Date & Raisin Butter Biscuits

Dates! They have been cultivated for thousands of years since ancient times, and what a blessing they truly are! They have been used extensively in Middle East and the Indus Valley since then.

As for me, I have consumed  a fair share of dates in my early days. 😀  My mother made sure we had these growing up as they are quite healthy and a good source of energy! What with school and the after-school play time activites! My younger brother would play cricket for hours at a stretch under the scorching sun on holidays, he needed these most.. 😉 My gandfather loved Khajoor, as they are called in Hindi, and he would always make sure we never ran out of these sweet goodies!

I don’t cook much or rather not at all with dates and love to eat them in the raw form. However, this time I have dared to come out of my comfort zone and used them in biscuits. You will find half and half of dates and raisins in this recipe, but these can be made with dates solely. They were quite delicious and the dates impart a richness and not to forget, nutrition to these swet buttery, crumbly, melt in the mouth cookies! They are perfect to serve with tea. I have used the same recipe I used for these Butter Biscuits.

Butter Biscuits

Butter Biscuits

 

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Ingredients:
Biscuit Dough:
125 g all purpose flour
100 g butter, cut into small pieces and slightly softened
50 g icing sugar, sifted
pinch of salt
1 egg yolk

Filling:
100 g dates,seedless or dried figs
100 g raisins
120 ml heavy cream

Instructions:
Biscuits:
Heap the flour on the work surface and make a well. Put in the butter, icing sugar and salt.
With your fingertips, mix and cream the butter with the sugar and salt, then add the egg yolks and work them in delicately with your fingertips.

Slowly, draw the flour into the center and work the mixture delicately with your fingers until you have a homogeneous dough.

Using the palm of your hand, push the dough away from you 3 or 4 times until it is completely smooth.
Roll into a ball, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Filling:
Finely chop the dates and raisins. Add the cream and stir until smooth. Ideally this should be done in a food processor until the mixture has a smooth creamy consistency.

Date & Raisin Butter Biscuits
Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
On a lightly floured surface, flatten the chilled dough and roll the dough into a rectangle about 1/8th inch thick.
Trim the edges so you have a neat rectangle.
Place it on a baking tray with parchment paper and chill for 15 minutes.

Remove from the refrigerator and spread the date cream evenly over the dough with a spatula.
With the long side facing you begin rolling up the dough tightly. Chill until firm, at least an hour.

Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Cut into small slices and transfer them to the prepared baking tray. Bake for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

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Bon Apetit!

Bon Apetit!

Not so Brioche “Sugar Brioche” Bars

I love all kinds of viennoiserie. Be it croissants, pain au chocolat, danish pastries or bricohes. Unfortunately, these pastries are not easily available in my city. If i really want to have some, I must make them myself.

As I am quite scared of any thing that involves yeast I need to muster up some courage to dig in and dirty my hands. The worst thing i could do would be to just bin them if they turned out too horrible. Alas, I tried my hand at a brioche recipe and it did not turn out as it should have. However, it was just as much tasty and quite addicitve to be frank.

A good Brioche must be rich, slightly puffy with a flaky, soft crust. Mine wasn’t as flaky as it should be. The yeast did not get activated correctly as my dough did not rise too much. Oh! What a bugger! I went ahead and baked them anyway. Much to my surprise, they turned out to be super delicious and a great addition for a Sunday special brunch or tea time snack. These had a buttery, flaky texture and just melted in the mouth.

As they say,”All’s well that ends well.” 😉

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Well, not exactly. I felt quite edgy and wanted to make the perfect brioche. So I did the next day. i made a cinnamon walnut brioche loaf and it turned out really well. 🙂

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Ingredients:
Parisian Brioche :

250 g all purpose flour
30 g sugar
1 tsp salt
10 g yeast
3 eggs
165 g butter, diced and softened
100 g pearl sugar

Glaze
1 egg/ some milk

Instructions :
Making the Bricohe Dough:

Place the flour, sugar, salt in a mixing bowl. Add in the yeast making sure it doesn’t touch the salt. Knead in the eggs one at a time. Add the softened butter to the dense dough. Continue kneading until the dough is elastic and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, 5 to 10 minutes. Stop when you can hold the dough in your hand and it keeps its shape.
Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let rise at room temperature until doubled in volume, about one hour. Line a baking sheet with baking paper.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a rectangle. Cut it crosswise into bars. Place the bars on the baking sheet spacing them well apart. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for 2 hours.

Baking the Brioche Sugar Bars:
Preheat the oven to 180 C. Lightly beat an egg for the glaze. Brush the brioche bars with the egg glaze and sprinkle with the pearl sugar. You can substitute coarse or brown sugar for the topping.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool before serving.

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The Brioche recipe has been adapted from Christophe Felder.

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For more oomph, sandwich raspberries and nutella between two of these bars! 🙂

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I am taking these delicious bars over to Angie’s Fiesta Friday party. See you there!

Bon Apetit!

Bon Apetit!

Veg Puff a.ka Curry Puff

My earliest memory of eating a veg puff was when I was probably 7. Yes, I loved eating puffs as a child. Infact, I loved eating everything that falls under the umbrella of “Street Food”. My mom’s food was the only saving grace for me fortunately. She took great care to ensure we, my younger brother and I had a well balanced nutritious diet.

Veg puffs, Wada Pav, samosas are some of my favorite snacks and I miss them terribly now being so far away from home! As the end of every school year approached, we would wait eagerly for the last day. Simply because our Rickshaw driver (whom we lovingly called  Mama or uncle) would treat us to these goodies and an absolute must ice cream 🙂 I reckon it was his way to show us how proud he was of us…..ah, those were the days!

The love continued when I entered Fergusson college where I spent 5 years, not so much studying, as frequenting different student eateries. The bakery that was most famous for veg puffs in my hometown Pune, was within 5 minutes of walking distance from my college. The popular “Santosh bakery” would make veg puffs only on Thursdays and sold them only for a few hours! Alas, back then these were life’s dilemma. Inadequate supply of my favorite, not so healthy, ultra delicious snacks!

So this time when I made my own puff pastry I knew I had to give these a try! They turned out to be delicious. Indeed, everything tastes better with butter, the more the merrier! It was a hit with my not so Indian-Indian friends as well!

Veg Puffs

Veg Puffs

Ingredients:

Puff Pastry Recipe, please click here

Veggie Filling : Or Any veg filling of your choice

2 tsp Oil
1 Onion, finely chopped
Salt to taste
1/2 cup Carrots, chopped
1/2 cup Green peas –
1/4 tsp Cumin seeds
1 tsp Coriander Powder
1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
1/4 tsp Chaat Masala
1/4 tsp Kasuri methi
1/2 tsp Garam masala powder
Red Chili Powder to taste
Coriander leaves, chopped

Instructions: 

Veggie Filling: 

Heat oil on medium heat in a pan. Add cumin seeds, once they crack add the chopped onions.

Saute till they turn translucent. Add in the ground spices except garam masala powder.
Add in the Veggies and a little salt. Mix well, cover and cook for 7-8 mins. Add the garam masala powder and cook for 30 seconds. Sprinkle over the coriander leaves and give it a stir.

Assembling the Puffs :

Pre-heat the Oven at 210°C.Line a baking tray with parchment paper or sprinkle some flour.

Cut the Pastry sheets strips to form small square/ rectangle. I like mine to be mini bite sized portions.


Put 1 tbsp (approx) of the stuffing in the center.
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Brush some water over the edges of the pastry. Fold the Pastry Sheet over the other edge and press into the sides and press away.
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Put the Puffs on the baking tray and chill for 15 minutes.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden. Reduce the temperature to 100°C and bake for another 10-15 minutes. Remove and allow to come to room temperature.

Served with beer for a more grown up version ;)

Served with beer for a more grown up version 😉

Bon Apetit!

Bon Apetit!

Sablée (Butter Biscuits)

I was going through my school photo album and reminiscing the most carefree, fun-filled days of my life. I was telling my better half all the silly things me and my friends would do at school.Diving further into past I remembered that we, my brother and I would pester our mom to get us cream biscuits. They are nothing but two biscuits with a flavored cream or jam within them. Much to my mother’s annoyance and amusement, we would open up the cream biscuit, lick off the delicious cream and discard the biscuits! 🙂

The ones filled with jam were called Jim Jam and my family loved to have this with tea.

In memory of my childhood days, I have made butter biscuits and topped the jam on two biscuits instead of making it as a sandwich so I don’t embarrass my hubby. 🙂

Mini Sablés

Mini Sablés

Makes about 325 g dough – Makes about 24-26

Ingredients:

125 g all purpose flour
100 g butter, cut into small pieces and slightly softened
50 g icing sugar, sifted
pinch of salt
1 egg yolk

Instructions :

Preheat the oven to 170°C.Line a baking tray with baking mat or baking paper.

Heap the flour on the work surface and make a well. Put in the butter, icing sugar and salt.
With your fingertips, mix and cream the butter with the sugar and salt, then add the egg yolks and work them in delicately with your fingertips.

Slowly, draw the flour into the center and work the mixture delicately with your fingers until you have a homogeneous dough.

Using the palm of your hand, push the dough away from you 3 or 4 times until it is completely smooth.
Roll into a ball, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

There are a lot of ways you can bake these biscuits!You could just bake them the way they are or if you have kids, they would love to have Strawberry jam biscuits.You could also just top them up with some almond flakes and voila!
You have a treat to serve for a tea party.

Roll out the dough to a 2-3 mm thickness.Using a cookie cutter, cut out as many discs as possible.
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Make the sablés as below:

Strawberry Jam:
Place an even number of cut out dough (discs) on a baking sheet and moisten lightly with pastry brush dipped in cold water.You could also just pat water with your fingertips.

Cut a hole in the center of half of the discs and place them on top of the solid discs.
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Use a teaspoon to fill the cavities with the jam, then brush the borders with egg wash.

Almond:
Place the desired number of pastry discs on a baking sheet, brush with egg wash and arrange 5 or 6 almond flakes on each one.
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Bake the sablés:
Bake the sablés for 6-10 minutes, depending on their thickness.

If you’d prefer more color, increase the temperate to 180 for the last minute or two.

Transfer to a wire rack and cool before serving.

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My mom would serve tea in the pretty tea cups with saucers. I have none, 😦 and we Indians like our tea in glass too, this one is french…. 🙂
ummmm..masala chai in a french glass served with french sablés, pretty neat I’d say 😉

Chai Biscuit

Chai Biscuit

Bon Apetit!

Bon Apetit!

Ginger Cake

To satisfy my cravings for something sweet and spicy, I was hunting for a good cake recipe. Incidentally, I stumbled upon a book “A little course in Baking” which had a great recipe for Ginger cake.
Although,I am not a huge fan of ginger I gave it a try and to my surprise this cake turned out to be everything I was looking for.It was super moist,with a kick of ginger and subtle flavours of cinnamon and cardamom coming through.The golden syrup and brown sugar make the cake quite rich.

Nothing can beat the feeling of enjoying this cake on a chilly evening sipping a cup of chai over endless talks with your better half. 🙂

Ginger Cake

Ginger Cake

Ingredients :

115 g butter,softened, plus extra for greasing
225 g golden syrup
115 g soft dark brown sugar
200 ml milk
4 tbsp syrup from jar of preserved ginger
finely grated zest of one orange
225 g self raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
0.5 tsp cardamom
0.5 tsp nutmeg
1 egg, slightly beaten

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 160°C/gas 3.
Grease the cake tin and dust with some flour.

Prepare the Batter:

Wet ingredients

Wet ingredients

Put the butter,sugar,syrup,milk and preserved ginger syrup into a saucepan.
Heat gently over a low heat until the butter has melted and the mixture is smooth and well mixed.
Stir in the orange zest.

Smooth Mixture

Smooth Mixture

Remove from heat and leave to cool slightly for 5 minutes.

Dry Ingredients

Dry Ingredients

Sift together the flour,bicarbonate of soda and spices in a mixing bowl.
Make a well in the centre.Pour the melted mixture into the well and using a balloon whisk, whisk together until all the ingredients are well mixed.
Then stir in the beaten egg.
Pour the batter into the cake tin.

Bake in the preheated oven for 35-45 mins or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

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Cool completely before serving.