Thursday, June 25, 2015

Mango Ginger Clafoutis


We are having a great mango season here. First it was the king of mangoes, Alphonso, that we savored during our vacation with my parents and in laws. Growing up we always ate Alphonso….I mean buying any other variety back then was crime!! Having moved to Gujarat, we didn't quite get the awesome Alphonso mangoes that we had access to in Pune or Mumbai. We bought some locally available Kesar variety, albeit, with some frown. It took us a while to accept the taste but boy are we in love with it or what!! They are oh so good!!! In fact the best variety for baking, I think! Their natural sweetness means less added white sugar. They are juicy yet not the mushy types which gives the perfect moistness to cakes. What more can you ask for?

We started with some homemade mango ice cream, followed by mango panna cotta, then a super moist and delicious mango raisin tea bread and now we are trying hard to keep our forks off of this mango ginger clafoutis as I am quickly trying to take pictures!!

I loved making this clafoutis, it was a breeze, with ingredients readily available in the kitchen! That I got to use my favorite cast iron skillet to bake the clafoutis in was like the icing on the cake!!



1 1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sugar, divided
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 medium eggs
1/4 tsp ginger root powder
1/4 cup pistachios, sliced
1 large OR 2 medium ripe mangoes, cubed or sliced
Powered sugar for dusting


Preheat oven to 175 deg C. Butter an 8 inch cast iron skillet and set aside.

In a blender process,  milk, 1/4 cup sugar, flour, eggs and ginger root powder until well combined.

Pour a thin layer of this batter in the cast iron skillet and bake for about 5-7 min until set. Remove from the oven.

Arrange the fruit on the batter, sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup sugar and nuts, pour the rest of the batter on top of the fruit and nuts and bake for an additional 45 to 50 min until set and knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Dust powdered sugar on the top and serve warm with lightly sweetened cream or ice cream.


1. You can bake this clafoutis in any regular baking tin. Just keep in mind the size of the tin that you are using. Adjust baking time accordingly.
2. Substitute mangoes with any stone fruit or berries.
3. I feel pistachios pair very well with mangoes but almonds or even cashews would taste great.
4. The quantity of ginger root powder that I have added gives the clafoutis a very subtle ginger flavor. You can add up to 1/2 tsp ginger root powder for a stronger ginger flavor.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Mixed Whole Grain Crackers

Easy to make, healthy for your body and a recipe that uses ingredients that are easily found in any kitchen, these crackers are surely getting added to our repertoire of home made snack supplies. The spices used in here can be easily substituted with what your family prefers. I think any nut meal can also go in place of one of the flours. 

These days, "Mama, I am hungry!" echos through the house at any hour of the day. The five year old is off school for a week due to swine flu outbreak. Any time I ask her to do something, she says "Mama, I am hungry!". She loves gulping down gallons of milk and the minute she has a glass of it, claims to have gotten rid of some imaginary body ache. Of course, it goes without saying that she never feels hungry if I let her watch TV!! LOL…the other day, she said I don't feed her enough and so her knee hurts! The same day my husband said, "Spare her, don't stuff her like a twenty five year old, she is only five!!" What a day full of such comedy conversations!! After a pretty rough patch, I am finally loving being a SAHM. Would be missing so much of innocent humor in my day, had I been unlucky enough to sit in front of the computer at work all day long! 

So after one such "I am hungry" episode, I set out to make these crunchy crackers. Prep done half hour before the kids went down for a nap, these crackers were a breeze!! It took me a bit long to complete the task as I own only one cookie sheet. But if you have more than one and can fit them in your oven, then in thirty minutes you can sit down to savor these delicious crackers!! I did plan on a creamy veggie dip originally but that never happened!! Just blame the younger one, he woke up earlier than expected!!!

Mixed Whole Grain Crackers


2/3 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup amaranth flour
2/3 cup oats
1 TBS kasoori methi, crushed between the palms of your hands
1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1 tsp salt
3 TBS oil (I used filtered groundnut oil but olive, sunflower, canola oil would do as well)
Water, as needed
1 TBS Onion seeds or sesame seeds (optional)


In a mixing bowl, mix all the ingredients up to salt. Add oil and gently mix it with the dry ingredients. Now slowly add water as needed to form a soft yet firm dough.

Let the dough rest for 15 minutes. Then divide into four equal parts. With the help of a rolling pin, roll each part in to a thin disc (about 1-2mm thickness). Sprinkle some onion or sesame seeds on top and then gently roll again to firmly press the seeds on the disc. Cut in to 12 equal parts with the help of a knife.

Preheat oven to 150 Deg C. Till the oven pre heats, arrange the cut crackers on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 10 min until golden brown. Remove from oven, flip the crackers and bake for another 5 minutes until crisp. Leave on the cookie sheet for another 5 min, then transfer to cooling racks to cool completely. Once cooled, immediately transfer to an air tight container.

Makes about 4 dozen crackers.


Serve with your favorite dip. Should stay crisp in an air tight container for about 4-5 days, if they last that long!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Whole Grain Apple Cranberry Loaf Bread

Eight years back when I started this blog, I had nothing to offer in the baking department. I had in the past goofed up several cake bakes by substituting baking soda with baking powder, reducing the flour called out in the recipes as per my wish, adding liquid beyond imagination. You get it, right? I didn't know a thing about baking!

Slowly things (read "luck") changed. Getting inspired by professionals like Ina Garten, Martha Stewart and a few fellow bloggers, I learnt a few things about baking! Number one being….."stick to the recipe". Yet, the imprudent baker that I was, I tried a banana nut bread with some substitutions in the original recipe, that came out of the oven fabulous…. not once or twice but several times!!! A few more attempts with other bakes came out well. The baker in me was on fire but little did I know that I was only on my way to mess up a few more cakes!!! Luck had changed again and I parted ways with baking.

A few years after our big move back to India, I got a small Morphy Richards oven to be able to make veggie bakes, enchiladas, pasta etc. I was pretty happy with my oven. I decided to try my luck with my very trusted banana nut bread!! Voila! It came out great yet again! A few other cakes were tested and they tasted great…..then came the call by Kitchen Aid asking home bakers to send their entires to Pro baker 2015!! Suddenly a burst of energy rose inside me… was time to stop trying recipes and instead create some!! Too early to be so confident but I had some kind of gut feeling about getting this one right. 

This whole grain apple cranberry bread needs a little introduction! An idea that captured my mind for a whole month now, a recipe that was developed over a week with a lot of reading on quick breads. I agree that the recipe is not very uncommon but when you develop something on your own with a lot of thinking going behind the recipe, it becomes very special to you!! And it becomes even more special  when the risen cake does not collapse in front of your eyes, no power cuts during baking, both kids asleep during the entire prep, bake and cooling process (yay!). Was that luck or what?? My sudden impulsive on the spot decision to reduce an egg and add yogurt instead worked very well too. I think it gave the bread a nice crumb. The sweet local apples pair beautifully with the slightly tart cranberries. Walnuts provide a nice crunch to this moist crumbly bread. The addition of whole wheat convinces you to reach for guilt free second servings!! It tasted even better the next day as the flavors matured. And I was on cloud nine when my 5 year old girl said, "Mama, when will you make this bread again?"

This is my entry for Kitchen Aid's Probaker 2015! Come participate and have fun!


Whole Grain Apple Cranberry loaf bread-
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup demerara sugar, firmly packed
1 egg, room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla bean powder OR 1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup apple sauce (recipe follows)
1/4 cup homemade yogurt, room temperature
2 medium sized apples cored, peeled and diced
1/2 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped (I left a few whole)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1/4 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tsp milk


Grease and flour a 8 1/2 X 4 1/2 X 2 3/4 loaf pan. Line bottom with parchment. Preheat oven to 175 deg C.

Sift wheat flour, flour, baking powder thrice. Reserve.

With an electric beater cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and mix well. Beat in vanilla bean powder followed by apple sauce and then the yogurt.

Now add the reserved flour mixture and with the beater on low, mix just until incorporated. Do not over beat at this point.

Fold in the diced apples, cranberries and walnuts. The batter will be quite thick!

Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan and even out the top. Keep the pan on a cookie sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes remove the loaf pan and place on to another empty loaf pan of the same size and bake for another 25 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Alternately you can bake at a lower temperature (165 Deg C) until the tester comes out clean.

Let the bread cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then remove on to cooling rack to cool completely before slicing.

Mix the ingredients for the glaze and pour on top of the loaf bread. Let some glaze drip on the sides.


Cut think slices and enjoy with your morning tea or coffee. The flavors mature the next day and the bread tasted even better making this a perfect make ahead dish for a brunch party.

*If not using the glaze, increase the sugar in the recipe to 1 cup.
*The bread stays well at room temperature for 1-2 days only. If yours lasts longer then store in the refrigerator.
*I think you can easily substitute the fresh fruit and dry fruits in the recipe with other ingredients of your choice. Let your imagination run wild!
*You could add a pinch of salt to the batter. I didn't.

Recipe for Apple Sauce-
2 medium apples, cored, peeled and diced
1 inch stick of cinnamon
4 cloves
1 TBS organic brown sugar
2 TBS water, if needed
1/4 to 1/2 tsp lemon juice

Put all the ingredients in a sauce pan and cook until tender and mushy. You can add a couple of tablespoons of water if needed. Fish out the spices and then mash with a potato masher or puree in your blender. Makes about 1 cup. Store any left overs in the fridge.