Tuesday, April 30, 2013

(Home Made From Scratch!) Eggless Tiramisu - Baking Eggless Challenge

I have come to realize, the hard way in fact, that I am more likely to complete any given task or project in a given frame of mind, if I were held accountable for it! I am sure many of us are the same way. Its not that I lack self motivation or the tenacity to stick to something and see it through completion. But I do let things slide if I perceive other tasks or items with a higher priority (for e.g. kids, their activities, their health, you get the idea.. )
To make a long story short, I came across the Baking Eggless group when I was going through some blogs and I thought it was an immensely interesting idea and a relevant one since any and all baking that I do is eggless ! So I joined the group and here is my first challenge - completed (by mere hours to spare , but completed nonetheless , whew ! )

The challenge this month was to make Tiramisu, the Italian pick me up :) , completely from scratch and eggless to boot. I had made Tiramisu before, but had used store bought savioardi and mascarpone cheese. The second time around, I stuck to the basic recipe and kept it simple.

Homemade tiramisu

The mascarpone cheese was pretty easy to make and I was totally surprised by the result. I followed the recipe faithfully and the cheese turned out really well.

Now the all-important lady finger cookies or the savioardi cookies were a different matter altogether...My first attempt turned out pretty badly..the cookies were totally flat and chewy and unusable for a Tiramisu..They weren't inedible, thankfully..I would have hated to see them go to waste !
Then I decided to follow the eggless recipe that most of my fellow baking enthusiasts seemed to have success with and was pretty satisfied with the results...I halved the recipe because I was afraid of not getting the proper results and then seeing them go waste.They were still not as fluffy and light and perfectly shaped as the original version, but I wasn't complaining !

Eggless savioardi

The next step was to make the whipped cream, which was as simple as taking cold heavy cream in a preferably chilled bowl and whipping it with preferably chilled beaters until soft peaks form . I added a little bit of sugar to the cream halfway through the whipping. This helps in getting to the soft peak stage.

Whipped cream

1 C heavy whipping cream
2 tsp granulated sugar

Pour the cream into a bowl and using a hand held mixer, whip the cream for at least 3 minutes. Slowly add the sugar and continue whipping until soft peaks form, at least another minute or so.

The mascarpone cheese is mixed thoroughly with sugar. The whipped cream is then gently folded into the cheese in parts, so that the aeration is not lost. This helps in in keeping the final mixture creamy and light.

Whipped cream mascarpone

Last but not the least - the assembling:

I used a 9 X 5 loaf pan, you can use any kind of container, square or round. You might have to cut your cookies to size. Line the container with cling wrap so that its easy to unmould and cut before serving.


1. Dip the cookies quickly in cooled coffee and place them in a single layer in your container of choice. You can make the coffee to your preferred strength.
2. Using half of the whipped cream - mascarpone mixture, layer it onto the cookies using a flat spoon or a spatula. Cover all the cookies evenly and get the mixture into the corners of the container.
3. Place another layer of coffee dipped cookies onto the layer of cream.
4. Use up the remaining of the cream - cheese mixture to top off the cookies.
5. Sprinkle unsweetened cocoa over the top , cover with foil or cling wrap and refrigerate overnight before unmoulding and serving and devouring :)

Eggless Tiramisu

1. The eggless lady finger biscuits will probably not come close to the version with the eggs. They will be delicious and useful in a Tiramisu, but they probably wont be as fluffy and light as the original ones.
2. You can use as many or as less of the cookies as you want. It depends on the size of the container you use.
3. Refrigerating the assembled Tiramisu is highly recommended, because it will help the cookies absorb the liquids and will help the flavors merge.
4. Although there are several components to this recipe and it is definitely a time consuming recipe, it is definitely a must try!
5. We ate the Tiramisu after refrigerating it for 24 hrs. It was really good. Although, I think I should have dipped the cookies a little bit longer in the coffee. I was unsure of whether it would hold up to a longer dipping. The cookies didn't soften all that much, but since they were no delicious as well, it didn't really matter in the end ! 

Friday, April 26, 2013

T.G.I.F and a Simple Plantain Fry

The end of a week - brings such a relief and joy, doesn't it ? No need to rush early in the morning, no need to urge (read that as scream yourself hoarse) your kid to get ready for school on time, no need to rush about the day getting all your chores done satisfactorily before your child comes back home, no need to multitask in the evening, trying to get dinner on the table in time and having your child(ren) finish their homework. (Of course, if we applied a little more organization and discipline to our week days, they would be as joyful as weekends too, but that's another story altogether ;-) )
Weekends are meant for sleeping in, for lazy breakfasts, for fun games with your kids, for leisurely drives with the family, for playtime at the park !
How do you spend your weekends ?
T.G.I.F !!

Today's recipe is one that I learnt from my sister-in-law, a simple, no-fuss side dish.
It goes well with any traditional Indian menu.


2 raw plantains
2 dried red chiles
1 tbsp coconut oil (or oil of choice)
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
generous pinches of asafoetida
5 - 6 curry leaves
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
2 tbsp shredded coconut (preferably fresh)
2 tbsp chopped cilantro

1. Bring a pot of water to boil with a pinch of salt.
2. Wash the plantains, cut them in half and immerse them in the boiling water.
3. Cook for about 8 - 10 minutes or until the plantains are tender but not mushy.
4. Let cool for a while. When cooled, peel the plantains and then shred them coarsely using a
shredder or a mandolin.
5. Heat the oil in a pan. Traditionally, coconut oil is widely used in southern India, and that is what I used. But feel free to use any oil of your choice.
6. Once the oil is sufficiently hot, add the cumin seeds and the mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds splutter, add the asafoetida. Stir well and then add the washed and dried curry leaves.
7. Add the red chillies and stir until slightly fried. Increase the amount of chillies if you need it hotter.
8. Add the turmeric to the hot oil and mix well.
9. Add the shredded plantain and the salt and mix thoroughly.
10. Garnish with shredded coconut and cilantro and serve hot with rice and rasam !!

This dish is best served hot. When cold, the plantain shreds become slightly chewy.

Have a great weekend !

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Citrusy Nutty Tea Bread

The weather down here in North Dallas has been very weird, fluctuating like a yo-yo. Hot and humid one day and cold, windy and rainy the very next. I don't mind cloudy and rainy days, they offer a perfect reason to snuggle up under a warm comforter with a good book in hand and soulful music playing in the background...and although yesterday was once such day, even good books and beautiful music seemed insufficient...I looked to the kitchen for a rescue and found it in this recipe from MyRecipes. I didn't have all the necessary ingredients at hand, so substituted accordingly. The loaf turned out very well indeed !
It was not as sweet as cake, but was perfect for an afternoon snack with a  steaming cup of coffee. My son enjoyed it in his lunch box too !

Citrus Nut bread

1¾ C all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼tsp salt
¼ tsp nutmeg powder
¼ tsp allspice powder
½C sugar
½ C yogurt
¼ C chopped nuts
3 Tbs milk
3 Tbs oil
3 Tbs apricot pineapple preserves

2 flax eggs (2 Tbs flax meal with 6 Tbs of water)
2 tsp orange rind

2 tsp orange juice
½ C confectioner's sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350°
2. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and the spices in a medium sized mixing bowl. Mix well.
3. Combine the sugar, yogurt, milk, oil, preserves, flax eggs, orange rind and the nuts.
4. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and mix in gently until everything is nicely moistened. Do not over mix.
5. Spray a 9 X 5 inch loaf pan ( or an 8 X 4 inch pan) and spoon in the batter evenly.
6. Bake for about 45 minutes.
7. When a wooden pick inserted in the middle comes out clean, remove from the oven and cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 10 minutes.
8. Cool completely on the rack.
9. Mix in the ingredients for the glaze and pour evenly over the loaf.
10. Slice and serve :-)

Nutty tea bread

1. I used a combination of white whole wheat and unbleached flour.
2. The original recipe called for buttermilk, which I replaced with sour yogurt.
3. I doubled the quantity of baking powder, since I wasn't using any eggs.
4. The loaf really was very tasty. But I think next time I will use orange marmalade and orange rind for a more citrusy flavor. (There  will definitely be a next time ! )
5. The allspice added a nice spicy note to the bread. If you do not have any, you could use any of your favorite spices.
6. The glaze adds an additional sweetness to the loaf, but is not cloyingly sweet.
7. The loaf can easily be made vegan by using non dairy milk