Rubber Halwa

I first had this at Modern in Bombay, and it was soo soo soo good. So good.

If you like things that are chewy and sweet, you will love this! (This is very similar IMHO to Chi Chi Dango Hawaiian mochi, and less chewy than most types of other traditional mochi).

Recipe from Yummy Tummy. (Note that the site uses British English for ingredients and measurements; I’ve translated to American English for my site).

Preparation Time : 2 mins
Cooking Time : 15 to 20 mins
Makes : 24 to 30 pieces

Ingredients:

Cornstarch – 1 cup
Sugar – 2 cup
Water – 3 cup
Ghee – 8 tbsp
Cardamom Powder – 1 tsp
Cashews – 3 tbsp, broken into small pieces
Green Food Coloring – a pinch

Directions:

Take a heavy bottom pan and add in sugar and 2 cups of water. Mix well and heat till the sugar is melted.

While it is melting, take cornflour in a bowl and add in 1 cup of water and mix well so no lumps are formed. Add some food color and mix well.

Now the sugar must be melted, pour the cornflour mix in and mix well.

Now put this on high heat and keep whisking till it is thick, glossy and jelly like.

Now use a spoon to mix and put the heat on medium heat.

Add 2 tbsp ghee and keep mixing..

After 3 mins add another 2 tbsp ghee and mix well.

Now it will get thick and non sticky. Add in another 2 tbsp ghee and keep cooking.

Add more ghee if needed.

At one stage the halwa will leave the sides of the pan. at that point add in cashews, cardamom powder and mix well.

The halwa will look non sticky, it will leave the pan, it will be thick and glossy, and the ghee will ooze from the sides of the pan.

At this point pour this into a greased pan and set it in fridge for 1 to 2 hours.

Once it is set, invert it to a cutting board and cut it into slices.

Enjoy!

New Orleans Pralines

Mario Batali’s Pecan Pralines

Makes 24 pralines

Guests will be thrilled to learn they are taking home some of these chocolate, nutty pralines at the end of the night. Present them on the dessert table in footed glass vessels or tuck them into a glass shadow box that can later be reused to display keepsakes.

3 cups packed light brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp. corn syrup
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 cups pecan halves
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or wax paper. Combine brown sugar, cream, corn syrup and butter in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until a candy thermometer inserted in mixture reads 240°. Remove from heat, and cool to 150°, 8 to 10 minutes.
2. Add pecans and vanilla, and stir until candy becomes opaque, about one minute. Drop mixture by tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet. Let stand until cool and firm, 25 to 30 minutes.

Active time: 10 minutes

Total time: 50 minutes

Southern Apple Cake

Fresh Apple Cake with Pecans and Brown Sugar Glaze

For the Cake:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups finely chopped apples
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts
For the Glaze:
1 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons evaporated milk, or half and half, or milk

Directions:

  1. Heat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 13-by-9-inch pan, or two 8- or 9-inch cake pans, round or square. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, soda, and salt, and stir with a fork to mix everything together well.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk, a wooden spoon, or an electric mixer at low speed until pale yellow and foamy. Add the oil and the vanilla, and beat them together well. Stir in the sugar-flour mixture and use a wooden spoon to mix the batter, stopping as soon as the flour disappears. Add the apples and nuts, stir to mix them into the batter until fairly uniform, and scrape the batter into the prepared pans.
  3. Bake at 350 for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown, springs back when touched lightly near the center, and is beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan.
  4. Place the cake on a wire cooling rack or a folded kitchen towel. Make the glaze while the cake is hot. Combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the mixture comes to a gentle boil and cook for 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. Spoon the glaze all over the hot-from-the-oven cake. Let the glazed cake cool completely, and serve in squares right from the pan.

Makes one 9 x 13-inch cake

From Southern Cakes: Sweet and Irresistible Recipes for Everyday Celebrations. Chronicle Books 2007. Copyright Nancie McDermott. All rights reserved.

French Apple Cake

French Apple Cake
One 9-inch (23 cm) cake
Adapted from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan

Dorie doesn’t specify any type of apple but instead advises that you should use a mix of them. I don’t know what kind mine were since I’d picked them myself (they’re pictured at the top). The rum is really vital for the taste, and the cake would be not as interesting without it. If you’re avoiding alcohol, you could double to triple up on the vanilla to compensate.

I also like this recipe because you can make it with ingredients easily on hand. Being American, I was tempted to add a dusting of ground cinnamon to the apples, but then it wouldn’t be authentically French. Hence I decided a dollop of crème fraîche alongside to be rather nice.
3/4 cup (110g) flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
4 large apples, a mix of varieties
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
3 tablespoons dark rum
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 tablespoons (115g) butter, salted or unsalted, melted and cooled to room temperature
1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and adjust the oven rack to the center of the oven.
2. Heavily butter an 8- or 9-inch (20-23cm) springform pan and place it on a baking sheet.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
4. Peel and core the apples, then dice them into 1-inch (3cm) pieces.
5. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until foamy then whisk in the sugar, then rum and vanilla. Whisk in half of the flour mixture, then gently stir in half of the melted butter
6. Stir in the remaining flour mixture, then the rest of the butter.
7. Fold in the apple cubes until they’re well-coated with the batter and scrape them into the prepared cake pan and smooth the top a little with a spatula.
8. Bake the cake for 50 minute to 1 hour, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edge to loosen the cake from the pan and carefully remove the sides of the cake pan, making sure no apples are stuck to it.
Serving: Serve wedges of the cake just by itself, or with crème fraîche or vanilla ice cream.

Storage: The cake will keep for up to three days covered. Since the top is very moist, it’s best to store it under a cake dome or overturned bowl.

German Apple-Almond Cake

German Apple-Almond Cake (Apfel-Marzipan-Kuchen)
10 to 12 servings
Adapted from Classic German Baking by Luisa Weiss

I used a mix of apples, some tart, some less-so. Do use good-quality, flavorful apples, preferably ones from a farmers’ market, which taste better than supermarket varieties. For suggestions on which apples to use, ask the people at the farm stand or choose those that have a fragrance. Apples are related to roses, so often have a faint, yet lovely, rosy smell. If your apples are small, use 6 of them.

Luisa recommends grating the almond paste, which I didn’t do, so I had to run the mixture through a food processor. Since my almond paste was “artisanal” it wasn’t as moist as what you buy at the grocery story, so that may have been the culprit. So I recommend grating the almond paste in step #4.
4 medium apples, (1 3/4 pounds, 800g)
1 lemon, zested and juiced
7 ounces (200g) almond paste
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
14 tablespoons (200g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoons almond extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup, 3 tablespoons (150g) flour
9 tablespoons (80g) cornstarch
2 teaspoons baking powder, preferably aluminum free
1/4 cup (75g) apricot jam, strained if lumpy
1. Butter a 9- to 10-inch (23cm) springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
2. Peel and core the apples. Divide the lemon juice into two separate bowls. Slice two of the peeled and cored apples into 1/2-inch (1,25cm) slices, and toss the apple slices in one bowl of lemon juice. Dice the other two apples into 1/3-inch (1cm) cubes. Toss in the other bowl of lemon juice.
3. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC).
4. Using a grater with large holes, grate the almond paste into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the sugar and salt and mix until the almond paste is finely broken up.
5. Add the melted butter, almond extract, and lemon zest, and continue mixing until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, stopping the mixer and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
6. Whisk together the flour, cornstarch and baking powder in a small bowl. Stir the dry ingredients into the almond batter mixture by hand, then fold in the diced apples, along with any lemon juice in the bowl.
7. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Place the sliced apples in concentric circles on top of the batter, pressing them in very lightly.
8. Bake the cake until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 10 minutes.
9. Remove the cake from the oven. Warm the apricot jam in a small saucepan and brush it over the top while the cake is hot. Let the cake cool completely, then run a knife around the inside of the cake pan to release the cake, and remove the sides of the cake pan.
Serving and storage: This cake is so moist, it doesn’t require any accompaniment. However softly whipped cream, perhaps lightly spiced with cinnamon or allspice and a bit of vanilla or Cognac, would be welcome. Cinnamon ice cream would be lovely. The cake can be kept at room temperature for 3-4 days. Avoid freezing it, which could make it soggy.

FAQs

Can I make my own almond paste?

I’ve not done it but it takes a very powerful machine (food processor) to get it as finely ground as purchased almond paste. Luisa has a recipe in her book (page 264) for those who want to give it a go. In the United States, I like Love ‘n Bake, but the tubes and packages of it sold in supermarkets (such as Solo or Odense brands) are generally of good quality, too.

Can I use marzipan?

Most marzipan is meant for modeling, so has more sugar (and sometimes glucose) added, to make it more pliable. So use almond paste, not marzipan. Nigella Lawson says that almond paste in England is called marzipan. So check that link for advisements if you live in the United Kingdom.

Can I make this without nuts?

Unfortunately, I don’t know of a nut-free substitute for almond paste.

Does it matter if my almond paste is blanched or unblanched?

It’s generally a matter of preference and what’s available. Either will work in this recipe. Unblanched almond paste is darker in color, but harder to find.

Is there a good way to remove this from the pan, for presenting and serving?

You can run a knife or spatula underneath the kuchen to remove it from the pan bottom and lift it slightly with a spatula, then futz underneath to peel off the parchment paper and slide it onto a serving platter. (It sounds complicated, but it actually quite easy as the cake is not fragile. You can also use a glass bottom springform pan and omit the parchment paper.

Apple Dutch Baby

From: Epicurious

BATTER:

3 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

APPLES:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large Pink Lady apple, peeled, sliced 1/4″ thick
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons butter

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Whisk batter ingredients in mixing bowl. Set aside.
  3. Make apples: heat 2 tbsp butter in cast iron, add apples, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cook until apple is soft, around 4 min. Transfer to another bowl, set aside. Wipe down cast iron.
  4. Heat cast iron in hot oven for 8 to 10 min. Add 2 tbsp butter, coating bottom and sides of cast iron. Add apples. Pour batter on top.
  5. Bake until pancake is puffy and golden brown at the edges and the center is set but still custardy, 12-15 min.
  6. Serve with maple syrup or apple cider syrup.

APPLE CIDER SYRUP:

INGREDIENTS:

4 cups apple cider
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Mix well. Let boil over medium heat in large saucepan for 30-40 min, until reduced and syrupy. Let cool, cover and chill.
  2. Syrup can be made up to one week ahead. Let warm to room temperature before serving.

German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars

From Recipe Revival: Southern Classics Reinvented for Modern Cooks by the Editors of Southern Living

NOTE: This recipe alone is worth the cost of the book.

Makes: 2 dozen (or a 13 x 9 pan full).
Hands On: 20 min
Total: 3 h 20 m

Ingredients:

1 3/4 c all purpose flour
3/4 c powdered sugar
3/4 c cold butter, cubed
1/4 c unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 c semisweet chocolate morsels
3/4 c firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 c light corn syrup
1/4 c butter, melted
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 c sweetened flaked coconut
3 c toasted pecan halves and pieces

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Line bottom and sides of 13 x 9 pan with heavy duty aluminum foil, allowing 2 to 3 in to extend over the sides. Lightly grease the foil.
  3. Pulse the flour and next three ingredients (powdered sugar, cold butter, unsweetened cocoa) in food processor 5 or 6 times or until the mixture is crumbly. Press the mixture on the bottom and 3/4 in up the sides of the prepared pan.
  4. Bake the crust at 350 F for 15 min. Remove from the oven, and sprinkle the chocolate morsels over the crust. Cool completely on a wire rack (about 30 min).
  5. Whisk together the brown sugar and next three ingredients (corn syrup, melted butter, eggs) until smooth. Stir in the coconut and toasted pecans, and spoon into the prepared crust.
  6. Bake at 350 F for 25 to 30 min or until golden and set. Cool completely on a wire rack (about 1 hour). Chill 1 hour. Lift from the pan, using foil sides as handles. Transfer to a cutting board. Cut into bars.
  7. Enjoy!