A good, rich, dark and sometimes boozy Christmas Fruit Cake is a must-have on every Christmas platter. Studded with dry fruit soaked in rum and spiced with beautiful holiday flavours, this recipe is sure to win you over.
In most Christian homes along the south west coast of India, a good Dark Fruit cake makes an appearance at Christmas and all special occasions like engagement parties, weddings, anniversaries, Communion celebrations and so on. It also holds a very prominent spot on a typical Christmas platter, or what is locally referred to as a Kuswar platter. (Kuswar=Christmas sweets)
Most people I know enjoy a good fruit cake, but very often, find it too tedious to make one at home. They settle for a commercially made cake, which very often has a number of additives including caramel colour to give it a deep, dark colour.
Today, I’m sharing with you, my favourite Fruit Cake recipe. This recipe is a little longer than most other cake recipes. However, I can assure you it is a fairly simple process and the end result is so good, it’s well worth all the extra effort. To help make the process easier, I’ve broken this recipe down into a few parts. Some of them can actually be done days before you’d like to bake this cake. The best part is, this cake tastes best if it’s allowed to rest for a couple of days, so it’s a perfect one to make ahead.
Step 1 – Soaking the fruit
This recipe calls for 500gms of mixed dry fruit. In my assortment, I’ve used raisins, sultanas, currants, mixed peel, candied / glacéd cherries and candied ginger. You can use any dry fruits of your choosing, in the proportion you’d like them. It just needs to add up to about 500 grams all together.
Chop the larger pieces of fruit down to make slicing your finished cake easier. Doing this also makes for a better eating experience, in my opinion. Place all the fruit in an airtight glass jar, top it off with some rum and set it aside in a cool dark place. The fruit needs atleast 24 hours to soak and rehydrate. The longer is steeps in the rum, the better the results. This can be done upto a year in advance.
Step 2 – Making the caramel
The 2nd step is making the caramel. There are many ways to make a caramel. For this recipe, you’re looking for one that gives you a slightly more fluid consistency. I’m using a 2:1 ratio – 2 parts sugar to one part water and I find that this gives me the perfect results for this recipe. You can make this caramel even a few days before you want to bake your cake. Simply let it cool down completely and store in an airtight glass jar. If you’re making this the caramel, the day that you’re baking the fruit cake, make sure the caramel has cooled down completely before you add it to the batter.
Step 3 – Making the cake
Making the batter is a very simple process. It’s just like making any other cake. You need to ensure all your ingredients are at room temperature. In this recipe, I’m using dark brown sugar to help lend a darker colour to the cake. If you can’t find dark brown sugar, regular white sugar will work too. Just make sure you use a fine grain sugar or simply powder your regular white sugar before adding it to the batter.
Sometimes, you find that the fruit in a fruit cake like this one isn’t evenly distributed. Mix the fruit into the flour – baking powder mix to ensure that the fruit doesn’t sink to the bottom of the cake.
Also, in this recipe, I’m using treacle to darken my cake and give it an added boost of flavour. If you can’t find treacle, use some molasses instead. I’m not using any artificial colours. A lot of the commercially available dark fruit cakes use caramel colour. If you’d like to, you can add some to the batter.
I’m going to feed this cake only once with some dark rum, just as it comes out of the oven. This will help the cake soak up all the rum.
While you can cut into the cake as soon as it cools dow, for best results, I recommend atleast letting it stand overnight before you cut into it.
Once all the Hard Yakka’s out of the way, sit back and enjoy your stunning Fruit Cake.
Christmas Fruit CakeCourse: Cakes, Cakes, Cookies & Desserts, RecipesDifficulty: Medium
This rich, dark and boozy Christmas Fruit Cake is studded with dry fruit and is beautifully spiced to make it the perfect cake for the Holidays.
- For soaking the dry fruit –
100g mixed citrus peel
50g candied / glaced cherries
50g candied ginger
240ml dark rum
- For the caramel –
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup hot water, from a recently boiled kettle
- For the cake –
200g butter, at room temperature
200g dark brown sugar
1 tsp Vanilla bean paste / vanilla extract
2 tbsp Treacle
120ml Caramel (recipe included)
Zest and juice of 1 orange
250g all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
Dry fruit, previously soaked as per directions below.
50g cashew nuts, chopped
45ml dark rum
- Soaking the fruit –
- Chop all the dry fruit into smaller pieces. I try and keep them evenly sized, like the size of the currants, which are the smallest in the assortment.
- Place all the chopped fruit in an airtight glass jar. Top with rum. Mix well. Cover and steep for a minimum of 24 hours in a cool, dry place. You can leave this fruit to steep for upto a year. Shake the jar or stir the ingredients every once in a while.
- For the caramel –
- Place 1 cup sugar in a large vessel. Let it melt and caramelise on medium heat till all the sugar has dissolved. Do not stir the sugar. Swirl the pan, as needed.
- Once all the sugar has completely dissolved and it caramelised, pour 1/2 cup hot water down the side of the vessel. It is important to do it in this manner to prevent the caramel splashing on you.
- Let it heat through for about another 10 seconds or till both liquids have mixed well. Give it a light stir to ensure they have mixed through.
- Set this aside and leave to cool completely before adding to the cake batter.
- If you’re making the caramel ahead of time, after is had completely cooled, store in an airtight glass jar in a cool, dry place.
- To make the cake –
- Mix the flour and baking powder in a bowl to combine well.
- In a larger bowl, place the soaked dry fruit after draining out any excess rum. Do not discard this rum. You can top the jar up with more fruit and rum and leave to steep for the next time you make this cake.
- Add the cashewnuts to the fruit and mix well.
- Add the flour and baking powder mix to the bowl and mix the flour and fruit thoroughly, and stir through to break up any larger clumps of fruit.
- Preheat your oven to 170C and line a 9 inch square cake tin with baking paper and grease it.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, place the butter and brown sugar and beat till it is light and creamy and all the sugar has dissolved.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing between each addition.
- Add the vanilla, orange zest and juice, caramel, treacle and all the ground spice powders. Mix well till combined.
- Lastly, add the fruit – flour mix and fold it into the cake batter.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes or till done.
- Immediately, pour the rum all over the top surface of the cake.
- Let the cake cool down in the cake pan itself.
- When it has completely cooled, it is ready to serve or store. For best results, let it rest overnight before cutting. Store carefully wrapped in a couple of layers of baking paper.
- When you’re ready to serve, cut into slices or bars and enjoy!
- Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature.
- The fruit should be soaked for a minimum of 24 hours or upto one year in an airtight glass jar. The longer they steep, the better.
- Make sure the caramel has cooled down completely before adding to the batter. The caramel can be made a few days ahead. Simply let it cool down completely and store in an airtight glass jar till ready to use.
- For best results, let the cake rest atleast overnight before cutting into it.
Rose Cookies – Kokkisan
With Christmas fast approaching, today I thought I’d share with you a recipe for Rose Cookies. Rose Cookies, Kokkisan or Achu Murukku – these are a few names these little treats go by in different parts of the South of India. If you’ve not had these before, imagine amazingly crisp, deep-fried, sweet cookies. They are so more-ish. Which is why it’s a good thing this batch yields quite a few cookies.
Let’s move on to the cookies themselves, shall we? While they’re not difficult to make, the batter can be very temperamental and finicky. This is one Kuswar treat I personally find the most trying. The most important part of this recipe is the batter. It takes a little patience and tweaking to get it to just the right consistency. But boy, once you do, churning these cookies out is a breeze.
The batter –
Are you ready to give these a try. Let me walk you though the process. Putting the batter together initially is a very simple process and it just a matter of whisking all of the ingredients together. The one thing you need to watch out for, is the amount of liquid that goes into it. You’re looking for a batter that isn’t too thick or too thin. It’s a Goldilocks kinda situation; you have to get it just right. A huge saving grace is that the batter is forgiving and can be easily fixed.
If its too thick, it wont cling to the cookie iron at all. When this happens, gradually add small amounts of coconut milk (if you’re out of coconut milk, you can use water) and whisk it in. On the other hand, if its too thin, it’ll stick to the iron and won’t release into the oil, even after you try to separate it using a fork or a skewer. To fix this, simply add a little all purpose flour to the batter, a little at a time and whisk it through and try frying it again.
The frying process –
Now that you have you’re batter sorted out, you need to keep a few things in mind while frying these cookies. Once the oil heats up, maintain it by using a medium to medium low heat. If the oil is too hot, the cookies will brown too quickly. The cookie iron needs to be heated well for it to release the cookies into the oil. The first few cookies are like a tester batch. You may have to sacrifice a couple of them while you figure out the right consistency.
Take the cookies out of the oil when they’re a little lighter than you’d like it. They tend to darken as they cool.
With these pointers in mind, you are now equipped to make a beautiful batch of these Rose Cookies.
Rose CookiesCourse: SnacksCuisine: IndianDifficulty: Difficult
Rose Cookies are amazingly crisp, deep-fried, sweet cookies that make an appearance on a lot of Christmas Kuswar platters. They are so addictive, they can be enjoyed any time of the year.
1 egg, at room temperature
1/3 cup of sugar (fine grain or ground to a powder)
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup rice flour, fine
1 tsp Vanilla extract / Vanilla bean paste
1 – 1 1/2 cup coconut milk
A pinch of salt
1 tsp black sesame seeds
Oil, for deep frying
- To make the batter –
- Crack the egg into a large mixing bowl. Whisk lightly.
- Add the sugar and whisk to combine.
- Add the salt and vanilla and mix.
- Add the all purpose flour and rice flour and mix lightly.
- Add the coconut milk and whisk to form a batter. The batter shouldn’t be too thick or too thin. Use more coconut milk/water or all purpose flour to adjust the consistency as needed.
- Stir in the sesame seeds.
- To fry the cookies –
- Heat the oil in a deep, heavy pan for deep frying.
- Place the cookie iron in the hot oil for about 30 seconds or till it has heated.
- Shake excess oil off the iron and insert in batter about 3/4 of the way. Immediately place the iron in the oil. In a few seconds, lightly shake the iron to release the cookie or use a fork to help take it off the iron. Please watch the video to see the technique in action.
- When the cookie has lightly browned, carefully flip over to fry it on the other side. When golden brown, drain any excess oil and remove the cookies onto a tray lined with absorbent kitchen paper to drain the excess oil. Take the cookies out of the oil when it is still on the lighter side. They will continue to turn slightly darker once taken out of the oil.
- Continue frying the rest of the cookies.
- When the cookies have cooled down completely, serve up or store in an airtight container.
- The consistency of the batter is very important. You may need to adjust the consistency of the batter as you fry the first few cookies to hit the right consistency. If it is too thick, add a little water or coconut milk and whisk in. If it is too thin, add a little all purpose flour and whisk through.
- We don’t like our sweets overly sweet. Feel free to add more sugar to suit your preferences. Fry off a couple of cookies and taste them, adjust sweetness, if needed.
- Take the cookies out of the oil when it is still on the lighter side. They will continue to turn slightly darker once taken out of the oil.
If you’re looking for more Kuswar recipes to make this Christmas, here are a few of my favorite recipes you might enjoy too –
2) Date Rolls
3) Baath / Badca
4) Coconut Toffee
5) Milk Cream
6) Coconut Ladoos
7) Guava Cheese / Perad
8) Nankatais (Eggless)
9) Marzipan (Eggless)
10) No-cook Almond Marzipan
11) Marzipan – My favorite recipe
12) Chocolate Hazelnut Fudge
13) Chana Doce
Gingerbread Fudge – a quick and easy recipe
Today’s Gingerbread Fudge is a great recipe to have on hand for Christmas. It is quick and easy, and results in a creamy fudge that is beautifully spiced with all the Christmas flavours. So if a combination of white chocolate and the flavours of a traditional gingerbread is your thing, stick around for the recipe.
With Christmas fast approaching, a lot of folks have started with all kinds of prep work. From deep cleaning and decorating their homes, shopping for the Holiday season and planning their social calendars, most houses see frenzied levels of activity at this time of the year. It’s because of this, one needs to have a few easy and delicious recipes to fall back on.
This gingerbread fudge recipe ticks all those boxes. With prep and cook time of mere minutes, the hardest part of this recipe is leaving the fudge alone, to cool and set. Sounds perfect, right? Well, it is. And you’re left with a nice batch of fudge that just melts in your mouth.
And if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere like I am, we’re headed straight for summer. And it gets really hot here in Sydney. So while everyone in the North is baking up a storm, these kind of recipes work out perfectly for us. This way we get to enjoy those beautiful flavours of Christmas without having to turn the oven on.
This fudge can be made a few days ahead. Store it in the fridge in an airtight container lined with baking / parchment paper. I suggest placing a piece of baking / parchment paper between layers as well, to prevent the pieces of fudge from potentially sticking to each other.
Now, if dark chocolate is more your thing, check out my Dark Chocolate and Hazelnut Fudge recipe. It is absolutely divine.
The ingredients –
This list is an easy one to get a hold off. You will need condensed milk, white chocolate, vanilla, molasses, ground spices (ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg) and don’t forget the butter.
Let’s get cooking –
Line a 9×9 inch cake pan with some foil, leaving a little overhang to help take the fudge out once it has set. Set this aside to use later.
Place the condensed milk and butter in a heavy bottomed pan on a medium low heat.
Add the molasses and vanilla. Mix through and add the white chocolate. Stir well to help the chocolate pieces melt.
Next, add the spice powders and stir well to incorporate.
Once all the chocolate has melted and the spice powders have been incorporated thoroughly, pour out onto the lined cake pan. Tap the pan gently a couple of times to get rid of any air bubbles.
Leave it on the kitchen counter and let it come to room temperature.
Refrigerate for 4-6 hours or overnight to set completely.
Cut into squares and serve.
Gingerbread Fudge – a quick and easy recipeCourse: DessertCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
This Gingerbread Fudge recipe is quick and easy, and results in a creamy fudge that is beautifully spiced with all the Christmas flavours.
1 tin condensed milk (395g)
350g White chocolate
1 tsp Vanilla extract / Vanilla bean paste
1 tbsp Molasses
1 tsp ground ginger (powder)
1 tsp ground cinnamon (powder)
1/8 tsp ground cloves (powder)
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (powder)
- Line a 9×9 inch cake pan with foil, leaving a little overhang to help take the fudge out once it has set. Set this aside to use later.
- Place the condensed milk and butter in a heavy bottomed pan on a medium low heat.
- Add the molasses and vanilla. Mix through and add the white chocolate. Stir well to help the chocolate pieces melt.
- Next, add the spice powders and stir well to incorporate.
- Once all the chocolate has melted and the spice powders have been incorporated thoroughly, pour out onto the lined cake pan. Tap the pan gently a couple of times to get rid of any air bubbles.
- Leave it on the kitchen counter and let it come to room temperature.
- Refrigerate for 4-6 hours or overnight to set completely.
- Cut into pieces and serve.
- Line the cake pan and assemble your ingredients before you start cooking the fudge.
- If you don’t have access to molasses, you can use a little melted down Goan coconut jaggery.
- Adjust the spice powder amounts to suit your liking.
- Store it in the fridge in an airtight container lined with baking / parchment paper. I suggest placing a piece of baking / parchment paper between layers as well, to prevent the pieces of fudge from potentially sticking to each other.
When you think of Chickpeas, a lot of people think of savory recipes. Have you tried making sweets with a chickpea base? If you haven’t, you really ought to. This Chana Doce is a Goan sweet served at Christmas time, weddings and special occasions. It is made with chana dal and coconut and mildly flavored with cardamom. There are heaps of Indian sweets that use some form of chickpeas as a base, like these Besan Laddoos or even these sweet flatbreads called Puran Poli. These two are just the tip of the ice berg and I hope to try and bring you some more Chickpea deliciousness in the future.
Today, I’m sharing with you a Goan sweet recipe. This Chana Doce is a Goan delicacy and makes an appearance at Christmas time, weddings and special occasions. The recipe calls for chana dal, which is hulled and split chickpeas. Everytime we visit Goa, we always bring some back home with us. A good Goan bakery is paradise if you have a sweet tooth. Our typical haul would include this Chana Doce and a Coconut variant, the ever popular Bebinca, Dodol, Baath, Bolinhas and Pinag. I think that about covers it. Our favorite place to buy these treats is a quaint little bakery in Mapusa called Simona’s. They also have outlets in Porvorim and Sinquerim. What’s your go-to place to buy your favourite Goan treats?
It’s hard for us to get back to Goa as often as we did when we were in Mumbai, so I’ve decided to try and make these delicacies at home. And after some experimenting, I’ve finally got a recipe for Chana Doce that I’m happy with. This is a softer version of the sweet and just melts in your mouth. The commercially available one is a little harder and has a slightly longer shelf life, but its slightly more difficult to make. We actually quite like this softer version and hope you do too.
Chana DoceCourse: DessertCuisine: GoanDifficulty: Medium
A melt in your mouth sweet made with chana dal and coconut and mildly flavored with cardamom.
1 cup Chana Dal (hulled and split chickpeas)
1/8 tsp Salt, or to taste
6-8 green cardamom pods
1 coconut, grated (approx. 2 1/2 cups)
2 cups sugar
1 tbsp + 1 tsp of ghee (clarified butter)
- Wash the chana dal by passing it through some water at room temperature 3-4 times. Add enough water to cover the dal by about 2 inches and let it soak for 3 hours. After letting it soak, drain the water, pass it through some fresh water and drain again. Cook the chana dal with 1/8 tsp of salt and sufficient water till soft. Drain the dal and reserve the cooking water. Let the dal cool to room temperature.
- In the meanwhile, crack the cardamom pods open and grind the seeds to a powder.
- Grease a large tray or board, the back of a large spoon or spatula, a rolling pin and a sharp knife with a little more ghee.
- Grind the coconut to a smooth paste using just a little of the reserved cooking liquid from cooking the lentils. Use as little water as you can. Place the ground coconut in a large heavy bottomed pan.
- Grind your chana dal with a little reserved cooking liquid to a smooth paste. Again, use as little liquid as possible. Add this to the pan.
- Add the sugar to the pan and stir well to combine.
- Place the pan on a medium heat and cook till it thickens and starts leaving the sides of the vessel, stirring continuously. As it thickens, drop the heat to a medium low, add the cardamom and 1 tbsp ghee and continue cooking. This process takes around 30-45 minutes.
- Once the mix starts forming into a ball, take it off the heat and immediately transfer to the greased tray. Level it using the back of a spoon and tidy it off with the greased rolling pin. Set it aside to cool.
- Using the greased knife, cut into the traditional diamond shapes or any other shape of your choosing.
- Leave the cut pieces on the kitchen counter to cool down completely and set. Your Chana Doce is now ready to serve or store. Store in an airtight container. This will keep refrigerated for a 6-8 days.
- You can cook the chana dal in the pressure cooker or in a pot on the stovetop. The pressure cooker will cut down cooking time drastically. Mine takes about 10 minutes to cook all the way through. Cooking time will differ among different brands of pressure cookers. Follow your manufacturers instructions to cook the lentils till well done.
- Use as little water as possible to grind the coconut and the chana dal. The more water you add, the longer you’re cooking time will be.
- Always use a heavy pan to cook this Chana Doce. It keeps it from burning easily. If possible, use a wide pan. A wide pan, increases surface area and decreases cooking time.
- Cooking time will vary depending on a number of factors like amount of water used while griding, heat level used during cooking, size and thickness of the pan, width of the pan etc. It took me 32 minutes in total. Like most Goan sweets, its hard to time the cooking process. You need to go by what you see and feel. My step-by-step video will help with this.
No-cook Almond Marzipan Recipe
How do they both compare? Well I found that the cashewnut marzipan is lighter while the almond one is a little on the denser side. That being said, the almond version is super delicious. I think even more than the cashewnut one. Then, there’s also the fact that the almond one is a no-cook recipe. So, to sum up, I will still make my cashewnut version as it is a little easier to work with, but the almond one will be absolutely perfect to use in so many different ways. I’d love for you to try it out and tell me what you think of it.
No-cook Almond Marzipan
(Yields 250-260gms approx.)
1 cup raw, natural almonds
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/2 tsp rose water (you can add a little more if needed)
1/2 tsp almond extract (you can add a little more if needed)
Place the almonds in a heatproof bowl.
Pour water from a recently boiled kettle over the almonds to cover the nuts. Leave the almonds to soak for a couple of minutes.
Drain the almonds and peel them. Place them on some kitchen paper or a clean kitchen towel to dry up. Let the almonds cool down completely.
In a high powered blender / food processor, blitz the almonds to a fine powder.
Place the almond powder in a large bowl. Add in the icing sugar. Mix it thoroughly till combined.
Add the rose water and almond extract and knead to form a dough / log.
Your marzipan is now ready to be used.
If you don’t need to use it immediately, you can wrap it in cling film and refrigerate till needed. It keeps for a couple of months. (Personally, I would just make this when needed, probably a couple of days ahead.)
NOTE: This marzipan is not a very sweet version. When the marzipan is formed, taste some of it. If you want it sweeter, simply add some more icing sugar and knead it in.
My favourite Marzipan recipe
This version of marzipan is made using cashew seeds and is shaped into little colorful bites. It is the crowning glory of every Indian Christmas platter.
My favourite Marzipan recipeCourse: DessertCuisine: GoanDifficulty: Medium
This version of marzipan is made using cashew seeds and is shaped into little colorful bites. It is the crowning glory of every Indian Christmas platter.
125g Cashew Nuts
1 egg white
1/2 tsp Almond essence
1/4 cup water
Food colours, as required
- Soak the cashew nuts in some (room temperature) water for about 10 minutes. Drain, run some fresh water through the nuts, and drain them again.
- Grind the cashew nuts, egg white and water to a fine paste.
- Pour the ground paste, the almond essence and sugar into a large heavy pan. Place the pan on low-medium heat and stir to combine.
- Cook the paste on a medium low heat, stirring continuously till it thickens and starts coming away from the pan.
- Use the water test to check if the Marzipan is ready. Place some ice cold water in a small bowl and drop a 1/2 teaspoon of the sweet on it. If it firms up on cooling it is done. If it is still soft or too sticky, it needs more cooking.
- As soon as it has cooked, pour the marzipan on a large plate and spread it out a little and leave it to cool down a little. Knead it to a dough while it is still warm.
- Portion and colour the marzipan as desired.
- You can now shape the marzipan as needed or use it in any recipe that calls for it.
- If you making little shapes with the marzipan, once you de-mould it, place it on a plate and leave it to air dry for a while till it sets and is slightly firm to the touch. You can then place it in an airtight container and store. This should last you a couple of weeks if stored well.
- If the temperature is too high where you are, consider refrigerating it till needed.
- Cooking times can vary greatly. This depends on the size and thickness of the vessel used to cook the marzipan, the heat level used during the cooking process and the quantity being made. Please refer to the video, for my recommended water-test to check if your marzipan is ready.
- The prep and cook time does not include the time required for this to cool down and mould into shapes. This time depends on your climate and the designs you are working with.
- These marzipan can be served immediately after shaping. To store, please allow a couple of hours for the pieces to set after they are taken out of the moulds.
Chocolate Hazelnut Fudge
Most Goan Sweet recipes are a labor of love and usually require either hours of stirring on the stovetop or take hours to shape and form. And while I love them all and make most of them every year, I love having recipes like this Chocolate Hazelnut Fudge on hand. This recipe is a great one to have on hand. It uses just 4 ingredients and the cooking time is just a few minutes. And, after leaving it to set in the fridge for a few hours, you end up with a super delicious, decadent chocolate fudge. This time around, I’m using hazelnuts in the fudge and I’m happy to report that this fudge tastes very similar to the Ferrero Rocher chocolates you find in the shops, albeit, without the wafer. You can customize this fudge to suit your liking by swapping hazelnuts for any nuts that you prefer.
Chocolate Hazelnut Fudge
350g dark chocolate
1 tin condensed milk (we get 395g tins here)
Line a 9 inch square baking tray with some foil, leaving a little overhang on the sides and set aside.
Lightly roast the hazelnuts. Carefully remove any pieces of skin / peel that may have been left on. Let the nuts cool down completely.
Roughly chop the nuts or place them in a ziplock back and crush the nuts with a rolling pin. You will be left with a rough chop.
Add the butter, condensed milk and chocolate pieces to a heavy bottomed pan. Stir over medium heat till the chocolate has melted and everything in the pan has combined to form a rich, luscious mix.
Add the hazelnuts and stir through to incorporate well. You will notice the mix starting to thicken.
Quickly pour into the foil lined tray. Leave it on the countertop to cool down a little. Once it comes to room temperature, pop the tray into the fridge and leave it to set for 4-6 hours or overnight.
Carefully peel back the foil. Cut the fudge into squares and serve.
If you’re not serving this up immediately, place in an airtight container and refrigerate till needed.
Let’s talk about the dough for a bit. It is such a ridiculously simple recipe, you will be surprised at how tasty the nankatais turn out. I find that this dough can be a little finicky and it usually works beautifully on a slightly warm day. While that works beautifully for us in Australia and anyone in the Southern Hemisphere, it could be a challenge in the Northern Hemisphere, where its the middle of winter. If its cold where you are, you might find that the dough ends up a little crumbly and you may have a little difficulty shaping it into a cookie. When that happens, I pop the dough in an ovensafe bowl and pop it into a slightly warm oven (about 100 degrees) for a couple of minutes. This helps the ghee warm up and helps bind the dough.
Yields: 1/2 kilo (approx 30 cookies)
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup besan (chickpea flour)
1 cup sugar (superfine. You can also powder larger grain sugar and then use it in the recipe)
2/3 cup of ghee (clarified butter)
1/4 tsp baking soda
Preheat your oven to 180 deg. Celsius and line a baking tray with some baking / parchment paper.
Mix the ghee and sugar till it is light and creamy. Scrape down the edges and bottom of the mixing bowl halfway through the process.
Add the rest of the ingredients (baking soda, all purpose flour and chickpea flour) to the mixing bowl and continue mixing till it forms a dough.
Shape into little cookies by rolling portions of the dough into a little ball and flatten it slightly. Place the cookies on the lined baking tray.
Bake for 12-15 minutes or till done. Your looking for a light colour on the edges.
Take it out of the oven and leave the cookies to cool on the tray itself.
When completely cool, store in an airtight container.
You can watch the video recipe here –
Vanilla Sponge Cake
If you’re someone who wants to learn how to bake, this is a great place to start. I’ve actually filmed the recipe too and I’ve included some of my tips and tricks to help out novice bakers. I will link the video at the end of this post.
Vanilla Sponge Cake
250g butter, at room temperature
250g sugar (Use either a really fine grain or powder your sugar in a dry grinder before using)
250 all purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla extract / vanilla bean paste
1 tsp baking powder
Preheat your oven to 180ºC and line the base of your cake tin and grease the base and the sides and set aside.
Separate the eggs.
Whisk the egg whites to stiff peak stage and set aside.
In a large mixing bow, beat the butter, sugar, egg yolks and vanilla till light and creamy.
Mix the flour and baking powder.
Sift the flour mix into the butter and sugar mix in 3 stages, folding the flour into the batter only until just incorporated, with each addition.
Add a couple of scoops of the stiff egg whites to the cake batter and gently mix to loosen the batter. Gently fold the rest of the egg whites into the batter till it is well incorporated.
Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for 30 minutes or till a cake pierced through the center of the cake comes out clean.
Let the cake cool down in the cake tin. When it has reached room temperature, carefully take it out of the tin.
You can now use this cake in any recipe that calls for a vanilla sponge cake or serve it as it is.
Dodol – The quick and easy way
Goa, renowned for its beautiful beaches and people is an idyllic getaway for many. Every school holiday meant a trip to Goa to spend time with family. Along with beautiful weather and some of the most amazing produce, what I enjoy most are the traditional Goan sweets. Since moving from Bombay, these sweets are no longer within easy reach for me. So over the last few years, I’ve done the next best thing – learn to make them myself. A lot of these sweets make an appearance on the Goan Christmas platter also called Kuswar (pronounced koos-wahr). So far, I’ve had brilliant luck with quite a few and I will list them along with links to their recipes at the end of this post. I’m hoping to get a few more of them up earlier this year. So check back soon.
Today, after a long wait, I’m happy to share with you a recipe for Dodol. Dodol is almost a jelly like sweet made using Goa Jaggery, coconut and rice. Traditionally made, it is a very labor intensive recipe, but the results are so worth it. You use coconuts, freshly grated and juice extracted, the rice roasted and ground and after the jaggery is added you cook it long and slow, stirring continuously. Unfortunately for me, I don’t have access to Goa Jaggery in Sydney. But I was told that I could use Molasses instead. So on my last grocery shop, I picked up a bottle of Molasses. I decided I was going to try a few short cuts to cut down on time involved and used rice flour and a can of coconut cream. I’m happy to report that the whole prep and cooking process that usually takes hours, took be about half an hour from start to finish. The hardest part was leaving it overnight to set. You may not need to leave it that long, but I made the dodol in the evening and it was too warm to cut into after dinner.
But when I did cut into it, it was soft and delicious, just like I remember. I would recommend refrigerating it for a while before serving. It cuts a lot easier when cold. So if you’ve been putting of making Dodol because you can’t find jaggery, go get some molasses and get making. When adding the molasses, don’t go by the color of the mix, but taste for sweetness.
1 1/2 cup rice flour
1 can (400ml) coconut cream
3 tbsp roughly chopped cashew nuts
1 tsp ghee to grease the loaf tin and knife
Water, as needed
Grease a loaf tin with a little ghee and keep aside.
In a large pan (I use the 12″ Kitchenaid Stainless steel skillet) measure out the rice flour. Add enough water and make a batter (almost like a thick pancake batter). I use a whisk for this as it mixes the flour well without any lumps.
Pour in the coconut cream and whisk till dissolved.
Add the molasses and stir.
Now, place the mix on a medium heat and let it cook, stirring continuously.
When it starts thickening, drop the heat to low and continue stirring. I find that you may still find lumps in the mix even inspite of stirring. Use a whisk and break them up. It returns to a smooth consistency very quickly. I had to do this about 3 times.
As it thickens, it gets harder to stir. Add the chopped cashew nuts and keep stirring.
After about 20 minutes, here’s what my mix looked like.
Continue cooking till the mixture starts leaving the sides of pan and looks a little glossy. I cooked the mix down for about another 5 minutes, stirring continuously.
At this stage, you need to work quickly. Pour into the greased loaf tin and flatten it down using the back of a spoon or a spatula.
Leave to set and cool completely. Once it has cooled you can either refrigerate it for later use or demould it to serve. To demould, just place a plate, slightly larger in size than the loaf tin, on top and tip the tin over the plate. A slight shake of the tin and plate should be enough to loosen the dodol and let prop it on the plate.
Slice and serve.
Pin now and try later.
Other Goan sweets and Kuswar –
Perad / Guava Cheese (using canned guavas)
Perad / Guava Cheese (using fresh guavas)