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Thursday, 27 September 2012

rocket science. I have always enjoyed baking. Sometimes baking is the stress buster for me. I find some happiness in beating the butter by hand and mixing all the ingredients and seeing the cake raise in the oven. With these few tips and ideas its absolutely a joy to bake at home.  
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  • Baking unlike cooking is a precision art. A little over or under can lead the recipe in a completely different direction. Invest in a good scale, thermometer and oven.
  • Read the recipes thoroughly before attempting them, its always good to know what to do next beforehand, rather than looking into the recipe for every step.
  • If the liquid measurements are given in weights rather than volume, just follow the weight measurement. It’s much more accurate.
  • Always use all the ingredients at room temperature unless and otherwise the recipe demands it. Ingredients like butter and eggs should be taken out of the fridge at least an hour before you start to use them.
  • Always use unsalted butter. Its better to have the amount of salt content in our control
  • Use only the amount of flour mentioned in the recipe. Do not substitute cake flour when the recipe calls for all - purpose flour. It will make the cake too fragile. 
  • Always use the exact number the eggs or the amount of eggs the recipe demands for. It is very essential for the texture of the cake. More will make it too crumbly and less hard. 
  • If volumes are given as measurement for eggs, then measure the volume of the egg without the shell.
  • American recipes usually have cup measures – these do not mean your standard teacups – the cup measures have distinct volumes. Refer to a good book as a guide or look it up on the internet.
  • When whipping egg whites make sure your bowl is super dry and there is no butter or yolk in it.
  • When using a double boiler to melt chocolate, make sure the water does not come in contact with the bowl that has chocolate. The water shouldn't boil vigorously. It will make the chocolate to curdle.
  • When making steamed custard – gently tap the ramekin in which you pour the custard. It helps to release the trapped air bubble and improves texture.
  • To dust the baking tin rub little butter and sprinkle flour over it dusting off the excess. Or simply layer the bottom and sides with parchment paper.
  • Preheat the oven for at-least 20 mins before baking. Set the correct temperate.
  • Batter that has only eggs as there leavening agent, bake them immediately. Batter which has chemical leavening agent such as baking powder can be refrigerated for an hour in the baking pan.
  • Always keep an eye on the product inside the oven, while baking. Different ovens behave differently at same temperature! So know your oven first.
  • To ensure level top and sides, turn the cake halfway around after two thirds of the estimated baking time. 
  • When a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean without any wet batter sticking on to them is the best way to know that your cake is done.
  • Once the cakes are out of the oven, cool them completely in the tin and on a wire rack before, slicing, frosting or storing them in an airtight container to avoid them becoming dry.
  • Remember the cooling time is double the baking time. If you try inverting or cutting into hot cakes they will crumble. 


Friday, 21 September 2012

When I think of comfort food, this pudding is the first that crosses my mind. RICE PUDDING. Really easy recipe to make and it uses the most basic ingredients, things like sugar, rice and milk, things that we normally have in our pantry. A classic rice pudding has raisins on it. But for this recipe I have used caramelized pineapple and tangy lemon zest, giving a whole new dimension to the pudding. Best tastes when chilled, but I will recommend you to steal a spoon or two while it’s still hot ;)

Bon Appetite!!!

You Will Need
  • Del Monte Pineapple Diced – 1 can
  • Butter – 1 tbsp.
  •  Sugar – 3 tbsp.
  • Cinnamon Stick - 1
  • Risotto Rice – 3/4 cup
  • Condensed Milk – 100 ml
  • Whole Milk – 600 ml
  • Zest of a lemon
The Cooking

Heat a pan over medium heat and melt butter with a tbsp of sugar and cinnamon stick. Drain the pineapple from the can and chop them roughly if you are using Del Monte Sliced pineapple. Toss the diced pineapple in the butter till slightly caramelized. Remove the pineapple from the pan leaving the cinnamon in and let it cool.

For The Rice Pudding

Stir in the rice on the same pan so that all the caramelized goodness gets absorbed in your pudding. Stir around and let the rice be coated with the butter and becomes glossy. Pour in the condensed milk or evaporated milk, whole milk and the remaining sugar. Keep the heat on medium and stir well with a heat proof spatula or simply a wooden spoon. It will take about 30 min for the rice to cook. What we are looking for here is nice soft cooked rice, not mushy rice. So, after 30 min simmer the heat and stir for another 10 – 15 min so that the pudding thickens and becomes creamy. You definitely don’t want a runny rice pudding. Take the cinnamon out of the pudding and transfer the pudding into a bowl. Cover the bowl with a cling film and most important make sure the cling film touches the actual surface of the pudding, as when cooled the pudding tends to form a skin and you don’t want that. This needs to chill completely, before it’s served.

To serve, top the rice pudding with the remaining condensed milk and the caramelized pineapple and sprinkle with lemon zest.

Important Pointers
  • Do not add lemon zest to the rice pudding while cooking, the milk will separate.
  • You can also use ground cinnamon mixed with sugar for this recipe, but I prefer the sticks as they give much better natural flavor to your pudding.
  • Toned milk can also be used, but whole milk gives rich creaminess to the pudding. The choice is totally yours. 
Happy Cooking!



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