios with a light sprinkling of chopped nuts on top and they were as good as the traditional almond financiers. I am further encouraged to try them with other nuts like pecans or cashew nuts just to see which one I like best.

PISTACHIO FINANCIERS

Ingredients:

30 g pastry flour

50 g pistachios

25 g almond flour

150 g icing sugar

Pinch of kitchen salt

1/8 teaspoon almond extract

3 egg whites, room temperature

100g unsalted browned butter

20g pistachios, chopped

Method:

  • Shell the pistachios and grind them to a fine powder along with one teaspoon pastry flour.

  • In a bowl, combine sugar, salt, pastry flour, almond flour, pistachios and almond extract.

  • Add egg whites and stir with a whisk until you have a smooth mixture, 1 minute is enough.

  • Add browned butter in a steady stream, whisking continuously. Transfer it to a piping bag.

  • Put it in the fridge for one hour. Preheat your oven to 200 °C / 390 °F conventional setting.

  • Now fill the prepared financier molds and sprinkle the tops with roasted chopped pistachios.

  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown. Leave in pan for 5 minutes before turning out.

  • Cool completely on a wire rack. Financiers are best eaten while fresh. Makes 12 financiers.

Pistachio Financiers

If you love dense, buttery cakes with lots of flavor, this rich cannoli pound cake from Stellina Sweets is definitely gonna make it on your hit list. The cake will rise tall with a lovely cracked top if you bake it in a narrow loaf pan so be sure you do just that. The combination of pistachios, chocolate, citrus zest and ricotta cheese may take you a while to get there, especially if you are using raw unshelled pistachios as it might take well over an hour to shell, chop and roast before you can add them to the batter.

I dare say that you will be nicely rewarded for every ounce of hard work you put in as the finished cake tastes amazing and smells heavenly. Since I’m not familiar with the famous Italian cannoli – a deep fried, crisp cylindrical shell, filled with sweetened ricotta with the ends dipped in a mixture of chocolate and pistachios, which I hope to try at some point –  I cannot honestly say whether the pound cake version matches up to the authentic stuff but I would urge all of you to go ahead and make it anyway so that you can be your own judge.

CANNOLI POUND CAKE

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups (190 grams) all-purpose flour

1 cup (170 grams) mini chocolate chips

1/2 cup (60 grams) pistachios, chopped small

1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar

Finely grated zest of 1 orange

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

1/2 cup olive oil or vegetable oil

1 tablespoon sweet marsala wine

1 cup (250 grams) whole-milk ricotta cheese

2 large eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 or 2 pinches allspice

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Method:

  • Place rack in the center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Spray a 8 x 4½” pan with nonstick cooking spray.

  • Line the pan with parchment paper, such that it overhangs on the long sides, and spray the parchment.

  • Whisk together the flour, chocolate chips, and chopped pistachios in a medium bowl and set this aside.

  • Combine sugar and orange & lemon zests in a bowl and rub zest thoroughly into the sugar using fingers.

  • The mixture will be fluffy and citrus-scented and flecked throughout with bits of orange and yellow zest.

  • Add the olive oil, marsala, ricotta cheese, and eggs; whisk to combine into a fairly homogenous mixture.

  • Sprinkle baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and allspice on top, and whisk to combine everything together.

  • Use a spatula to gently fold the flour/chocolate/pistachio mixture into wet ingredients until just blended.

  • Scrape batter into pan. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

  • Transfer it to wire rack and cool cake in the pan for about 15 minutes. Pull parchment up and out of pan.

  • Let cake cool to room temperature on the rack. Dust with confectioners’ sugar if desired for a festive look.

  • The cake will keep for at least 3 days in an airtight container at room temperature. Makes 10-12 servings.

Cannoli Pound Cake

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