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cbarre02

Indian Influenced Desserts

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Recently I have been playing allot with food influences from the subcontinent of India. There are of course a wide array of spices, and fruit that are used there (all which are very interesting). I have had some success with infusing chocolate with whole toasted spice, by letting the chocolate sit in the same airtight container as the spices. I have also experimented quite a bit with adding yogurt to ganaches (on a 1 to 1 ratio) and have had some excellent results.

Just was wondering if any one had some creative ideas in the way of flavor combinations?


Cory Barrett

Pastry Chef

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Have you tried using cardamom in desserts? I know some people here hate rosewater, but that's another thing that can be very nice in small but tastable quantities. Many Indian sweets are based on besan (split pea) flour, and the use of paneer (artisanal cheese that comes out a little like cottage cheese) is also common. But I'm also trying to think of flavors from Indian food in general, not just Indian desserts, and the only things I can think of other than nuts, coconut, and mango is something that works nicely in desserts but I can't remember having in an Indian dessert: Ginger. I guess the desserts (all non-Indian) that I've had with ginger have all used crystallized ginger, but using the juice of fresh ginger could be pretty interesting.


Michael aka "Pan

 

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you could do a kheer (rice pudding) or even a flan with indian spices in the caramel, and maybe even cardamom in the custard base.

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Whenever I've had Indian rice pudding, it has been thin and runny - perhaps that's the way it's supposed to be, unlike the one I make that's denser and more custardlike.

With the exception of the rice pudding, the Indian desserts I've had are very dense in comparison to American desserts. Is this true with most Indian desserts? They were very good, just very different texture-wise from ours.


Stop Family Violence

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I am not really concerned in the shape or texture of the dessert. Just flavor applications that I can use in modern French/American style plated desserts.


Cory Barrett

Pastry Chef

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I love using ground fenugreek as a "Hmm, what is that interesting flavor?" addition. People may recognize it as an element of "curry" but not know what it is. And now I'm wondering if the leaves (methi) might work in an infusion for an ice cream base or a sauce?

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They do a lovely mango cheesecake at Amma in NYC. Maybe Suvir Saran would divulge details, if not the recipe per se.

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How about trying a comination of saffron and cardamom in a creme brulee or creme caramel. This combination of flavors is found in many Indian dessers including kulfi (an Indian frozen dessert like ice-cream) and a phirni (ground rice pudding).

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How about a flourless pistachio nut cake with a rose geranium-scented creme anglaise?

(I've made the scented creme anglaise before with a simple pound cake and I really loved it. Maybe it would be interesting with the pistachio cake...?) Need a rose geranium plant but they're lovely... :smile:

or maybe a chai-flavored custard or panna cotta?


Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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I'm thinking of profiteroles filled with a cardamon-scented rice ice cream.


Aidan

"Ess! Ess! It's a mitzvah!"

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How about trying a comination of saffron and cardamom in a creme brulee or creme caramel. This combination of flavors is found in many Indian dessers including kulfi (an Indian frozen dessert like ice-cream) and a phirni (ground rice pudding).

I was out and had a saffron panna cotta for dessert, delicious.

Just thought of these, never actually made them:

Chocolate layer cake with a chai flavoured buttercream frosting?

Darjeeling or Earl Grey ice cream with pistachio chocolate sugar cookies?

Sweet naan with cinnamon spiced thick yogurt or creme fraiche, topped with sliced mangoes, sprinkled with sugar and then broiled?

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Great idea about the naan and mango. There is a dessert in Richard Leach’s book "Sweet Seasons" that incorporates a very thin strawberry "tart", and I believe that the afore mentioned ingredients would lend very nicely to this preparation. Possibly with some rosewater and yogurt sorbet, and a light cardamom scented pineapple foam.

KEEP THE IDEAS COMING!!!


Cory Barrett

Pastry Chef

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the protuguese have a sort of tea pudding. that would be interesting with spiced chai flavors.

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lassi inspired panna cotta.

fenugreek is a key flavoring in fake maple syrup so ...

ajowaan could be interesting with chocolate.

curry and coconut together for dessert--truffles, sauce for banana cardamom bread pudding, liquid center to a chocolate cake

what about chutnies--sweet, spicy textured as a garnish or filling to a dessert, apply the concept to the pastry world.

sweet tandori spices for whole roasted fruits either as a dessert or part of a cheese course.

cheers


h. alexander talbot

chef and author

Levittown, PA

ideasinfood

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personally i still like the flan, creme caramel, creme brulee idea best....french roots and the indian flavors would meld nicely - and makes sense since many indian sweets are milk-based.

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tryska

Though I enjoy Crem Brulee I was looking for a bit more composition as far as a plated dessert goes. Though I could use it as one of my components, and I do agree that Indian flavor would go very well with custard. Also it is very easy to pronounce flavors via a brulee or flan.


Cory Barrett

Pastry Chef

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FYI: the same company in Brooklyn that makes almond paste (American Almond Products Co., Inc.) also makes pistachio paste along the same lines (but colored).

Another suggestion: a variation on carrot halwah.

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Here's a kheer recipe I made last week (again) and was a big hit (taken from CyberKitchen)

KHEER (INDIAN RICE PUDDING) (Serves 6-8)

Ingredients:

2 cups water

1 cup rice

5 cups coconut milk

1-1/4 cups sugar

6 cardamom pods or 1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cardamom

Pinch of salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the rice, cover,

reduce the heat at low, and simmer until the liquid is absorbed, about

18 minutes.

2. Add the coconut milk, sugar, cardamon, and salt. Simmer, uncovered

and stirring frequently, over medium heat until thickened, about 20

minutes.

3. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour the pudding into 6

to 8 serving bowls. Serve warm or chilled.


Edited by laurenmilan (log)

"Give me 8 hours, 3 people, wine, conversation and natural ingredients and I'll give you one of the best nights in your life. Outside of this forum - there would be no takers."- Wine_Dad, egullet.org

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Is there away that I could fit chocolate into this picture anyhow? I know that it's not very Indian... but come on it chocolate!


Cory Barrett

Pastry Chef

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Is there away that I could fit chocolate into this picture anyhow? I know that it's not very Indian... but come on it chocolate!

Tea infused chocolate stuff is delicious. I think I might try a chocolate cake with a chai spiced frosting as I mentioned before.

How about a cardammon and chocolate rice pudding topped with toasted coconut?

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http://www.elreychocolates.com/recipes/rec...reme_brule.html

Going way back, this dessert of Steve's was featured by Pastry Art & Design magazine and El Rey chocolate, maybe in 1998--before we even had chai in Starbucks or anyone had heard much about it on the East coast.

William Grimes reviewed Steve a few years ago in the Times and gave him two stars when he consulted for an upper East Side Indian restaurant trying to look forward: "The dessert menu severs almost all ties to India. Steve Klc (pronounced kelch), the executive pastry chef, uses a few Indian ingredients strategically, with some success. Coconut panna cotta, covered with a slick of ice-wine gelee and tiny apple dice, has a perfect sweet-tart balance, and a surprise at the bottom of the dish, a firm layer of coconut-cardamom rice.

Chocolate chai souffle stumbles at the outset. Chocolate without chai would be fine. Likewise, chai without chocolate. Together, the two make bad company. Mr. Klc recovers nicely with a disc of apple chutney balanced on top of a spongy layer of ladyfingers and topped with saffron cream." from http://groups.yahoo.com/group/shobak_news/message/393

In spite of that view of chocolate and chai - I thought it worked really well together and so do most who have ever had it, Mr. Grimes excepted, and it's been a signature of our dessert philosophy since '97 or so--embrace tradition, but go beyond tradition and let your palate be your ultimate guide. One early plated dessert version of the chocolate chai, molded in a demisphere, ran in Food Arts magazine (maybe in 1999? ) and is pictured here: http://www.pastryarts.com/preview.html

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As cbarre02 indicated, you can do Indian desserts per se, but there can also be Indian elements employed to influence desserts. These can be conceptual (based on actual Indian desserts) OR Conceptual (concepts of India, and dining in India), ingredients, influences, non-dessert items or dishes.

Based on my research when I was doing such a project I got the impression that desserts were not that big a deal in Indian cooking--"sweets" were, marzipan-like candies were, you had kulfi, rice puddings, things in sickly sweet syrups. Most of the Indian sweets available to us at the time in Queens, Iselin or the typical Indian restaurant or cookbook tasted the same, were too sweet or not all that attractive, and not really competitive here in the US vs. non-Indian restaurants, or at higher dollar fine dining locations. It's more likely we have not seen how wonderful Indian sweets could be here in this country because not too many are doing them well.

Items that inspired me:

Rose (using petals, scent, pink coloring. I never did find a rose water that I really liked, but Sevarome makes a really good compound. In Indian stores you can find rose syrup or powdered rose milk mix but they are almost completely sugar, food color, and a bit of citric acid - no real rose) I think that rose goes pretty well with chocolate. I created a Rose Opera Cake to showcase the combination and it has proven very popular. It was discussed a bit here:

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showto...t=0entry78798 My Rose opera is a traditional French-style opera cake except that I make a pistachio jaconde, use rose buttercream, and infuse the dark chocolate ganache with cardamom. I like the colors (green, pink, dark brown). When sufficiently motivated I serve it with a tiny decorative rosebud (made of chocolate) on top. I think it would be a tasty and beautiful plated dessert served with a plain creme anglaise, a rose syrup, a small dome of pistachio cream with an Adria-style thin caramel tuile with bits of candied rose petals suspended in it.

Some other possibilities:

Sugar Cane (used as skewers, peeled as stirrers, juice, gelee...)

Apricots (never really appealed to me until they were exotic) Especially paired with cardamom and vanilla cream

Pistachio (great color, interesting taste)

Cardamon, Cinnamon, and Star Anise

Some working ideas that I had included but as yet unrealized:

· Floating Madagascar

Vanilla Bean flecked Floating Island with a Madagascar vanilla anglaise and vanilla coulis garnished with kiwi, currants, and mangos and a cassis tuile palm tree

· Crispy Almond Saffron Napoleon

Crispy almond filo squares layered with warm almond pudding and saffron crème brulee served with apricot confit, chocolate sauce and crispy filo

· Moon of India

Chocolate Chai Mousse layered with Cashew Nut Cake (fruit jelly?) served with caramelized pineapple and chocolate sauce in a candied kumquat

· Star of India Cake

Silky warm vermicelli payasim poured over almond genoise with warm almond pudding and apricot compote topped with chocolate leaves accompanied by poached fruit and (?) ice cream

· Bergamot-Scented Sugar Cane Granite

Accented with a splash of lemon vodka and served with sabayon and spiced tuile florets. Garnished with spears of cystalized sugar cane and lemon swirls

· Skewered Roasted Fruits

Mangos, Bananas, Apricots, Plums, Figs Skewered on Sugar Cane and flambeed tableside in (?liqour) served with ginger, cardamom, and nutmeg ice creams and a orange caramel tea sauce with candied lemongrass and lemon verbena.

· Beggars Purse

Pear, Quince, Apples, Raisins, Figs, and Dates with Honey, saffron and almonds tied up in a crisp pouch of filo tied with a strand of vanilla bean served warm with vanilla anglaise and pistachio ice cream

· Chocolate-Banana Samosas

Molten chocolate and bananas with chocolate genoise baked in filo bundles and served with cardamom ice cream and masala coulis.

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