Thursday, December 6, 2012

Christmas Fruit peel Cake (non-alcoholic version)

Hello readers :-)

This cake has been my favorite out of all the cakes I have eaten. It has a lot of childhood attachments as I mentioned in one of my older post about Fruit Cake. I have adapted the recipe from the same blog as I did in the previous post, but this time I changed things up a little bit, by avoiding alcohol altogether as I have a very interested little one too :-) I soaked the store bought fruit peels in apple cider (what better says "winter" and "holidays" than a warm cup of apple cider eh? :-)
And since fruit juice is not a preservative unlike alcohol (that's why it's used in fruit cakes, to preserve it, and add shelf life to it), I soaked the fruits overnight at room temperature, and then refrigerated for another day. By then the mixture was well soaked and the apple cider  didn't really even smell like apple cider, it smelled almost the way it smells when the fruits were soaked in alcohol. So I was relieved.

Also I used up the extra caramel sauce as a glaze so that the cake soaks it up and gets even more tasty. (I believe a good caramel sauce is the key to this cake`s "oomph" factor :-)

So here is the recipe with the slight modifications I made:
Recipe adapted: Mishmash

For the batter:

1 ½ cups All-purpose flour/Maida (measure & sift)
¾ cup butter at room temperature ( 1 ½ sticks)
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
3 large egg yolks at room temperature
3 large egg whites at room temperature
1 tsp baking powder
2tbsp wine
1 tsp vanilla extract/essence

To soak :

2 cups candied fruit peels (I used the store bought variety)
Note: the original recipe calls for nuts, but I haven't used any.
1 ½ -2 cups apple cider, or enough to soak all the fruits

For making caramel:

½ cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp water + ½ cup water

Spice powders to be added:

¼ tsp powdered nutmeg
¼ tsp powdered cinnamon
¼ tsp powdered cloves
¼ tsp powdered cardamom

How I made it:

Soaking: The fruit peels needs to be soaked in apple cider overnight, and then refrigerated for a day so that it gets soaked for two days.

Step 1: Preparing caramel

Add sugar and 1 tablespoon water to a pan on medium high heat. Swirl, but not stir the pan , until all sugar dissolves, then bubbles, and slowly changes color to amber brown. This process might take around 15 minutes.Take it off fire and keeping the pan in a sink, slowly add 1/2 cup water. Be very careful as the bubbling caramel can cause serious burns if not handled well. The caramel should be completly cooled before it's added to the cake batter.

Step 2 : For the cake batter

Preheat oven to 350 degree F.
Sift the flour, baking powder, spice powder, and keep it aside.
Mix the butter and sugar well until well incorporated. Beat the eggs and vanilla together until it's just well mixed, don't beat the egg told hvg lest it loses it's airiness. Gold this egg mixture with butter sugar mixture. Fold in half cup of caramel. Then gradually fold in the flour mix, little by little.

Step 3: Adding the fruits

Drain the fruit peels. Reserve 1/2 cup of fruit peels, and fold in the rest to the batter. Pour the batter into greased and floured parchment paper lined cake pan (I am not good with cake pan measurements, dimensions.. So please excuse my words when I say, "make a eyeball estimate of the batter and determine whether your cake pan would be good enough to hold batter , in a way that it leaves sufficient space for the batter to rise "). Toss the remaining fruits in two tablespoona of flour lightly and add it to the top of the batter in the pan. Gently level it with the flat end of spoon.

Step 4: Bake cake in oven for one hour or until toothpick comes clean. Take out the cake from oven . Let it cool a bit before inverting it onto another plate. Drizzle the remaining caramel over the warm cake. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and let it remain on kitchen counter overnight. Since this cake has a shelf life of two or three days (ie, if it's lucky enough to be spared by oggling family/friends ;-) )
it needs to be consumed within a short time, which would not be an issue with :-P

I was so glad this non alcoholic version came out great, that Iam planning on making another one shortly !

Wish you all a merry Christmas :-)


Monday, December 3, 2012

Carrot thoran (Carrottache sukke)

Hello reader :-)

How are you doing? :-) I am trying to incorporate as much veggies into our diet for the sake of our toddler :-) , who by the way is not that picky, but it's just certain days every month he goes on a food strike against almost everything ! :-) ....until he feels a real hunger pang and then nothing can stop him from eating :-D

Anyways, this dish Carrot thoran (aka `Carrot sukke` in Konkani ) is a favorite of everyone :-) , and since "somebody" in our house really loves carrot juice :-) , I decided to experiment with doing something different with carrots. Here is the recipe :

Carrots chopped finely (I used my food processor) : 2 cups
Garlic crushed lightly and minced : 5 cloves
Grated coconut : 3/4 cup
Cumin : 1 tablespoon
Chilli powder : 1/2 teaspoon
Hing (asafoetida) : 1/4 teaspoon
Turmeric powder : 1/4 teaspoon
Coconut oil : 2 tablespoons
Mustard seeds: 1 teaspoon
Curry leaves : 4, 5
Urad dal : 1 teaspoon

How it's done :
Mix everything except oil, mustard seeds, urad dal, and curry leaves until
everything is mixed and coated well. Make sure to mix everything as if you are kneading a dough, but not too much, just enough to get everything a bit softer, maybe "knead" for a minute :-) . This is my mother`s tip. She tells that this way is to get the coconut all mellow, so that it releases it's flavors when cooked. Now add salt and mix it well again. Hear the oil in a pan, add the mustard seeds followed by urad dal , hing, and curry leaves. Add the carrot coconut mix, stir well, reduce flame, and keep it covered to cook, until carrot softens. Switch off flame. Serve as a accompaniment with steaming hot rice, and dal :-)

Happy holidays

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