Saturday, July 19, 2014

Apple Foster Shortcakes | Baking Partners July

I love making short cakes. Or atleast I enjoyed making and consuming when I made my strawberry short (cup) cakes. I don't know much about the technicalities whether it is  perfectly turned out with this much width,diameter, height etc.The prep definitely takes less time and everything can be done under an hour or in other words you can fit these into your schedule which has a workout and badminton session and small small routine daily chores before your kid comes back from school @ 3.

So this time during the Baking Partners challenge short cakes were chosen by Reeni & Swathi I was more than happy and thought of a twist with apples which I had in hand rather than berries.The risk definitely paid off and I enjoyed the easy eggless short cakes adapted from KingArthur Flour, with caramelized apple in foster sauce. Now foster sauce is usually alcoholic and paired with bananas. But me being me went for a simpler apple version I found here.As usual I halved the recipe.

All Purpose Flour: 14 tbsp
Cornstarch: 2 tbsp

Salt: 3/8 tsp = 1/4 + 1/8 tsp
Baking Powder: 1.5 tsp
Sugar: 1-2 tsp (I went for 2)

Cream: 1/2 cup - 10 tbsp

Melted Butter: 1 tbsp

Coarse Sugar: to topping

Sift together flours, salt, baking powder and 2 tsp of sugar. You can use 1 cup of pastry flour against the mixed flours. I used the substitute mentioned in the recipe.

Add enough heavy cream to moisten the dough. I used 25% Amul cream and it worked well.

Turn the dough into a lightly floured surface and pat it into a 4" circle about 3/4" thick.Using a 2.5" biscuit cuter cut into rounds. Combine the scraps and roll out again until you get 5 rounds.

Dip these into melted butter and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with coarse sugar.

Bake in a preheated oven at 210 C or 425F for 15-20 minutes or until puffy and golden brown. Take out and cool for a bit while you make the foster sauce.

Apple Foster:
Apples: 1 atleast Peeled and sliced.

Unsalted Butter: 2 tbsp

Demerara/ Brown Sugar: 2-4 tbsp based on sweetness preferred
Cinnamon: 1/4 tsp
Salt: very small pinch (Omit if using salted butter)

Cornstarch: 1/4 tsp heaped
Water Or Apple juice: 4 tbsp

Melt Butter in a pan and saute apple slices in it. Cook until fork tender for a few minutes. Add the sugar,cinnamon  and salt and cook until the sugar starts melting for another minute. Mix together water/juice with corn starch and add into this. Cook stirring until thickened for few more minutes. Take off heat and cool which might thicken it more.

Apple Short Cake:

Split each shortcake horizontally. Place  one half / bottom on the serving plate. Top with apple slices and little liquid/sauce onto the cake. Top with the other half and serve topped with whipped cream/ icecream. Drizzle sauce atop the cream before serving.

Delicious and yummy Apple Foster Short cake is ready to serve. Dig on.. BTW Lets see who all enjoyed their yummy shortcake challenge

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Pasta Trapanese | Sicilian style Pesto Pasta

I always thought that pesto is green in colour.So actually our chutney is Indian Pesto and we could definitely try chutney pasta ?!. And like there are different types of chutneys/ sauces there can be different pestos some with  different colours as well. I suppose anything pounded into a paste and seasoned accordingly to be used as a sauce/spread or dip can be called pesto. After all the word pesto came from Italian "Pestare" which means 'to pound' . 

The one I tried and loved is different  in colour and coming from Trapani in Sicily, Italy. Pesto Trapanese is slightly red in colour thanks to the presence or hint of tomatoes, and uses almonds instead of the traditional pine nuts. Here also there are several variations but the one I went for was Jamie Olivers recipe with addition of chilli flakes added to the pesto courtesy Lidia Bastianich. After all pesto is from Italy.

Pasta : for serving 2 atleast

Almonds: 4-5 tbsp
Garlic: 1 small clove
Fresh Basil: large handfuls
Fresh Parmesan Cheese: 2-4 tbsp as per taste
Tomatoes: 2-3 big tomatoes (I used a mix of mostly yellow and red cherry/big tomatoes)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil: 2 tbsp +
Salt & Pepper : as per taste


Lightly toast almonds and keep aside. You can blanch these if you like. I have seen few versions with blanched almonds. I used almonds with the skins intact.

Powder the almonds first in the blender and then add garlic,basil, salt , pepper and cheese to it. Adding olive oil whizz this into a fine paste. Add the tomatoes and give a final blend. You can go for a coarse consistency. But I went for a slightly finer one. 

Prepare the pasta -penne or spaghetti as per instructions. Toss the hot pasta and pesto together. Adjust the seasonings and serve as a meal garnished with chilli flakes or basil as desired.

A simple recipe yet it has nuts herbs and right amount of fats. I have used the cheese and oil to a minimum and more basil. Also while googling one view I read advocated for smaller quantity of tomatoes. So mine is not red in colour as seen in other places and I also used yellow tomatoes along with red ones. The pasta is quiet healthy if you are using whole grain or  whole wheat pasta.

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