Sunday, August 26, 2012

Peach and Cherry Crumb Bars

I ate my very first crumb bar from a famous coffee house and needless to say I was extremely disappointed. The filling was hardly there, the biscuit was nothing to write home about.

 Then I started seeing these Peach  crumb bars all over the Internet (August is National Peach Month) and my interest was piqued. Surely, there must be something good abut them if so many bloggers have written about it. I also had three luscious peaches sitting in my fruit basket along with some plump cherries. I gathered my supplies and baked these gorgeous bars which are tart and sweet and so good when warm I must have eaten three pieces straight from the pan (maybe more, my mind is blank).

I halved the original recipe and made them in a smaller pan because it's only the two of us. You can make the original recipe with any fruit like blackberries, raspberries etc.

Recipe Source - Adapted from Annie's Eats

For The Biscuit base
1 1/2 C All Purpose Flour
1/2 C Sugar
1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
A Pinch of Salt
1 Tsp Lemon Zest
8 Tbsp (1/2 C/113 Gms) Cold Unsalted Butter
1 Large Egg Yolk

For The Filling
1 Cup Peeled and Chopped Peaches (I got this from 3 peaches)
1 Cup Pitted and Chopped Cherries (About 250 Gms)
2 1/2 Tsp Cornflour (Cornstarch)
1/3 C Sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 175 Degree C or 350 Degree F. Grease a 6X10 baking pan.
2. In a medium bowl, add all the filling ingredients and mix gently. Keep aside.
3. Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and lemon zest in a bowl, stir with a whisk.
4. Add the butter and egg yolk. Cut into the flour using a pastry cutter or folk till you get pea sized crumbles. No loose flour must remain.
5. Press half the dough lightly into the bottom of the baking pan.
6. Add the filling mixture. (If there is too much liquid use a slotted spoon and leave out the liquid.)
7. Crumble the remaining dough on top.
8. Bake for 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Cool Completely before cutting.

P.S - The excess liquid from the filling can be thickened in the microwave or stove top and used as a topping, Yum!

Happy Eating!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

White Chocolate, Pudding and Pistachio Cake

Eid Mubarak everyone!  I know I am three days too late but better late than never right?

Well, I will make it up to you by telling you how to make this cake. Coz this cake is what you need to make right now. This was our dessert on eid day and I was really worried about how all the components would work together. Turns out, there was no need to worry as it was fabulous.

Now, I took some shortcuts and used a box mix for the cake and filling because I was fasting and did not have the patience to make everything from scratch. But if you do go that route I am sure it'll only taste even more fantastic. I wanted to do a tuxedo effect on the top because I had seen it before on Annie's Eats and loved it. A previous attempt had turned into a disaster so I was very careful this time and almost nailed it. Because the cake was cold the ganache would firm up on top itself and not actually pour down the sides. Next time I'll bring the cake to room temperature before pouring the ganache.

There are four parts to this cake: Cake, Filling, Frosting and Topping. The cake and filling can be made one or two days ahead and stored in the fridge but the frosting and topping are better made the same day of assembly.


For The Cake
1 Box (500 gms) White Cake mix with egg whites, water and oil called for on the box
For The Filling
1 Packet (4 serve) Vanilla Jello Instant Pudding and Pie filling with milk called for on the box
For The White Chocolate Whipped Cream
113 Grams / 4 ounce White Chocolate (Use a good quality, I used Lindt)
1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream (Chilled)
For The Topping (Ganache) - From Annie's Eats
56 Grams/2 Ounce Semi Sweet Chocolate (I used Lindt)
1/4 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
2 Tbsp Light Corn Syrup
1 Tsp Vanilla Essence

100 Grams Toasted Pistachios (Hulled and Roughly chopped)

Make The Cake
Prepare and Bake the cake as directed on the back of the box in three 7 inch pans. Cool completely and cover with plastic wrap till required.

Make the Filling
While the cake is baking, Prepare the pudding according to the instructions on the jello pudding box. Cover and refrigerate until required.

Make the Frosting
1. Place the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl and melt on a double boiler or in the microwave.
2. Place 1/4 cup of the heavy cream in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer.
3. Immediately add the cream to the melted chocolate and mix very well. Keep aside to cool completely.
4. Place the remaining 3/4 Cup cream in the bowl of your stand mixer and whip till soft peaks form.
5. Add the white chocolate cream mixture (it should be completely cooled) to the stand mixer and whip till it holds firm peaks. Be very careful not to over beat.
6. Cover the bowl (I used the bowl of my stand mixer itself, you can transfer to another bowl if you like washing dishes) with plastic wrap touching the surface of the cream. Refrigerate for two hours.

Make the Ganache
1. Break the chocolate to small pieces and place in a bowl.
2. Bring the cream to a boil and pour over the chocolate. Let it sit for a minute then stir completely.
3. Add the corn syrup and vanilla. Mix well.
4. Keep aside to thicken, meanwhile start assembling your cake. (If you take a long time to assemble a cake then make the ganache after the cake is assembled)

Assemble The Cake
1. Level the tops of all the cake layers. Dab a smear of the frosting on a cake board and place one layer bottom side up on the board.
2. Add half the pudding filling on the cake and spread evenly. Do not spread till the edges.
3. Add 1/4 C of the chopped pistachio pieces.
4. Repeat with a second layer of cake, pudding and pistachios.
5. Place the last layer and do a crumb coat with the frosting. Place in the fridge till it sets.
6. Remove from fridge and frost completely.
7. Pour the ganache slowly over the middle of the cake giving it time to gently drip of the sides. If it sets spread gently with an angled spatula.
8. Garnish the top with pistachios. Place in fridge till cake is set. Store leftovers (If any) in the fridge.

Happy Eating!!