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 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.


  1. Yum! I never know what to make for dessert because I am not a big dessert fan nor am I good at making them. This sounds perfect.

  2. wow I love this and you do make it seem very easy lol

  3. I like to read your stories. Interesting dessert, looks like a flan but is really not, could be the Indian and lighter version of panna cotta, not really since there is no cream...very interesting, you got me intrigued. The good part is that you don't need a lot of ingredients besides from the fruit toppings! Looks great!

  4. This looks so light and refreshing....perfect for a summer dessert.

  5. yes, it definitely resembles a panna cotta, though more dense with the texture of a flan. The great thing is all you really need is a can of sweetened condensed milk and some yogurt.

  6. Oh wow...that's an delectable dessert.....



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