Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Show Stopper Dessert, Made Easy


Rumor has it that the great actor Edmund Keanes' last words were "Dying is easy, comedy is hard". The same might be said of the desserts after an Indian meal to the uninitiated. What to throw down after chicken biryani, or a mangalorean pork curry....not your mamas' chocolate cake. That's for sure.
Composing a dinner properly is one of the basics of good cooking. A nice balance of dishes, tastes and textures makes for a memorable meal. To those used to western style dishes, what to serve after an Indian feast can seem confusing.
Anyone who's ever dined at an Indian restaurant knows that Indians are no slouches in the dessert department. Burfi, gulab jamun, rasgullas, kheer, I could go on and on. Of course one might get simple and serve some fresh tropical fruit..or a cleansing rosewater sorbet. But, what to serve that doesn't involve ice, or deep frying, which face it is not how I like to top off an evening with friends.
I've mentioned Atul Kochhar aMichelin starred Indian chef. He has a dessert which is a real show stopper and simple to fix in the extreme. In fact, I'm making some now, while I'm typing, and doing laundry..so there.
It's called Baked Yogurt..sounds simple right? It is!
His original recipe calls for figs in syrup as a topping, but I've adapted it to use our fresh plentiful Sonoma Blackberries..that is if I can get to them before the deer do.

In a mixing bowl whisk together
!.) 1 cup of sweetened condensed milk
2.) 1 cup of thick plain yogurt

3.) a pinch of ground cardamom


4.) 1 1/2 Tbs. finely chopped unroasted , unsalted, raw pistachio nuts
5.) 1/1/2 Tbs. of golden sultana raisins soaked in warm water for 10 minutes then pressed dry.

Pour this mixture into 6 small ramekins each lined with a cupcake paper


Place the filled ramekins in a baking dish filled with warm water. the water should come up about half way on the ramekins.



slide the baking dish with the ramekins into the oven.
Bake for about 45 minutes or till they set. These are in effect a sort of custard.
Take the ramekins out. let cool.
Unmold each of them on a separate dessert plate. Peel off the cupcake papers.
Drizzle each with your blackberry topping and serve.





Blackberry Topping
In a heavy bottomed pot mix:
1.) 1 1/4 cups of water
2.) 2 Tbs. of sugar
3.) the grated zest of 1 lemon
4.) 1 tsp. of lemon juice
5.) a pinch of cardamom
6.) 2 peppercorns
Bring this mixture to a boil. Let it boil for 2 minutes


7.) add a small basket of blackberries and turn the heat to low. Let the blackberries simmer for 10 minutes.
8.) Take the pan off the heat and let the berries cool in the syrup then spoon over the unmolded yougurts.

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