Friday, February 26, 2010

Light and Creamy Apple Kheer, Queen of Puddings!


Ok, so maybe it's not the Queen of Puddings, but it sounded really good to me. Especially since I cooked it yesterday while waiting for the new Queen of the Ice Yu-Nah Kim to win Olympic gold.

I must confess, I love watching the Winter Olympics. The Summer Games aren't as interesting to me, mainly because I have actually participated in winter sports. Believe it or not, I started out as a figure skater. My mother was on the figure skating team at school and she first put me on skates when I was about 5 years old.  She sent me to Harris Legg and amazingly, poor little unathletic me took to the sport. While the other kids were sliding around on their butts,  I, Miss- Last- One- Picked- For- Every- Team, was gliding along doing pirouettes. It was the only sport I have ever shown an aptitude for (ask me about tennis sometime, go ahead ask me!) and I loved it. There is no "last one picked" for figure skating. There are no balls to bounce off one's head; there is just the cold unforgiving ice. When I was in my late teens I started downhill skiing and also did pretty well with that. Then just as suddenly as I started, I stopped. No more skating, no more skiing. I started running and writing and cooking. But even though the closest I've been to ice since then has been my fridge, I still have a weakness for all the winter sports. It's the one Olympics that actually makes me feel like an athlete!
  Naturally I've been waiting the last week and a half for the ladies figure skating finals. I wanted to plop down in front of the TV and just enjoy. Of course while enjoying I had to have a treat.
  I wanted something light, airy, but with a twist. I wanted  the triple lutz triple toe loop of desserts.  I also wanted to work with what I had in the house, lazy slug that I am.
  I had milk, I had apples and a whole lot of Indian spices.  I decided to make a Kashmiri Apple Pudding, better known as Apple Kheer.
  There are a lot of recipes for this dish out there. Most of them basically the same with a few slight alterations according to ones' taste, and in my case, what happened to  be on hand.
I started out with 2 lbs of apples. Granny smith apples to be exact. they're a crisp semi- tart green apple which cook up great . Peeled, core and dice the apples and put them in a kadhai or pot with:
1.) 1 cup of sugar
2.) 2 cups of water
3.) 1 two inch piece of cinnamon stick
  Put the apples on a medium heat and simmer them for about 10 minutes or until they're just this side of soft. They shouldn't be too mushy,  they should still maintain their shape.

 In a separate clay pot or other deep vessel put
4.) 6 cups of whole milk
  Bring the milk to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer well for about 1 hour. Check in every now and again and give it a nice stir with a wooden spoon. In an hour, the milk will have reduced down to about 2 cups.

  In a separate bowl soak 1 tsp of toasted crumbled saffron in 2 Tbs of warm  milk.
  Add this mixture to the clay pot of boiled down milk along with
5.) 1/2 cup of sugar
6.) 1 tsp of ground cardamom

  Stir it all well. Add in the apple mixture and keep stirring till it's warmed through.
  Take the pudding off the fire and add in
7.) 1 tsp of rose water
   Give it another good stir then
   Transfer the pudding to a metal bowl and chill it in the fridge for several hours.
  I served it with a few mint leaves  and a bit of sirkhand flavored with saffron and sugar. I should have also sprinkled some chopped fresh pistachios on top but the skaters were coming on and I also forgot. I bet it would have been good though. Oh well, maybe next time.

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