Strawberry Summer Cake (Sheet Pan Variation)

9 tablespoons (125 grams) unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
1 1/2 cups (300 grams) plus 3 tablespoons (40 grams) granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup (175 ml) milk, whole is preferred but all varieties have worked
1 1/2 teaspoons (8 ml) vanilla extract
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/4 cups (295 grams) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 pounds (680 grams) of the freshest, even a touch overripe, strawberries, hulled and halved

Heat your oven to 350°F (180°C).
Lightly coat the sides and corners of a 9×13-inch cake pan with butter or nonstick spray, and fit the bottom with a rectangle of parchment paper. In a large bowl, beat butter, salt, and 1 1/2 cups of the granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, yolk, and vanilla and beat until combined. Add milk and mix until smooth. Sprinkle baking powder evenly over batter and beat into batter for 20 seconds longer than will seem necessary — this ensures it’s perfectly distributed. Scrape down the bowl. Add flour and beat or stir until just combined.

Spread batter in prepared pan. Arrange strawberries cut side down, as snugly as you can get them to fit. If you have extra, nudge them in anyway. Leave no strawberries behind. Sprinkle with remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar — it will seem like a lot but helps the strawberries get jammy and gives the cake a great texture.

Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out free of wet batter (gooey strawberries are a given and doesn’t mean it’s underbaked) — about 45 to 48 minutes. Let cool in pan on a rack. Cut into squares and serve as is, or with lightly sweetened whipped cream, if you’re Deb.

Do ahead: Cake even better half- to a full day later, when the strawberries marry with better with the cake. I like to leave the cake uncovered at room temperature so it doesn’t get sticky on top.

Strawberry Summer Cake

6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for pie plate
1 1/2 cups (188 grams) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 cup (200 grams) plus 2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup (118 ml) milk
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
1 pound (450 grams) strawberries, hulled and halved

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter a 10-inch pie pan or 9-inch deep-dish pie pan. (This cake does not work in a standard 9-inch pie pan; it will overflow.)

Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl.

In a larger bowl, beat butter and 1 cup sugar until pale and fluffy with an electric mixer, about 3 minutes. Mix in egg, milk and vanilla until just combined. Add dry mixture gradually, mixing until just smooth.

Pour into prepared pie plate. Arrange strawberries, cut side down, on top of batter, as closely as possible in a single layer (though I had to overlap a few to get them all in). Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over berries.

Bake cake for 10 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 325°F and bake cake until golden brown and a tester comes out free of wet batter, about 50 minutes to 60 minutes. (Gooey strawberries on the tester are a given.) Let cool in pan on a rack. Cut into wedges. Serve with lightly whipped cream.

Do ahead: Cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days, loosely covered, but good luck with that.

Notes:
The batter can be dropped to 2 tablespoons less sugar (i.e. 7/8 cup sugar instead of a whole one). But the sugar on top. It contributes to the berries turning into jam.

Peach Streusel Muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons butter melted
2 tablespoons oil preferably pecan or grapeseed
2 large eggs beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups diced peaches

For the streusel:
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch nutmeg
4 tablespoons butter melted
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 375°F and lightly grease a standard 12-cup muffin tin or line them with muffin cups.

To make the muffin batter, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
In a separate bowl, stir together the melted butter, oil, eggs, vanilla, and sour cream until creamy, then add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring gently until well combined and a thick batter is formed. Fold in the peaches.

To make the streusel, stir together the granulated sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg until well combined. Stir in the butter and pecans until everything well combined.

Fill the muffin cups 3/4 full with the batter, then evenly top with streusel. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned on top and when a knife inserted into the muffin comes out clean. Serve warm.

Skillet Brownies

6 oz. good-quality dark chocolate, finely chopped
1-1/4 sticks unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 large eggs
1 cup superfine sugar
1/3 cup ground hazelnuts or almonds
1/4 cup good-quality cocoa powder
Pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 350F. Place an oven rack in the lower third of the oven.

Microwave the chocolate and butter together in a large bowl until melted.

Using an handheld electric mixer, whisk the eggs and sugar to combine. Add the melted chocolate and mix gently to combine.

Grind the nuts, then fold in with the cocoa powder and salt.

Transfer to a 9-inch cast-iron skillet and bake for 25 minutes.

Grilled Pineapple with Coconut Ice Cream and Makrut Lime-Leaf Maple Syrup

1 fresh pineapple
Premium coconut ice cream
Runamok Makrut Lime-Leaf Infused Maple Syrup

Peel the pineapple and slice into wedges, being sure to remove the woody core. Put the wedges on a medium-hot grill and cook until browned and slightly caramelized. Remove from the grill with tongs and cut into bite-sized pieces.

Combine all three ingredients in a bowl being sure to leave the bottle of maple syrup nearby – just in case you need more.

Chia Pudding with Maple

1 cup whole milk (or coconut milk)
1/4 cup chia seeds
2 – 3 Tbsp Runamok Barrel-Aged Maple Syrup (Whiskey, Bourbon, Rum or Apple Brandy)
1/2-tsp vanilla extract
Sliced fruit, nuts, toasted coconut or other topping (optional)

Combine the first four ingredients and stir. Put in a small container, cover and place in the fridge. Leave for eight hours or overnight, stirring occasionally. Serve with fresh fruit, nuts, toasted coconut or extra maple syrup.

Kesar Ras Malai

for the thickened milk:
800 mls whole milk
200 gms of condensed milk
100 gms caster sugar
1/4 tsp cardamom powder
A good pinch of saffron

For the milk dumplings/paneer:
2 pints whole milk
juice of 2 lemons

for the syrup:
200 gms caster sugar
400 mls water
Pinch of saffron
Chopped pistachio and silver varkh to garnish

Get all the milk sauce ingredients together in a heavy bottom sauce pan. Bring to a gentle boil for 1 hour 30mins or so until it has reduced by half and is a bit thick. Turn the heat off and cool. Refrigerate until the milk dumplings are ready.

For the dumplings, bring the whole milk to a gentle boil in a heavy bottom non stick sauce pan. Now add the lemon juice and leave it to boil for 30seconds or so until you start to see it curdling. Take it off the heat and strain it through a muslin. Rinse the curdled mix under cold water; this helps it to come together and also takes away any sour taste. Keep the muslin on a sieve and leave to drain through for an hour to get rid of any excess water.

In the meanwhile, bring all the ingredients for the syrup together and bring to a boil. Knead the dumpling mix well to bring it together. Divide into 6 equal portions and flatten. Tip them into the syrup and cook for 7-10 minutes until they are firm.

Remove them from the syrup and cool slightly. Add them to the chilled milk sauce to soak in the thickened milk flavours. Chill the Ras malai for 4-5 hours. To serve put the dumplings in a bowl with the sauce. Topped with chopped pistachios and silver foil.

Pasayam (South Indian Kheer)

50 gms Basmati rice
110 mls full fat milk
250 mls coconut milk
40 gms jaggery or unrefined brown sugar
5 cardamom pods; seeds only pounded to a fine powder

to serve:
2 tbsp butter
A tbsp of cashew nuts, pistachios & raisins
Pinch of saffron

In a wide heavy bottom sauce pan add the rice, full fat milk, coconut milk over medium heat and bring to a boil. Stir frequently. Simmer and add the jaggery & cardamom powder. Cook for an hour stirring often scraping the bottom & sides of the pan making sure it doesn’t stick. Once the rice is cooked and the pudding is a creamy consistency turn the heat off and cover with a lid. Leave to cool slightly.

In a frying pan heat the butter and add cashew nuts and brown slightly, add the pistachios and raisins. Fry for a few seconds. Pour the fried nuts along with the butter over the Payasam & serve warm.

Semiya Pasayam (Vermicelli Kheer)

4 cups milk divided (3 cups + 1 cup)
1 cup vermicelli (semiya)
1 cup water
6 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp condensed milk
1 Tbsp ghee (clarified butter), divided
10 cashews broken
10 almonds sliced
10 golden raisins
10 pistachios sliced

Boil milk in a saucepan and keep it aside.

Heat 1/2 tablespoon ghee in a pan. Once it is hot, fry the cashews, almonds, pistachios & raisins separately, until they all turn golden brown. Remove them from the pan and keep it aside.

In the same pan add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon ghee. Fry the vermicelli until it starts changing its color and becomes slightly golden. (This step can be skipped if using roasted vermicelli).

Then add 1 cup of water and 1 cup of boiled milk to the pan. Frequently stir the mixture else the milk will burn at the bottom.

Keep adding milk progressively as and when the mixture thickens. Add about 1-1/2 cup milk, and cook the vermicelli until it becomes soft.

Once the vermicelli gets cooked, add the condensed milk and sugar. Add the remaining 1/2 cup milk and keep it on the stove for few more minutes until the sugar dissolves.

Turn off the stove and add cashews, almonds, raisins, and pistachios. This thickens on cooling. Keep an extra cup of boiled milk at hand. So if you are serving later & it thickens, you can add some more milk (according to your consistency preference) and serve.

Recipe Notes
You can get readymade roasted vermicelli in Indian grocery stores. Use them for convenience.

Condensed milk is completely optional. It helps in thickening the base and therefore a rich taste.

You can adjust the sugar amount based on your sweet preference. When using condensed milk, be extra careful as it has some sugar.

This can be served chilled or at room temperature or even warm.
The amount of milk depends on one’s preferred consistency. Payasam can be drunk from a glass or spooned. The amount mentioned above yields a thick creamy dessert. You can thin it more by adding extra boiled milk. The consistency is of medium thickness and is thinner than rice pudding

Almond Kheer

Rice – 1 cup, washed and drained
Water – 1 1/2 cups
Whole milk – 3 cups, divided
Sweetened condensed milk – 1/2 cup or slightly less
Salt – a pinch
Butter – 1 tbsp
Golden raisins – a small handful
Almond extract or syrup – 1/2 – 1 tsp (depending on how strong the flavor is)
Almonds – a small handful, chopped

Gently boil the water and 1/2 cup milk in a deep pan. Add rice, turn heat to low, cover and cook the rice.

When rice is cooked, add the rest of the milk and simmer for 20 minutes or so, till rice is very soft and pudding is thickened. Gently mash some of the rice with the back of a wooden spoon and mix well.

Now add sweetened condensed milk as per your taste. (I added just under half cup, you can add more if you like a sweeter pudding). Add a pinch of salt, mix well and remove from heat if the consistency is to your liking. If it is runny, simmer for some more time. If it is too thick, add a few tablespoons of milk and heat thoroughly.

Once done, mix in the almond extract or almond syrup. If you are using an extract, a little goes a long way and half a teaspoon will suffice. Always start with a small amount and work your way up.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan, fry the golden raisins till plumped and mix in the pudding.
Garnish with chopped almonds and serve warm or chilled.

Notes:

You can add vanilla extract in place of almond extract/syrup. You can also add a touch of cinnamon or nutmeg powders if you like their flavor in rice pudding.
For an Indian flavor, try a combination of cardamom powder and saffron to flavor the rice pudding. Also, use ghee instead of butter.
I am sure this would be lovely flavored with rose syrup as well. Rose syrup will tint the rice pudding pink, so if you want to retain the white color, use edible rose-water.

Bhapa Doi (Bengali Baked Yogurt Pudding)

For the bhap doi (baked yogurt pudding):
Condensed milk – 1 cup
Greek yogurt – 1 1/2 cups
Cornstarch – 1 tsp (optional)
Milk – 1 tbsp (optional)

For the pomegranate coulis:
Pomegranate – 1, large
Water – 1/4 cup (or as needed)
Sugar – 2 tbsp (or as needed)
Lemon juice – 1 tsp
Cornstarch – 1 tsp

To garnish:
Almonds and cashew nuts – a small handful, crushed
Dried rose petals – a few

Bhapa Doi (Baked Yogurt Pudding): Pre-heat the oven to 300 deg.F. Boil water in a kettle for the bain marie. Line a large baking pan with a folded kitchen towel and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the condensed milk and Greek yogurt. Mix the cornstarch in milk and add to the mixture. Mix well so that no lumps remain. (The cornstarch is totally optional, but it helps to ensure a well-set pudding).

Divide yogurt mixture among four large ramekins or 6-8 smaller ones. Place ramekins in the prepared baking pan and fill with hot water so that it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins. (The kitchen towel under the ramekins will keep them from sliding around in the hot water.)

Bake for 30-35 minutes or till yogurt is set, but slightly jiggly in the center.

Remove and cool down to room temperature. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. This keeps well in the refrigerator for a couple of days.

Pomegranate coulis: Prepare pomegranate coulis when yogurt is in the oven. Dissolve cornstarch in a tablespoon of water and set side.

Remove the pomegranate arils and blend them together. Add enough water to make at least a cup of juice. Strain this mixture and discard the seeds.

Take pomegranate juice, sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, add the cornstarch slurry and simmer for 4-5 minutes or till sauce thickens slightly. Taste and adjust sweetness accordingly.

Cool this down and store in a glass jar in the refrigerator till needed.

Serving bhapa doi: To serve the pudding, top each ramekin with some of the pomegranate coulis, some crushed nuts and rose petals. Enjoy!

NOTES:
1. Since Greek yogurt is naturally thick, it is best suited for this recipe and combines easily with the condensed milk. If you are using regular yogurt, make sure it is whole fat and drained of most of the liquid. You should have 1½ cups of thick, strained yogurt to start with.

2. You can flavor bhapa doi by adding cardamom powder or a little bit of saffron steeped in warm milk. You can also add some fruit pulp (mangoes work best) to make fruit flavored bhapa doi.

3. Instead of preparing a fruit coulis or sauce, you can top the pudding with chopped fresh fruits of choice. You can also top the pudding with just nuts and maybe even saffron.

Gulab Phirni (Rose Kheer)

Whole milk – 4 1/2 cups
Cardamom powder – 1/4 tsp
Basmati rice – 1/4 cup
Sugar – 6 tbsp
Rose syrup – 2 tbsp (can be replaced with 1 tsp rose water or 2 drops of pure rose essence)
Almonds – 2 tbsp, chopped (can also use pistachios)
Dried rose petals – a few, to garnish (optional)

Wash the basmati rice in water a couple of times and soak in water for half an hour. This will make the grinding part easier. using a blender, grind rice to a fairly smooth paste, adding a few tablespoons of milk. Set aside.

In a large, thick-bottomed saucepan, start heating the milk on medium-high heat. When the milk boils, add the rice paste and reduce heat to medium. Cook the rice, stirring often to avoid any lumps. In about 10-15 minutes, the rice will be cooked. Cook the pudding further till it reduces and thickens, maybe 10 more minutes.

Add sugar and rose syrup. Stir well to dissolve the sugar. Taste and add more sugar or rose syrup, if needed.

Remove from heat and rest for 5 minutes, but not more than that as the pudding will begin to set as it cools.

Transfer phirni to a big serving bowl or individual dessert bowls and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for a couple of hours so that phirni sets properly.

Serve cold phirni garnished with chopped nuts and dried rose petals.

NOTES:
1. It is important to use whole milk in this recipe to achieve the creamy texture. Doing so will ensure that you do not need to add any canned condensed milk or pother such products.

2. A shortcut method to make phirni is to use store-bought rice flour instead of making your own rice paste:

Milk: 2 cups.
Rice flour: 2 tbsp. You may use any, white or brown.
Sugar: 2 to 3 tbsp.
Cardamom powder: 1/4 tsp or a generous pinch
Saffron: 15-20 threads soaked in 1 tbsp milk
Pistachio slivers and Almond slivers: 1 tbsp each for topping the dessert.

Dissolve. Rice flour in 1/4 cup water avoiding lump formation. Use stirrer.

Boil the milk with cardamom powder, in a heavy bottom pan.

When milk boils, add the rice flour paste to the boiling milk.

Simmer the milk with rice paste for about 2 minutes on medium low flame. Keep stirring with a stirrer or manual egg beater.

Once the milk and rice mixture gets slightly thick, add dissolved saffron and sugar. Cook for 2 more minutes while stirring often to avoid burning of the milk at the bottom.

Take it off the flame. Pour it directly in your dessert bowls. Let it cool down to room temperature and then garnish with the nuts. Refrigerate for an hour or so and enjoy this silky and smooth rice pudding called Phirni.

Semiya Pasayam (Vermicelli Pudding)

Ghee – 2 tbsp
Cashew nuts and raisins – 8-10 each
Vermicelli/Semiya – 1/2 cup, heaped
Water – 1 cup
Whole Milk – 2 cups
Condensed milk – ½ cup
Saffron – a small pinch, steeped in a tablespoon of warm milk
Cardamom powder – ½ tsp
Salt – a small pinch

Heat ghee in a heavy bottomed pan. Fry the cashew nuts and raisins till golden, drain and keep aside.

In the same pan, roast the vermicelli till it turns golden brown in color. Take care not to burn it.

Add water and milk and bring to a boil. Add vermicelli, reduce the heat and simmer till verrmicelli softens and the milk reduces and thickens. Keep stirring every now and then.

Once the milk is reduced, add condensed milk, saffron, cardamom powder and salt. Stir well and remove from heat. Remember that the payasam will thicken as it cools. So take it off the heat just short of your desired consistency.

Garnish with fried cashew nuts and raisins. Serve warm or cold.

NOTES:
1. You can buy the pre-roasted variety of vermicelli, specifically packaged for making kheer. This should eliminate the roasting process, but I still do a quick roasting just to flavor the vermicelli with ghee.

2. Sweetened condensed milk helps in giving the payasam a thick, creamy consistency. You can replace it with 1/2 cup of white sugar instead.

3. If you need to serve the payasam later and it has thickened considerably, thin it out with some boiling hot milk or water.

Sabudana Kheer / Javarisi Payasam (Sago Pearl Kheer)

Sabudana (javvarisi or sago pearls) – 1/2 cup
Water – 2 cups
Whole milk – 2 cups, warm
Sugar – 1/3 – 1/2 cup (as per taste)
Cardamom powder – 1/4 tsp
Rose water – 1/4 tsp
Saffron – a small pinch
Pistachios or almonds – 8-10, chopped
Dried rose petals – for garnish (optional)

Wash the sabudana or sago pearls in water 3-4 times or until the water runs relatively clear. Soak sabudana in 2 cups of water for at least 20 minutes.

Take sabudana and water in a medium saucepan and cook on medium heat until they begin to turn translucent.

Add warm milk and continue cooking until all the sabudana are cooked and soft. The sago pearls will rise to the surface once cooked. Keep stirring often to prevent milk from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Add sugar and cardamom powder and simmer until the kheer thickens slightly, not more than 25-30 minutes of overall cooking time. Stir the kheer once in a while.

When almost done, stir in rose-water and saffron. Remove kheer from heat and serve immediately or cool it slightly before serving. Garnish with chopped nuts and dried rose petals, if desired.

Store leftover kheer in the refrigerator. If kheer has thickened too much, warm it with a few spoons of milk before serving.

Shavige Payasa (Indian Vermicelli Pudding)

1/2 tablespoon ghee or unsalted butter + 1 teaspoon
2 tablespoons raw cashews, broken or chopped into large pieces
2 tablespoons yellow raisins
1 cup angel hair pasta or thin rice noodles*, broken into 1 inch pieces
2 cups water
2 cups whole or 2 percent milk
few saffron threads
3-4 tablespoons sugar or to taste
1/8 teaspoon cardamom powder

*In the Indian shops, these noodles will be labeled as vermicelli and may come pre-roasted and broken in small pieces.

In a saucepan on a medium flame, add ½ tablespoon of ghee. When ghee is melted, add in cashews and stir continuously until they start to brown. Quickly add in raisins and stir until they plump up. Turn off heat and transfer cashews and raisins to a bowl to cool.

Add another teaspoon of ghee to the pan and add in the broken up vermicelli noodles. Stir-fry them for about 3 to 4 minutes over a low-medium flame, until they start to turn golden brown. To the pan add 2 cups of water and make sure that all of the noodles are just covered. Bring to a boil. Continue to cook the vermicelli noodles on medium heat until tender, about 3 to 4 minutes for semolina noodles and less if using rice noodles. Add 2 cups of milk to the pan and heat over a medium-high flame. When the milk is warm, crush the saffron threads between your fingers and drop into the milk. When the milk starts to boil, add in sugar and cardamom powder. You can use a whisk to help dissolve the sugar and incorporate the cardamom powder evenly. Next add in fried cashews and raisins, reserving some for garnish. Turn off the heat.

Serve warm or chilled with the leftover cashews and raisins on top. Payasa thickens up after refrigeration so just add more milk to loosen it up again when re-serving it or leave as is if you prefer more a of rice pudding consistency.

Hawaiian Guava Cake

2 1/2 cups/320 grams cake flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup/115 grams unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature
1 1/4 cups/250 grams granulated sugar
6 large egg whites
1/4 cup/60 milliliters neutral oil, like canola or vegetable oil
1 cup/240 milliliters whole milk
1 cup/240 milliliters guava concentrate or reduced guava juice (see Tip)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 drops of red food coloring (optional)

1 cup/240 milliliters heavy whipping cream
8 ounces/230 grams cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup/100 grams granulated sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
3 drops of red food coloring (optional)
1/2 cup/120 milliliters guava concentrate or reduced guava juice (see Tip)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with a parchment sling, leaving some over hang on the long sides.

Make the cake: In a large bowl, whisk the cake flour, baking powder and kosher salt until combined. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar and beat on medium until well combined, about 3 minutes. Add the egg whites, in three additions, beating about 1 minute after each. Reduce speed to low, add the oil and mix until combined, about 1 more minute.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, guava concentrate, vanilla and food coloring (if using). On low speed, alternate between adding the wet and dry ingredients to the bowl of the stand mixer, mixing well after each addition.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes before transferring it to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the frosting: In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream on medium speed until frothy, 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually increase the speed to high and whip until it’s light and fluffy with stiff peaks, another 2 to 3 minutes. (Don’t overwhip!) Transfer the whipped cream to a bowl.

Replace the bowl on the stand mixer and fit the machine with the paddle attachment (there’s no need to clean the bowl). Place the cream cheese in the bowl and mix on medium until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sugar and kosher salt and increase the speed to high. Beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.

Lower the speed to medium and add the food coloring (if using). Add the guava concentrate in four additions, mixing well after each addition, and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula after the second and the final additions.

Increase the speed to high and beat until smooth and well incorporated, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the bowl from stand and, using the spatula, gently fold in the whipped cream in three additions, incorporating completely after each addition.
Spread the frosting on the cooled cake, using an offset spatula to smooth it over the edges. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving. Cut into 24 pieces and serve immediately.

Tip
If using guava juice, reduce it: Boil two liters of juice over high heat until it’s reduced by half, about 40 minutes. Let cool completely before using. Avoid juices that contain any added sugar so the cake does not become overly sweet. Ms. Kysar likes Ceres brand guava juice.

Chocolate Tres Leches Cake

CAKE:
1 3/4 cups/225 grams all-purpose flour
1/2 cup/45 grams unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/2 cups/300 grams granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup/240 milliliters whole milk
1/2 cup/120 milliliters grapeseed oil or any mild-flavored oil
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup/240 milliliters boiling water

FOR THE TRES LECHES:
1 (12-ounce) can/355 milliliters evaporated milk
1 (14-ounce) can/395 milliliters sweetened condensed milk (3 tablespoons reserved for the whipped cream)
1 cup/240 milliliters heavy cream
Scraped seeds of 1 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

FOR THE CONDENSED MILK WHIPPED CREAM:
1 cup/240 milliliters heavy cream, chilled
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
Chocolate shavings (optional)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom only of a 9-by-13-inch cake pan (preferably metal), leaving a 1/4-inch border that remains ungreased. Do not butter the sides of the pan.
Place a large sifter or a sieve in a large bowl. Add the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt and sift. Add the sugar and whisk to combine.
In another large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla until combined. Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until there are no lumps and the batter is smooth. Carefully pour in the boiling water and stir until combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake in the center of the oven until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake bounces back when lightly pressed, about 50 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the tres leches: In a large bowl, combine the evaporated milk, condensed milk (setting 3 tablespoons aside for the whipped cream), heavy cream and vanilla bean seeds or extract (if using) and whisk to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate if not using immediately.

Remove the cake from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes. Run a butter knife around the cake’s edges. Cool completely.

While the cake is still in the pan, use a skewer or a fork to poke small holes through the cake to the bottom, about an inch apart. Slowly spoon the tres leches over the top of the cake, giving it time to soak in. Once the liquid is absorbed, repeat until all the tres leches is used. (Toward the end, the tres leches will pool at the edges, but don’t worry; it will be absorbed while in the fridge.) Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 5 to 6 hours, preferably overnight.

When ready to serve, make the whipped cream: Add the reserved condensed milk along with the cream, vanilla and cinnamon (if using) to the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium high until the cream has doubled in volume, forms soft peaks and is light and fluffy. Spread the cake with the cream and sprinkle the chocolate shavings on top. Serve from the pan.

Japanese Soufflé Pancakes

4 egg whites and 2 egg yolks from 4 large eggs, separated and chilled
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 tablespoons cake flour
1/4 cup milk, chilled
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Unsalted butter, for greasing and serving
Maple syrup, for serving
Confectioners’ sugar, whipped cream and fresh berries, for serving (optional)

Place egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer or a medium bowl; set aside. Place egg yolks in a large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, the vanilla and baking powder to egg yolks and whisk until blended. Add flour and milk; whisk until fully combined.

Add lemon juice and salt to egg whites. Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or a hand mixer, whip mixture on medium speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Continue to whip over medium while gradually sprinkling with remaining 5 tablespoons granulated sugar. Turn speed to high and whip until stiff, glossy peaks form and mixture doubles in size, about 1 minute. Take care not to overbeat meringue.

Heat a lidded nonstick skillet over the lowest heat setting and set the lid aside.

Using a rubber spatula, scoop about 1/3 of meringue into egg yolk mixture and gently fold almost combined. Repeat with half the remaining meringue until almost combined, then fold in the remaining meringue just until no streaks remain.

Carefully grease the warm skillet and the inside of four 3-inch-wide pastry rings (they should be at least 1 1/2 inches tall) using the butter. Check the heat of the pan by sprinkling a bit of water in it: Droplets should steam off the surface, but not dance or sputter. Place the greased pastry rings in the warm pan and ladle a scant 1/2 cup batter into each ring. Place lid on top of skillet and cook pancakes on very low heat until they start to rise and a few small bubbles start to form on top, 3 to 4 minutes.

Remove lid, carefully slide a flat spatula underneath each pancake and position another spatula on top, then gently flip pancakes in their rings. Immediately replace lid and cook until pancakes are cooked through and spring back to the touch, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer cooked pancakes to a platter, grease the skillet and pastry rings and repeat to make 4 additional pancakes.

Top pancakes with a pat of butter and drizzle with maple syrup; serve immediately. Serve with any combination of confectioners’ sugar, whipped cream and berries, if desired.

Rosewater and Honey Yogurt with Apricots and Pomegranate Seeds

Tip: You can create this dessert with any seasonal fruit.

150g Hunza apricots, soaked in water overnight
450g full-fat Greek yogurt
2-3 tsp honey
1 tsp rosewater
2 tbsp pomegranate seeds
1 tbsp chopped apricot kernels or almonds

Begin by squeezing out the stones from the soaked Hunza apricots – they should slide out and the apricotshould retain its shape. Place stoned apricots back in the soaking liquid while preparing the rest of the dish.

In a bowl, combine the chilled Greek yogurt with the
honey and rosewater and mix until combined. Chill for a few minutes while toasting nuts.

Toast the apricot kernels or almonds in a hot, dry pan
and then keep aside.

To assemble, spoon out equal amount of flavoured
yogurt into three bowls, top each with Hunza apricots (without liquid), then toasted apricot kernels/almonds and pomegranate seeds. Serve chilled.

Fig, Honey, and Pistachio Kulfi

1 litre whole milk
1 can sweet condensed milk
50 g dried whole milk powder
300 g ricotta
1 tbsp Acacia honey
1 tbsp cornflour, made into a thin paste with water
50 g chopped pistachios
60 g soft figs, chopped. (either fresh or preserved)

1 tsp vanilla extract
1 pinch saffron
1 tsp ground cardamom

Heat a saucepan over medium heat and boil the litre of whole milk until it reduces a bit (15-20) minutes. Add the can of condensed milk, stir for a while until dissolved.

Now add the ricotta, powdered milk , honey and stir continuously until dissolved. Finally add the cornflour paste and stir until the milk mixture is thick. Add saffron, vanilla, figs and pistachios and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring continuously.

Take off heat and cook for about 10 minutes. Pour into Kulfi moulds or parchment paper cones with a stick and allow to rest for 10 minutes – pop into a freezer for 7-8 hours or overnight.

To serve, if using Kulfi moulds, leave outside for a few minutes then warm with hands and allow Kulfi to slip out, sprinkle with a chopped pistachio and serve immediately.