Profiteroles

A couple of months ago, I went on a quest to find an Eclair, or its younger, stubbier siblings – profiteroles on Zomato as our choice of dessert that evening. I don’t know if it was the diet that I was on, or if I just wasn’t interested in eating an Eclair that night, but I couldn’t find a single place delivering this cream filled dessert, so instead, we settled for tiny squares of Pineapple Pastry and Banana Bread.

I grew up with an unlimited sugar supply from the bakery of India International Center. There’s something about old school bakeries, the unapologetic thick layer of egg wash on every single thing – from bread sticks to hot cross buns accompanied by the intoxicating smell of fresh breads. I remember waiting outside the lounge and drooling at the sight of every single baked good on display by the stairs that led up to the Main Dining Room. The manager always recognised me (I am still the weirdo who asks for cheeni on the side with Indian food. More on this later, if at all :)) and helped me to my order of Eclairs. Many many years later, they did turn all posh and started offering Profiteroles with the most legendary vanilla ice cream in the Main Dining Hall – but it was the Eclairs, which were a cult classic.

I tried recreating that Eclair craving from a few months ago. Perhaps I tried recreating a childhood memory of comfort; when you didn’t have a watch reminding you that you’re behind on your workout today or when you didn’t have to back calculate every single calorie. Who am I?

The choux pasty recipe has been adapted from Dominique Ansel’s version. He’s one of my favourite pastry chefs and has recently released a book called ‘Everyone can bake’. Although the book is very informative about baking basics and techniques, I found it a little too simple for someone who bakes over the weekend not only to eat but also to improve her skill set. The choux pastry, once cooled completely, was filled with a lightly sweetened mascarpone cream and topped with a smear of dark chocolate.

For the uninitiated, Choux pastry is an enriched egg-based dough which is baked into, pardon my French, Golgappa like hollow rounds, and can be filled with anything from pastry cream to lemon curd. The next time I make this, I’m going to try making a lemon and coconut profiterole or raspberry cream cheese or tiramisu or maybe even a savoury one with ghee roast chicken.

This recipe is pretty foolproof, but read it thoroughly and don’t miss the important tips. The pastry was hollow from the inside and airy. Crisp on the outside with a good bite to it, if you know what I mean? The mascarpone cream is what my British dream of clotted cream is made of. The dark chocolate well, is classic. I wouldn’t recommend Milk because it’s too sweet and also because man you want dark chocolate. Milk chocolate is for Lays Magic Masala (yes).

To make the Profiteroles, here’s what you need:

Choux Pastry (Makes 25)

75g Water

70g Whole Milk

75g Butter (I use salted)

2gm Salt (About 1/2 Teaspoon, add this only if you’re using unsalted butter, else leave it out)

3gm Sugar (Heaped 1/2 Teaspoon will work)

100g Flour

3-4 Eggs (about 150g, whisked)

1 Egg + 1 Tbsp Cream for an Egg Wash

Mascarpone Cream

200g Mascarpone Cheese

200g Heavy Whipping Cream (chilled thoroughly)

2 Tbsp Icing Sugar

Dark Chocolate Ganache

75g Dark Chocolate (chopped)

50g Heavy Cream

You’ll also need a piping bag to pipe the dough rounds. You’ll need a whisk and a large bowl to combine the eggs with the dough. You’ll also need a lot of arm strength if you don’t have a hand / stand mixer (But hey, if Gordon Ramsay can do it, you can do it!). Yeah I think that’s about it. Easy right? Whisk you’ll have, and you can literally make a piping bag out of Ziplock. No excuses.

Here’s what you need to do:

For the Choux Pastry

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees, top and bottom heating on. Line a baking tray with parchment. You want to pipe the choux pastry in 4cm wide rounds and about 3 cm apart. Draw circles if you’re OCD about these things.

In a saucepan, place water, milk, butter, sugar and salt (again, only if you’re using unsalted butter) and bring to a light simmer over medium heat. Once the mix begins to boil, tumble in the flour and stir with a spatula. The idea here is to cook out the flour and some of the moisture from the dough. As you stir, you’ll notice theres a film of dough beginning to form at the bottom of the pan. That’s a good thing. You want to stir until there is an even film at the bottom of the pan (Not burnt!, keep the heat on medium low). This entire process should take 5 minutes. The step by step pictures are on my Instagram highlights (@ananyagee). Take it off the heat.

Now dump your dough in a bowl (of your stand mixer if you have it). Whisk on low speed for 5 mins till some of the steam escapes for the hot mass of cooked out flour. Begin to add the eggs, one at a time. You want to make sure the eggs are fully incorporated after every addition. So only add the next egg once you’re ready.

You’ll add 150 grams of eggs (3 to 4 eggs). The outside of the bowl should be hot to the touch, but bearable. Once the dough comes together fully (if you lift a blob of dough with your whisk, it should fall down slowly in ribbons) transfer to a piping bag.

Holding the piping bag at a 90-degree angle about 1.25 cm above the prepared baking sheet, pipe rounds of choux dough about 4 cm in diameter, spacing them about 3 cm apart. Smooth/flatten the pointed tips of the rounds with your fingers.

Brush with egg wash and bake for 20-25 minutes. The top should be golden brown.

Let the Choux out and cool completely at room temperature.

For the Mascarpone Cream

In a bowl, whisk and soften the cheese for a few minutes. Add the icing sugar and stir until it’s well incorporated. Lastly, add in the heavy whipping cream, which should be super cold. If necessary, pop this entire bowl in the freezer for a couple of minutes before whisking it. Once cold, whisky it with a hand mixer till it comes together in a pipe-able mass which can hold its shape. Fill in a piping bag.

Chocolate Ganache

Place the chopped chocolate chunks in a bowl. Heat the cream on medium heat until it’s lightly simmering. Take it off the heat and pour over the chocolate. Let it sit for a minute and stir till all the chocolate melts in the residual heat of the cream – you should have a spreadable ganache. If the consistency is too thin / thick add more chocolate / cream to fix it.

Assembly

Take a choux bun and with the help of a pointy object, like a knitting needle or even a sharp knife, make a hole / slit wide enough for your piping tip to fit through to fill the bun. Pipe the cream in till it Profiterole almost bursts 🙂

Once all the buns are filled, place them in the freezer for 15 mins, so that they become easier to handle. After 15 minutes, spread the chocolate ganache on the Profiteroles with the back of a spoon. Place it back in the fridge and eat cold 😀

Two Ingredient Chocolate Mousse

This recipe defied everything that I thought I knew about chocolate. I’m a food snob, having watched and re-watched every single episode of every single season of Masterchef Australia, I am a self proclaimed food encyclopaedia. I was under the impression that chocolate and water are enemies – especially while melting chocolate – I thought that if even a single droplet of water falls into melted chocolate – it will seize. Apparently not, well at least not in this science defying recipe.

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Two ingredients, that’s all its going to take for you to whip up a delicious tasting mousse , which you can top with flakey sea salt and any fresh berries – if you have them at the bottom of your fridge somewhere.

I saw this recipe first in New York Times Cooking – and thats when I knew I had to try it. It’s super simple and a brilliant lockdown recipe – because assuming you have water and are surviving – its actually a one ingredient mousse!

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Here’s what you need:

  • 250gm of chocolate – chopped
  • 225ml of water
  • Flakey sea salt

Here’s what you need to do:

Prepare an ice bath – Fill a large bowl with ice cubes and chilled water. On top of the cold water, place another bowl (for you to make your mousse in).

On a medium flame, place a heavy bottomed pan and transfer the chopped chocolate in. Pour in the 225ml of water and begin stirring with a whisk. You don’t need to whisk furiously – just until everything is melted and comes together, 3 to 5 minutes.

Once both the ingredients have come together, transfer to the bowl floating in the ice bath and WHISK like you mean it. You’ll have to whisk for about 5 to 8 minutes. You want to quickly bring down the temperature of the chocolate mix and incorporate air into the soon to be chocolate cloud. When the chocolate begins to look mousse-like, transfer to a bowl and top with flakey salt. Simple. Now you may eat.

Intervention: In case your ice melts, and the bowl isn’t cold anymore and therefore, the chocolate is not becoming fluffy. Pop the chocolate bowl in the freezer for five minutes, refresh the ice bath with chilled water and more ice cubes and give it another go – it’s going to come together I promise.

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Fudgey Brownies

All you need is love and a brownie ♥

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I never thought I’d be emotionally and mentally equipped to handle protests, riots, crashing stock indices and a pandemic – all at the same time. Growing up with an elder sibling meant watching movies not meant for a child of my age. So, I grew up scared of zombies, murderers, riots, and basically any kind of violence. I’m the kind of person that likes to avoid awkward confrontation and would run different arguments in my head before even asking for something. And now, here I am in 2020, picking fights with friends and family on the topics of NRC, CAA, nationalism, public healthcare, liberalism and capitalism.

I’m not a socialist. But I do try to be a responsible citizen and a decent human being. An empathetic human being. I can imagine your confusion – where do brownies fit into all of this?

Well, I’m on day 2 of my social isolation today and couldn’t get myself to binge watch junk on Netflix. So instead, I brought out my paint box (filled with dust bunnies),  unscrewed jammed acrylic paint tubes and began painting after what felt like years. But as with most creative things, you can’t rush the process so eventually after a couple of hours I had to stop, and focus on my next creative outlet – which is why I am here.

If you’re at home (which I am hoping most of you are), let’s make the most of this terrible confusing time and do something which makes us – all in all, better, happier people.

I don’t know about being better people, but whats going to make you happier? These fuuuuudgey brownies, which according to my boss,  who in between meetings paused to say were ‘F**KING BETTER THAN THEOBROMA!“.


I’m just a girl, sitting on her recliner, asking strangers on the internet to just add a little more sweetness to their lives and bake these brownies. Please?

 

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Here’s what you need:

  • 120g semi-sweet chocolate (melted) – 20 second intervals in the microwave
  • 100g semi-sweet chocolate – chopped into one inch sized chunks
  • 220g butter (also, melted) – 20 second intervals in the microwave
  • 175g white caster sugar
  • 75g brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 95g flour
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp flakey salt

Here’s what you need to do:

I highly recommend a hand mixer for this recipe. But since most gyms are closed, feel free to take out a hand whisk and get a workout in 🙂

Prepare a 9″ pan – line with parchment paper and grease with butter. Preheat the oven at 180 degrees.

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder and salt.

In a large mixing bowl, pour the melted butter and top with the two sugars. Mix until light and pale, till you can’t see individual granules of sugar. Crack in the eggs, one at a time. Now, this is the time to really get that workout in, show off those arm muscles. You want to mix this till everything is glossy, very light in color and you can see an increase in volume. Why? Because want to mix the eggs till they almost double in  volume for that beautiful cracked top on brownies which make them look oh so attractive. Trickle in the vanilla extract and stir.

Pour in the melted chocolate in a single stream. Gently, using a whisk, stir the chocolate and mix until everything resembles something so chocolately and sweet that you want to put your face in it 😀

Topple the sifted dry mix on top of the eggy-melted chocolate goodness and mix until you don’t see any dry lumps of flour. You don’t want to over work the flour – it will activate the gluten and make the brownies cakey  – and we don’t want that. We want these to be gloriously fudgey and gooey.

Top the batter with the chopped chocolate chunks, mix just until folded through and transfer the batter to the prepared pan.

Bake for 25-30 mins until the top of the brownies is glossy and wrinkly, and you can’t see any uncooked batter from the top.

Wait for the brownies to cool before cutting them – I didn’t. But that’s also cause I have zero patience in life and I’m all about instant gratification. :/


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Coffee Cake with Chocolate Ganache Frosting

This Coffee Cake with Chocolate Ganache is the latest addition to my list of comfort desserts.

It’s a guilt-free dessert (if such a thing exists!). It’s not guilt-free cause it has any less sugar or anything, but it’s just quite light and sinful yet doesn’t make you feel like you’ve committed one, plus, it has almonds and a chocolate frosting and coffee.

This cake came to me at a point in time when I was seriously craving a coffee cake, something on the lines of a tiramisu or a frosted coffee cake (something slightly more richer than this – more like a birthday cake).

A definite crowd pleaser this one!

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Now coming back to how I came across this – The recipe which started this coffee chocolate madness belongs to a lovely lady – Anita. The recipe can be found on her blog. Anita also taught me how to bake sourdoughs (more of this soon! – hopefully). And I knew, that coming from Anita, this recipe is gonna be a hit.

Her recipe can be found here. If you make it – let her know how you liked it!

I made just a couple of changes to her recipe. My slightly tweaked version can be found below.

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Here is what you need:

  1. For the Cake:
  • 1 Cup Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3/4 Cup Butter
  • The original recipe calls for oil – but I really wanted a richer cake – so I used butter instead
  • 1 Tablespoon Coffee Powder (Instant)
  • 4 Tablespoons Milk
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Almonds

2. For the Ganache:

  • 150g Heavy Cream
  • 250g Semi-Sweet Chocolate (Chopped)

What you need to do:

  1. Pre heat the oven to 180DegreesC
  2. Grease and prepare a cake pan – 9″ works but I baked it in a 7″ Bundt pan. In case you’re using a budnt pan – grease with butter and then dust with flour to make sure the cake comes out easily
  3. Sift together flour, salt and baking powder- set aside.
  4. Beat butter and sugar together in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment until pale and fluffy.
  5. Add in the eggs – one after the other, beating well after each addition.
  6. Once the eggs are well incorporated add in the vanilla.
  7. Simultaneously – dissolve the instant coffee powder in the milk and add that in as well.
  8. Toss the chopped almond in the flour mix.
  9. Add the flour and almond mix to the egg batter and fold gently, without over mixing the batter.
  10. Bake for 30-35 Mins until a skewer inserted – comes out clean.

For the Ganache:

  • Heat the cream in a sauce pan just until it begins to simmer around the edges.
  • Pour over the chocolate – let sit for a minute or two and then whisk it till all the chocolate is melted and you have a ganache of spreadable consistency.

To assemble the cake – Slap and slather on the chocolate all over the curves of your bundt cake and eeeeat it guilt-free 🙂

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Raspberry & White Chocolate Blondies

You know whats equally delicious than the fabulous combination of dark chocolate and raspberry? It’s switching the dark chocolate out for it’s much controversial and love/hate pale sibling, white chocolate, which when combined with raspberries is the most glorious thing I have ever tried.

The last time I had posted something on this blog/ universe was a blueberry crumble cake after I had returned from my trip to Jordan. So, I thought it only made sense for me to post a recipe now, inspired by my trip to Paris earlier this year, where I had the most incredible, incredible, incredible ice cream at Berthillon. One scoop of the creamiest white chocolate ice cream, topped with a tart, smooth and bright raspberry sorbet.

Berthillon - Ice Cream
White Chocolate Ice Cream topped with Raspberry Sorbet

Coming back to those blondies, which, if you’ve been living under a rock, are essentially fudgey brownies minus the cocoa. These blondies are fudgey and subtly sweet with bursts of raspberry. The blondies when cooked and perfectly tanned taste so wonderfully caramelised.

Don’t be sceptical about working with white chocolate, buy good quality chocolate and since this isn’t really in your face sweet – it will work out well if its your first affair with white chocolate.

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So wait no more, and just scroll down for these fab fab fab blondies.

What you will need:

150 grams white chocolate – chopped

1 cup all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup butter – at room temperature

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1/3 cup white chocolate chips

1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries

This is what you need to do:

Preheat your oven at 180 degrees.

Butter and line an 8 inch square baking dish.

Melt the chopped white chocolate  in the microwave in bursts of 30 seconds. After every interval stir the chocolate with a spatula to make sure it melts evenly. Set aside to cool slightly.

If you’re using fresh raspberries – skip this step. Else, in a heavy bottom pot, place a cup of frozen berries, and turn the heat to medium. Cook this down until the mixture thickens – about 5 and remove from heat – let it cool.

Sift the flour and salt in a small bowl and set aside.

Using a stand mixer or a hand held electric whisk, beat the butter and brown sugar together until well blended. It doesn’t have to be all whipped and fluffy, but just make sure its blended well and the butter begins to look creamy.

Next, add in the eggs one by one, making sure the first egg is well incorporated before adding the second one, beatttttt it.

Add in the extracts, mix for another 30 seconds, then drizzle in the white chocolate which we had melted. Once mixed, sift in the flour mix with a spatula until just combined.

Toss in the white chocolate chips (and, the fresh raspberries, if you have them!). And transfer the batter to the prepared tin. If you’re using frozen raspberries like me, put the blondie batter in the tin, and then, using a spoon, put blobs of the raspberry compote about one inch a part, and swirl it with a toothpick (or in my case, a stick of uncooked spaghetti :))

Bake it in the oven for about 30 mins – keep an eye on it – once it started to brown slightly from the top, you want to remove it from the oven.

Cool to room temperature, eat it, and then thank me.

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