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Top 7 delicious desserts to treat your sweet tooth

Indian savoury dishes are known for their use of spices - like cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon - that gives a distinct character to the sweet your tastebuds have been craving.

more lifestyle Updated: Jun 14, 2019 18:43 IST
Saumya Sharma
Saumya Sharma
Hindustan Times, Delhi
Bebinca,Nigella Lawson,recipe
Mishti doi in a clay pot.(Hindustan Times)

Got a sweet tooth, or you believe it to be a ‘sweet jaw’ instead? If your answer is yes to either, then you’ll usually find yourself seeking your favourite dessert item - ranging from both Indian sweets to chocolates to bakery products. Indian savoury dishes are known for their use of spices - like cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon - that gives a distinct character to the sweet your tastebuds have been craving.

Indian desserts are not just limited to a post-meal treat as one can have them whenever they crave the taste (in limited amounts for health reasons) and relish its taste. From fruits and vegetables to several other raw products you can easily source from your kitchen, there’s something sweet for everyone.

Here are some interesting facts (recipes included) about some of the most delicious desserts you can relish on special days with your friends and family members or even when you want to treat yourself on a cheat day.

Motichoor Laddoos: With a base of chickpea flour, these deep-fried saffron colour balls resemble doughnuts. Their rich taste comprises the smoothness of pure ghee. The sweet dish, which has its origins in North India, is often seasoned with saffron or melon seeds and sweetened with thickened sugar syrup. The balls are also occasionally mixed with orange food colouring, to make their hue truly pop.

Aamras Puri or Rice: Unlike other traditional Indian sweets, there is a finite window for trying this dessert. The reason for that is easy: Plain, pureed mango pulp is the star of the dish. And indeed, it’s hard to resist a giant bowl of fresh mango. Different recipes may use saffron, milk, powdered sugar and powdered cardamom to flavour the puree. The fruit mixture tastes best when served chilled, with an accompaniment of puri or white rice.

Shrikhand: This dish, most popular in Maharashtra and Gujarat, bears some resemblance to a yogurt parfait. It’s prepared from hung curd, seasoned with green cardamom, sugar, and saffron. The saffron imparts a delicate yellow hue to the pudding, making it unmistakable from other yogurt desserts. There are variations of shrikhand that you can consider making at home or buy off the shelf from any store. From mango to almonds to pistachios, there are ways to flavour this dish. It can be eaten by itself or with puri, making it an addictive mix of sweet and savoury.

Pineapple and Ginger Strudel with rum sauce and vanilla-cinnamon ice cream: A cousin of the classic apple strudel, usually a winter favourite, this pineapple and ginger strudel is equal parts party in your mouth and the sin you need when you want a treat. The key to a good strudel is the genius of its pastry - the crispier yet melt-in-your-mouth it is, the better. Here’s a recipe and method to bake pineapple strudels.

Recipe:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon minced ginger

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

1/8 scant teaspoon ground cinnamon

Ground nutmeg

400gms fresh pineapple, peeled, cored and diced

1 egg yolk, beaten

1 tablespoon dark rum

1 tablespoon powdered sugar

300 Gms strudel dough, room temperature.

4 scoops vanilla and cinnamon ice cream ice cream

Method

- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

- In a medium sauté pan over medium heat, melt 4 tablespoons butter, add ginger and cook for 1 minute. Add in brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Let cook 2 minutes, and then add in fruit, stirring gently to combine. Let cook over medium heat to gently caramelize, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove fruit from pan, reserve sauce in a pan. Let the fruit cool to room temperature.

- Place strudel dough on a baking sheet and spread. Spread the fruit out on strudel dough, leaving a 2-inch border all around. With the long end closest to you, fold the dough into thirds, then repeat ending with the seam down. Pinch short ends closed. Brush with egg yolk.

- Bake until golden brown and crispy, about 20 to 25 minutes. While baking, heat up remaining sauce over medium heat, fortify with rum and 2 tablespoons butter.

- To serve, remove strudel from oven and slice immediately into 6 pieces. Drizzle some of the sauce on dessert plates. Place strudel slice on top and dust with powdered sugar and serve ice cream by side.

Bebinca: A dense, rich cake traditionally eaten on holidays in Goa, India. The dish has its roots in Portuguese settlers, who came to Goa in the 16th century and brought their custard-style desserts with them. Bebinca is made mostly of a batter of eggs, flour, nutmeg and coconut milk, which is baked in thin layers, and then stacked with a smear of ghee in between. It is a time-consuming dish to make, becoming more labour-intensive as the number of layers increase. Seven is the minimum number, but some versions contain as many as 16 layers. In any form, a bebinca’s multicoloured striations show off a baker’s skill and delight consumers.

Gajar Halwa: A winter staple for most households, this dish is also a walk down memory lane for many people of Indian-origin. If you are yet to try your hands on a few helpings of Gajar Halwa, then you need to try it soon. The shredded carrot dish, which is one of the most popular desserts in the country, is relished by one and all.

It’s often served as heaped in a bowl, with the vivid carrots topped with exotic dry fruits like bright green pistachios or delicately slivered almonds. The secret to a perfect rendition lies in cooking the carrots down with ghee and milk until they are creamy and pudding-like in consistency. The mix is then flavoured with heady green cardamom, pistachios and, sometimes, raisins. For those who want to continue enjoying this tasty treat in the balmy, summer months can consider freezing it and warming it portion wise whenever you want to eat it.

Mishti Doi: As the name suggests, the dish takes us to the streets of West Bengal region where it is prepared from simple ingredients that yield more than the sum of its parts. It begins with milk, which is reduced overheat and then sweetened with jaggery, a sugar formed from sugar cane juice or the sap of palm trees. From there, yogurt culture is added and the whole mixture is set until firm. The best traditional way of serving Mishti Doi is in a terracotta or clay bowl, with bright threads of saffron, pistachio crumbles or even edible flowers often scattered over the top of the mixture is often scattered over the top of the mixture.

With inputs from ANI

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First Published: Jun 14, 2019 18:43 IST