Sweet Dough Lemon Loaf

I had forgotten how tasty this loaf is until our next door neighbor in the village brought us a whole bunch of juicy lemons from the lemon tree in his garden. Seeing the lemons brought back memories of this lemon loaf that was my first bake from the book Home Sweet Home by Tarek Malouf. I haven’t baked too many cakes from Tarek Malouf’s book yet but I’m sure that if the recipes taste as good as this cake I’ve baked, then I will try more recipes from his book.

Tarek Malouf has a fantastic bakery in London called Hummingbird Bakery. I’ve visited the branch in the Dubai Mall in Dubai and tasted some yummy goodies there.

So here is the recipe.

Sweet Dough Lemon Loaf

Lemon cakes and lemon loaves are too tempting to resist and this one is extra special because it has yeast in it. Eat it fresh. It gets stale if kept too long.

For the dough

  • 75 ml luke warm whole milk
  • 60 ml tepid water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 50 gms caster sugar
  • 2 1/4 tsp dried active yeast
  • 350 gms plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 55 gms unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

For the filling

  • 60 gms unsalted butter
  • 100 gms caster sugar
  • Grated zest of three lemons

For the topping

  • 90 gms full fat cream cheese
  • 40 gms icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp whole milk
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon, plus extra to decorate
  1. Grease the loaf tin and dust with flour.

  2. In a small bowl, mix the warm milk, water, salt, 1 teaspoon of sugar and the dried active yeast. Set aside for 30 minutes or until a foam forms on the surface.

  3. In a large mixing bowl mix the flour and remaining sugar. Make a well in the centre.

  4. Melt the butter in the microwave or in a pan on the stove. When the yeast liquid is ready add the eggs, vanilla extract and melted butter to the yeast mixture.

  5. Pour the liquids into the well of the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula to form a dough. Put the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for approximately 5 minutes or until the dough is smooth.

  6. Place the dough in a lightly floured bowl, cover tightly with cling film and allow to prove in a warm place, for approximately 45 minutes or until the dough doubles in size.

  7. While the dough proves, make the lemon sugar filling. Melt the butter in the microwave or in a pan on the stove. In a medium bowl mix the sugar, lemon zest and melted butter together. Set aside in a warm place so that the butter doesn’t solidify again.

  8. Once the dough has proved remove it from the bowl. Gently knock the dough back. Roll it out on a lightly floured surface until it is 12 x 15 inches. Cut the dough lengthwise into 4 equal strips with a sharp knife.

  9. With a pastry brush coat each strip with the lemon sugar filling. Carefully lift the strips and pile them on top of each other. Cut the pile of strips into 6 equal square stacks. Carefully lift each stack and place it in the loaf tin, cut side facing up. Place each stack next to each other in the tin, packing them to form a loaf.

  10. Wrap the tin in cling film and set aside the dough to rise again for 45 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

  11. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius, 325 degrees Fahrenheit, Gas mark 3, and bake the loaf for approximately 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Keep aside to cool slightly.

  12. To make the lemon cream cheese topping, with a hand held electric whisk or a free standing electric mixer mix the cream cheese and icing sugar until smooth. Add the lemon juice, zest and milk and mix well until smooth.

  13. Once the lemon loaf has cooled slightly, remove it from the tin and top with the lemon topping and lemon zest. Serve warm.

Date And Split Gram Lentils Halwa

It was my birthday the other day and I didn’t want to bake a cake for a change. Actually, I wanted to try out a new recipe that I’d read about in this little book by Nita Mehta called Taste Of Hyderabad.

Ahmedabad is a cauldron in the summers. On my birthday too, the temperature soared. We didn’t feel like stepping out in the sun, so we didn’t eat out, or shop, but instead I cooked a feast for family and friends. I made date and split gram lentils halwa, mango ice cream, paneer kulchas and sambharia, a mouthwatering Gujarati stuffed vegetable dish. Those who have eaten it will vouch for its yummyness and I’ll post its recipe on my blog one of these days. But first, the recipe of the delicious halwa.

I’ve adapted this recipe from Nita Mehta’s recipe, as I said. However, I used 500 gms seedless dates instead of 500 gms seeded dates in the recipe and it came out delicious. You may want to adjust the quantity of sugar in the recipe though.

Date And Split Gram Lentils Halwa

This sweet dish tastes delectable. Make it and your guests will drool!

  • 500 gms seedless dates
  • 1 1/2 cups split gram lentils ( channe ki dal)
  • 1 1/2 litres milk
  • 1 1/2 cups clarified butter (ghee)
  • 2 drops screwpine (kewra) essence
  • 15 almonds blanched, peeled and slivered
  • A few pistachios chopped
  • 1 tspn cardamom powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar or to taste
  1. Was the split gram lentils or chaane ki dal and put them in a heavy bottomed pan. Add the milk and once it begins to boil cook on a low flame for about 20 minutes or until the lentils are tender and the milk has dried up. Stir every few minutes to ensure the mixture doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Keep the milk and lentils mixture aside to cool. Grind the mixture to a paste.

  2. Wash the dates and boil in 1/2 cup of water for 5 minutes or until slightly softened. Remove from fire and let cool. Mash the dates with your hands.

  3. Mix the mashed dates with the lentil paste.

  4. Heat the ghee in a clean heavy bottom pan. Add the dates and lentil mixture and fry well. Check for sweetness and add sugar if required.

  5. Add the kewra essence and cardamom powder and stir. Decorate with slivered almonds and chopped pistachios. Serve hot or warm.

Whole-wheat Flour Ladoos

When my 9 year old nephew was younger, he loved watching Chota Bheem (Chota Bheem which literally means little Bheem, is an animated TV series that focuses on the adventures of a boy named Bheem and his friends in the fictional kingdom of Dholakpur. In this series, Bheem and his friends are usually involved in protecting Raja Indravarma, the king of Dholakpur, and his kingdom from various evil forces. Sometimes they also help other kingdoms. It is one of the most popular animated series for children in India- Wikipedia). Chota Bheem loves ladoos and therefore so do all little kids who watch it, I don’t know of a single kid who watches Chota Bheem and doesn’t demand the energy giving ladoos that he eats. My nephew must have ladoos, the owner of the beauty parlor that I go to, her grand daughter must have ladoos too!

So this time I’m posting a recipe of ladoos made from whole-wheat flour that my nephew loves. We make ladoos from many different ingredients in India but atta or whole-wheat flour ladoos are delicious and easy to make.

Ladoos are also served as an offering to Lord Ganesha. He just loves them.

These whole wheat flour ladoos are popular among the Sindhi community in India.

You can buy whole-wheat flour and the other ingredients required to make these ladoos at any Indian store.

Here’s the recipe.

Whole-wheat Flour Ladoos

Kids and adults alike will love this Indian sweet.

  • 1 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup ghee or clarified butter
  • 1/2 cup ground sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped mixed nuts and raisins
  1. Melt ghee in a heavy bottomed pan on a medium flame. Roast the whole-wheat flour in the ghee on a slow flame for about 10 minutes or until it turns golden brown and a nice aroma emanates from it.

  2. Remove from the stove and spread the roasted flour on a tray to cool.

  3. Add the ground sugar and chopped nuts and raisins to the flour, mix well, and make table tennis sized balls with the mixture. You might need to apply some ghee on your hands to make the balls. There you go. The ladoos are ready to eat!

Almond Pudding

This recipe for almond pudding is a middle eastern one, and I got it from Anissa Helou’s book, Sweet Middle East. The pudding is subtly flavored with almonds, and garnished with pistas. It is delicious, to say the least, eaten at room temperature or better still, cold from the refrigerator. And oh! I added regular granulated sugar instead of organic cane sugar to the pudding.

It is a simple pudding to make but I love its fresh, delicate taste. I must admit I had no clue how it would taste before making it, I’d never tried making something like this before, but I was pleasantly surprised when the pudding was ready.

And, here’s an interesting tidbit. This pudding is called Kishk Al-Fuqara in Arabic. Fuqara means poor in Arabic, but as the author herself says, none of the ingredients in this dish are associated with poverty so how the name came about is a mystery.

We’ve all relished a variety of middle eastern savory dishes but the sweets and desserts of this region remain unknown to many of us. Try this dessert at home, whether you’re a novice, cooking expert, traveler, or just a TV food programme addict.

Almond Pudding

Make this delicately flavored almond pudding for an occasion or anytime. Your folks will love it.

  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 60 gms or 3/4 cup almond meal
  • 40 gms or 1/4 cup rice flour or cornstarch
  • 60 gms or 1/3 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • Some slivered or chopped pistachios
  1. Put 3 1/2 cups milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally-watch it toward the end so as not to let it boil over. As it starts to boil add the almond meal. Turn the heat to medium low and let simmer, stirring regularly, until the almond meal has softened, about 10 minutes.

  2. In a small bowl, mix the rice flour or cornstarch with the remaining 1/2 cup milk, stirring until completely smooth. Slowly whisk the starch mixture into the simmering milk and cook, whisking all the time, for about 5 minutes until the mixture has thickened.

  3. Add the sugar and continue whisking until completely dissolved. Taste and adjust the sugar to your liking. Remove from the heat and stir in the almond extract.

  4. Pour the pudding into one large serving bowl or 4 to 6 individual bowls. Let cool. Serve at room temperature garnished with pistachios or refrigerate to serve chilled, garnishing the pudding just before serving.



Peanut Butter Cookies

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Have a fascination for peanuts, peanut butter and cookies too? This may be just the combination for you. Peanut butter cookies. Eat them warm or cool, but they won’t stay long in those airtight containers. Because they’re so damn delicious. With pieces of chunky peanuts, besides the peanut butter itself in the batter, these are irresistible.

Peanuts grow in Saurashtra, close to where I live in Ahmedabad, and every year in January when we go to the village we get back peanuts with us, peanuts in their covers, and peanuts the covers of which have been removed. So with so many peanuts, we make all kinds of dishes. We put them in poha( spiced flattened rice), we add them to dals, we fry them and eat them mixed with onions and spices and we make chutnies with them. And of course, peanut butter cookies! Life doesn’t get better than this.

I’ve chosen this recipe of peanut butter cookies from The Cookie And Biscuit Bible. The book is full of goodies you can make, from cookies and biscuits, to brownies and chocolates.

So here is the recipe for Peanut Butter Cookies

Makes 20-24

Ingredients

115 gms/ 1/2 cup butter at room temperature, diced

125 gms/ 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 egg

5 ml/ 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

225 gms/ 1 cup crunchy peanut butter

50 gms peanuts

115 gms/ 1 cup plain ( all purpose) flour

2.5 ml/ 1/2 teaspoon soda bicarbonate ( baking soda)

pinch of salt

Method

1 In a medium or large mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer till light and fluffy.

2 In a small bowl mix the egg and vanilla essence, then mix into the butter mixture.

3 Stir in the peanut butter and peanuts and blend thoroughly.

4 Sift the flour, soda bicarbonate and salt into the mixture and stir gently to form a soft dough. Donot overmix.

5 Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes until firm.

6 Preheat oven to 180 degrees C/ 350 degrees F/ gas 4. Grease two baking sheets.

7 Take teaspoons full of the dough, make into balls, press flat into rounds and make a criss cross pattern with the tines of a fork. They should each be 6 cms in diameter. Bake the cookies for 12 minutes or until lightly colored.

8 Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Once cooled you can store them in an airtight container.

 

Fruit Mincemeat

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I got this recipe from a lovely cookbook in the British Library many years ago. The book was so good that I photocopied it from end to end but unfortunately didn’t copy the cover page. Strangely enough nowhere inside was the name of the book written. So I’m at a complete loss as to who the author of this wonderful fruit mincemeat recipe is.

The recipe is not very boozy and although the original recipe had brandy in it I put rum instead. I’ve also changed the quantities of some of the fresh and tinned fruits in it.

This makes an excellent gift for someone who likes to bake. You can make mince pies, marzipan mince tarts, mince muffins: the delicious list is endless. Fruit mincemeat is usually made at Christmas time but since here in Ahmedabad all the fresh fruits are still in season, I decided to give it a go.

So here is the recipe.

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Fruit Mincemeat

Makes 1 kg

Ingredients

450 gms mixed dried fruit such as raisins, candied peel, candied ginger, cranberries, currants

25 gms glacé cherries, chopped

25 gms blanched almonds, chopped

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, grated nutmeg, ground cloves and mixed spice

Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon and half orange

55 gms soft brown sugar

55 gms butter

55 gms tinned pineapple, chopped

1 banana, chopped

1 dessert apple, grated

100 gms grapes, halved

2 tablespoons rum

Method

1 Put the dried fruit, cherries, almonds, spices and zest and juice into a mixing bowl and leave to soak for 2 to 3 hours.

2 Stir in the sugar.

3 Melt the butter in a large saucepan, and on high heat toss the fresh and tinned fruit for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool completely.

4 Mix the the cooled fresh and tinned fruit with the dried fruit. Add the rum and give it a good stir.

5 Cover and store in the refrigerator for no more than a week or in the freezer for 3 months.

 

Walnut Marzipan Chocolate

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I was delighted that Rachana and Adi were coming home for the first time. I had only met Rachana at my aunt’s place, which was like her second home. My aunt, who is no more and she were dear friends. My aunt and I were very close too. She is the inspiration behind my love of baking. So when Rachana said she wanted to come home with her hubby I was happy. She got some prasad, homemade sheera for mom and dad and me, it was so tasty. And we had Bhel puri for dinner and then coffee and chocolates afterwards.

Here’s the recipe of the chocolates I made as an after dinner treat. They’re yum, if I may say so myself. You’ve got to make them at home.

Makes 10

Ingredients

150 gms marzipan ( you can take the marzipan recipe from my blog)

1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts + 10 halves for decoration

150 gms melted dark chocolate

Method

1 Mix the chopped walnuts into the marzipan.

2 Shape the marzipan into a 9 inch log.

3 With a sharp oiled knife chop the log into 10 even pieces.

4 Dip each piece into the melted chocolate covering the marzipan completely.

5 Before the chocolate covering dries stick a walnut half onto the marzipan. Leave to dry

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week but they will be gone long before that!