Guest post for Sandhya’s Kitchen – Mini Profiteroles with strawberry cream cheese filling

1-IMG_6920_1

To try profiteroles has been in my bucket list for years, when Sandy expressed her interest for a guest post. The things that flashed in my brain were profiteroles or petit fours. Quickly I did some research and went through my notes from British bake off and got influenced by petit fours. Then, I came up good combination of flavours. During first stage I experimented strawberry leather, oh my great lord, though it was freaking easy the time it took in the oven was enormous. I couldn’t be left unbothered when there was something getting ready in the oven. I enjoyed my strawberry leather; honestly I didn’t want to redo the whole process all over again. The backup plan was profiteroles, next day at work I asked a French colleague to pass over her trusted recipe, which I could follow with my eyes shut. But…..the beauty of we researchers are we just super forgetful people. There are so many pending recipes that I have promised to share with people but have never done, until they send me a threatening message or email. Every time I see either of them I hide myself in guilt and make promises to send it by tomorrow. The moment I step in my office/lab the promise gets shelved or evaporated. This forgetful nature is good in a way that I’m left only with good and deep memories. Nothing new my colleague too forgot to give me the recipe, but then this recipe is aftermath of some literature survey. Its super simple, best part is pastry shell can be preserved in the freezer up to three weeks and can be filled with cream before serving. Took these profiteroles to coffee table at work, to my surprise it was big success and it was approved by French people. They said it’s just perfect. Do get your hands on these profiteroles with strawberry cream cheese filling!

Continue reading →

A guest post by Kankana Saxena from Sunshine & Smile – Cream Puffs filled with Strawberry and Mascarpone

I’m trying my best to keep up with race of time, it is ridiculously running fast, possibly there is no way I could make it go bit slow…..sigh! Anyways I have started writing my thesis and the D day is not so far…shall keep you all posted as soon as it gets official, there is endless list of things to complete, send me good wishes folks, to reach the red line!

This week guest post is from Kankana of Sunshine & Smile chirpy young lady, exactly as her blog name says, very positive and encouraging! She never fails to impress me with every single post she makes. She is one among my friends with whom I very quickly gelled with, at-least from few emails I felt she is like my childhood friend, she being so organised tolerated my absent-mindedness. Thank you Kankana for coming over and making such a gorgeous dessert. Let me say it was a surprise dessert for me, thought I knew its gonna be a dessert I hardly knew wat it was….and these little darlings made my morning a day before. They took me to the days in Rome where I indulged in Sicilian dessert, as soon my defense is over I’m sure to bake them. So people jump over to Sunshine & Smile not only for her wonderful and indulging recipes but her beautiful pictures….you are sure to get hooked …few fav of mine are  ohh mushrooms,  Rosemary in cookies  and Baigan bharta pizza

Thanks a lot Ananda for inviting me over to your gorgeous space. It’s truly an honor! 

I visited Ananda’s blog few months back and fell in love with it immediately, the layout, the photography and her baking skill, she is one talented girl. We became friends very quickly and with her busy schedule, we hardly get time to chat much but we stay connected. And when she said ’my heart always beats for sweets, anytime of the day’, I wanted to make something sweet for her.

I am not much of a sweet tooth person, but there are few sweet treats to which I will never say ‘No’ and one of those is Cream Puffs. After some serious thought and hours of internet browsing, I decided to take an attempt and bake it at home.
And thank god I did … cause they were delicious.

I was surprised and smiling from cheek to cheek as I saw those cream puffs rising tall in the oven. Kept my fingers crossed and hoped that it doesn’t fall flat after a while. It didn’t and they were still standing firm when I took these out of the oven. I kept staring impatiently for these to cool down and after a while, I held one in my hand.. they were perfect (at least in my world)!

I jumped like a crazy girl, told the whole world about it and did my happy dance for a very long long time :)
I am not much of a baker and that explains why I don’t have any piping bag, without which it’s tough to give the puffs a neat shape. Therefore, I improvised and used a zip-lock bag as my piping bag and as you can see, the shape weren’t that bad either.
After the puffs came out the way I wanted, I had to look for some filling to use and what’s better than mascarpone with strawberries, right?

It took me hardly any time to whip up the filling. The best way to enjoy these puffs is to slit these in half, spread your choice of cream filling and let these chill in the refrigerator for a while.
It was all worth the wait!

Every bite was delicious.. buttery.. creamy.. and the berries made it sweet and juicy. A perfect treat with pure indulgence!


This will make about 8 to 9 puffs.
Ingredients:
For the puffs
ñ 6 tbs unsalted butter
ñ 1 cup water
ñ 1-1/2 tsp sugar
ñ a pinch of salt
ñ 3 large eggs
ñ 1 cup all-purpose flour
For the filling
ñ 1 cup mascarpone cheese
ñ 1/2 cup heavy cream
ñ 1 cup powdered sugar (may vary depending of tartness or sweetness of strawberries)
ñ 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
ñ 1 cup strawberry thinly sliced
Directions:
In a deep pan, boil water and drop the butter in the water.
After the butter is melted, add sugar, salt and keep stirring.
Bring the heat to medium, add all the flour at once and using a wooden spoon, keep beating until the mixture forms a dough. This should take about 3 minutes.
Stop the heat and remove the pan from the stove.
The next step is to mix the eggs with the dough which can be done in two different ways :-
1. Beat all the eggs in a bowl. Then, pour the beaten eggs in the dough little bit at a time and keep stirring until all the eggs are mixed nicely with the dough (as shown here).
OR
2. Put the hot dough in the food processor, add the eggs all at once and pulse it for a while till it mixes properly (as shown here).
I used the second method to mix the dough with eggs until it was smooth and thick in texture.
Next, spoon or pipe 8 to 9 mounds of dough onto the baking sheet. Make sure to space them about 1-1/2 inch apart as they will spread while baking.
Wet the tip of your finger and tap the top of the dough slightly just to make sure it’s smooth on top.
Bake it at 400 F for 15mins.
Reduce the heat to 350 F and bake for another 30 minutes or until they are all puffed up and get golden brown in color.
Once done, let these cool completely before you start filling.
For the filling, whip together mascarpone cheese with heavy cream and sugar till it’s firm. Chop the strawberries and mix it with the cheese mix.
For final plating: Cut the puffs in half , spread the strawberries and cheese mix on the bottom half, place the top half of the puff shells and dust some icing sugar on top. You can serve it immediately, but I feel it tastes best when chilled for about an hour before you serve.
Enjoy!

Irregularities – Strawberry bavarian mousse/mirror cake

Final experiment running, data to be analysed, research articles to be massaged and finally a thesis should be generated. You heard me right? yes all these final stuffs has been keeping me occupied (no complaints, I’m happy with this phase) and also in such a state of mind that I kept adding sugar instead of salt to curry and was thinking huh this summer tomatoes are too sweet, hello excuse me in which world? Before I could realise the curry was almost a dessert! Wish to note down all these kinds of incidents, which makes me go fierce at that moment but it, would be a comic book for me in the future alas it will be a endless comic book! 
So lovely people kindly bear with me, you will see the regular irregularities of my presence in APL on the brighter side you are soon going to have some surprises stay tuned! 
This recipe is from my Japanese friend, Reiko, she made it as layer cake (green tea cake+ agar agar+ strawberry mousse) it was fantastic. I replicated only mousse part with thin eggless chocolate cake and strawberry jelly/mirror on top! The mousse is very special, not too sweet with tad bit of sourness, smooth and rich. If you all are wondering what is that leaf? I have no idea except for the fact it’s edible. The name was written in Finnish which obviously I forgot to note it down! Basically used them to bring some contrast. Enjoy the cake till the blogger part in me wakes up again :) 

Eggless Chocolate Cake
(I wouldn’t state it as world best eggless cake but it was just fine, it’s first time i tried eggless version, it was not too fluffy but soft and moist, served the purpose of being good base!) 
Ingredients 
50 ml milk (i used 1.5% fat)
100 gram sugar
120 gram melted butter 
150 gram all purpose flour
30 gram cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
Mix the dry ingredients first (flour + baking power + cocoa powder).
Melt butter, then add in sugar, then slowly mix flour and milk in steps till is uniformly mixed and required consistency is obtained. (If batter is too thick, adding milk in step of 10 ml till the required consistency is obtained). Pour the batter in greased 18 cm baking pan and bake in preheated oven at 180 C for about 30 to 40 minutes till tooth pick inserted comes out clean).
Let the cake cool aside, it definitely should be at room temperature; else it would melt the mousse. I let them cool over night. 
Bavarian Mousse
Ingredients
200 gram strawberries (room temperature) ( or 4 tbspn strawberry jam) 
60 gram sugar  
Lemon juice 1/2 tbspn
Water 50 ml
Gelatin 5 gram
Fresh cream 150 ml
Put strawberry + sugar+ lemon juice in blender and blend until smooth. Next filter the smoothie. Add gelatin in warm water in order for them to melt. Then sieve in gelatin into the smoothie, be quick and make sure your strawberry smoothie is at room temperature.
Next whip cream unil light and fluffy (single peaks are formed). Slowly incorporate cream to the strawberry smoothie and until it is uniformly mixed. Then place the bowl over the bowl of ice water, till the liquid gets viscous. 
Assembling  
Use a detachable cake pan and skillfully place cling foil to the inside sides of the cake pan.
Then place cooled chocolate cake and press with fingers so that cakes sits well to the bottom. As soon the mousse mixture gets viscous pour into the cake pan. Let it set in refrigerator for about 4 hrs. 
Once mousse sets next prepare the strawberry jelly or mirror part.
Strawberry juice
Strawberry 14 grams
100 ml water
50 gram sugar (add more if you want them sweet, try drinking the juice and check)
Blend together and filter the juice
For mirror
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tbspn water
3/4 tbspn gelatin powder
Few drop of red food color
In a small bowl pour lemon juice and water, sprinkle gelatin over the mixture and let it aside till soft. Next  pour strawberry juice in a sauce pan and bring to simmer and pour the juice to gelatin mixture. Stir till gelatin melts, next add food colour. then place the bowl over bowl of ice water till the liquid becomes syrupy, when its just beings to thicken pour it over the top of the cake and refrigerate until set. 
After the cake sets un-mold the cake pan, remove the cling foil and serve the cake cold!

Laugh to Death Kitty Party – Strawberry, Kiwi Creamy Mini Tarts

Summer is on full swing in Finland, feels like being in India, air is sharp enough that it gets through our skin and a layer of sun-block, doesn’t help. During July technically we see countable number of people working in departments. We girls, myself, Shanthi, Asima and Ritika (new Punjabi Kudi, joined the group of PhD, welcome darling! Official) have our coffee breaks during week days at 14:00 and will let it continue for short chit chat, gossip and laughter. To give it more life, Shanthi organised  a kitty party last before Saturday. Technically it was supposed to start at 18:00. Myself and Asima started of well dressed perfect for kitty party and half way done, Asima’s bicycle gear ‘broke’, yea strange. So we had to take bus and wait in bus stop for 30 minutes and enjoyed sight seeing of passengers, wearing summer dress, trust me it was fun!