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indian inspired confectionery








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DATE AND ORANGE TRUFFLES (MAKES 12-15) Inspired by my Mum’s traditional date mithai (Indian sweets) these are like grown up versions of chocolate truffles, loved amongst the older generation of my family as they contain very little added sugar and instead take their flavour from the naturally sweet dates and orange in the filling. These are really easy to make and delicious served at family gatherings, especially around Christmas time.

INGREDIENTS: 100g Dried, Pitted Dates 1 tblsp Double Cream 1 tblsp Orange Blossom Water ½ tsp Ground Cardamom 2 tsp Finely Grated Orange Zest 75g Dark Chocolate (roughly chopped)

METHOD: • Crumble the dates into a microwave safe bowl and heat for 1 minute to 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until the dates are soft enough to mash • Place the softened dates in a blender with the cream and orange water • Pulse until the mixture has turned into fairly smooth, thick paste • Fold in the cardamom and 1 teaspoon of the orange zest • Divide this mixture into about 12 to 15 equal pieces and roll them into smooth balls • Place the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until the chocolate is melted, runny and glossy • Dip the date balls in chocolate to cover and then transfer them to a plate lined with greaseproof paper • Whilst the chocolate is still wet sprinkle the remaining teaspoon of orange zest on top of the truffles to garnish • Allow to set in a cool place, serve at room temperature.

indian inspired confectionery

indian inspired confectionery

APRICOT & COCONUT TRUFFLES (MAKES 12) Following on from the date and orange truffles inspired by Mum, I thought I would try something similar with dried apricots as they are another popular Indian flavour. Dried apricot can be quite tart and I find that the coconut in this recipe softens that sharpness beautifully and the creamy sweetness of the white chocolate is delicious! These complement the date and orange truffles really well so I’d suggest make a batch of each and serve them together, your friends will be delighted!

INGREDIENTS: 100g Soft, Dry Apricots (pitted) 1 tblsp Double Cream 2 tblsp Desiccated Coconut 100g White Chocolate (roughly chopped)

METHOD: •Place the apricots in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until they are soft enough to mash • Place the softened apricots in a blender with the cream and coconut • Pulse until the mixture has turned into fairly smooth, thick paste • Divide this mixture into about 12 equal pieces and roll these into smooth balls • Place the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until the chocolate is melted, runny and glossy • Dip the apricot balls in chocolate to cover, do not worry if they are not perfect, and then transfer them to a plate lined with greaseproof paper • Keep the extra chocolate aside • When the dipped truffles are dry to the touch, warm the excess chocolate from before until it is glossy and runny again • Dip the truffles a second time to ensure a fairly even coating of chocolate • Transfer to greaseproof paper to set and garnish with chopped pistachio nuts or extra desiccated coconut to decorate Allow to set in a cool place, serve at room temperature.

MALAI FUL KHAJA (MAKES 18) The south Asian take on the Middle Eastern Baklava, ‘Ful Khaja’ can often be found in traditional Indian sweet shops. I often find that people are just astounded by the look of these before they even try them as they look so pretty! ‘Ful’ means flower and these sweets are named so as they are baked into little floral shapes which look impressive but are actually quite easy to do. These are normally made without the paneer and using rose water instead of orange in the syrup but the paneer adds a little moisture and another texture to the sweet and for me, the orange just makes a refreshing, citrusy change!

INGREDIENTS: For the Paneer: 2L Milk 2 tblsp Lemon Juice 75g Coarsely Ground Pistachio Nuts 300g Caster Sugar 4 x 48cm by 25cm Filo Pastry Sheets For the Orange Blossom Syrup: 4tblsp Clarified Butter/Ghee (melted) 250ml Orange Blossom Water

METHOD: • Start by making the paneer – Prepare a colander by lining it with a cheese cloth and place it in the sink, ready to pour the hot milk into •Bring the milk to a boil in a heavy based pan placed over a medium heat • As soon as the milk comes to a rolling boil stir in the lemon juice to split the milk • After about 20 seconds you should see the milk solids separate and the liquid become slightly green in colour pour the entire contents of the pan through the lined sieve • Wash the paneer with cold water, tie up the cheesecloth to enclose the milk solids and tie the cloth so that it hangs from the tap to let all the excess water drain away • Leave to drain for at least one hour In the meantime prepare the filo pastry - Place a sheet of filo pastry on a greased baking sheet and brush with a tablespoon of the melted butter • Layer the remaining three sheets of pastry on top of the first one, making sure to generously brush with butter melted butter between each sheet but leave the top sheet dry • Cut the filo into 8cm x 8cm squares • Pre heat oven to gas mark 6/200C/400F • When the paneer is dry place it in a blender with 150g of the sugar and pulse to form a smooth paste • Place 2 teaspoons of the paneer mixture in the centre of a filo square and press down to form a level rough square, leaving approximately a 1cm border of pastry around the edges of the paneer • Fold the corners of the pastry in towards the middle of the paneer square and gently press down so that you have a wrapped parcel of paneer • Repeat with all of the filo squares • Bake for 15 minutes until almost cooked and then remove from the oven • You will notice that the parcels have opened up and the paneer has shrunk down leaving the top of each parcel with a bit of space, fill each one with the ground pistachio nuts and return to the oven for about 5 more minutes or until golden and crisp • While the ful khaja are baking prepare the orange syrup – place the orange water in a pan with the remaining sugar and place over a medium heat • Allow the syrup to reduce by two thirds so that you have a thick, sticky sweet orange syrup to coat your ful khaja in • When the khaja are baked carefully drizzle the syrup generously over each on and leave aside to cool • Serve at room temperature.

indian inspired confectionery

indian inspired confectionery

INDIAN INSPIRED FLAPJACKS (MAKES ABOUT 12) Flapjacks are fantastic in that they can be made with so many different inclusions resulting in a myriad of different flavours. I have heard of people using lots of different types of fresh and dried fruits, left over cereal, nuts, eggs, flour, spices, basically anything that you find left over and don’t know what else to do with! These Indian inspired flapjacks are probably more inspired by what you find in the back of a store cupboard living in an Indian household! They make excellent breakfast snacks – oats and dark sugars release energy slowly so they’ll keep you full for hours and they taste delicious too!

INGREDIENTS: 60g Pistachio Nuts 350g Oats 80g Dried Apricots 20g Desiccated Coconut ½ tsp Ground Cardamom 250g Salted Butter 80g Golden Syrup 200g Jaggery (or brown/Demerara sugar)

METHOD: • Pre heat your oven to gas mark 2/150C/300F and grease a 20cm x 30cm baking dish (I use my grill pan) • Dry roast the pistachio nuts in a frying pan over a medium heat until they are green and fragrant, this will take about 5 minutes • Leave them aside to cool • In the meantime measure out the oats in a large mixing bowl • Chop the apricots into approximately 1cm chunks and add them to the oats along with the coconut and cardamom • Roughly chop the roasted pistachio nuts, add these to the oat mixture and stir all of these ingredients together so that they are really well combined • In a large saucepan (bear in mind you’ll be stirring the oats into this saucepan later so it should be sufficiently big!) gently heat the butter, golden syrup and jaggery or sugar over a medium heat, stir occasionally • When the butter and sugars are melted, golden and bubbling add the oats to the pan • Turn off the heat and mix everything together making sure that all of the oats are coated in the melted sugar Press the mixture into the prepared baking dish and bake for 40 minutes or until lightly golden on top • Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before cutting into 12 pieces, do not remove the pieces from the pan yet or they will fall apart! • When the flapjacks have completely cooled gently remove them from the pan • Serve at room temperature or store in an air tight container until required.

DATE AND COCONUT ROULADE (MAKES 12-15 SLICES) Mum’s infamous ‘Khajur Roll’ recipe with an added chocolate twist from me! I can remember this delicious, guilt free sweet being served up at family parties from ever since I was tiny – everybody loved it as it contained no added sugar or fat, just an intense amount of flavourful dried fruit and nuts. It’s such a versatile recipe – not only can you substitute in any type of nut you like but it can also be made with most varieties of dried fruits or even extracts. Here, in true Devnaa form, I’ve added some dark chocolate to complement the fruitiness of the dates.

INGREDIENTS: 250g Dried, Pitted Dates 3 tblsp Ground Pistachio Nuts (coarse) 3 tblsp Ground Almonds (coarse) 2 tblsp Roughly Chopped Dark Chocolate 5 tblsp Desiccated Coconut

METHOD: • Crumble the dates into a microwave safe bowl and heat for 1 minute to 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until the dates are soft enough to mash • Mash with the back of a spoon • Beat in the nuts followed by the chocolate • Lay a sheet of cling film on your work surface and turn the date mixture out on top • Use your hands to gently press out an even rectangle of the mixture, about 1cm thick, keeping the edges as straight as you can • Sprinkle the coconut on top • Use the cling film to help you carefully roll the mixture into a tight roulade – start from either the right or left edge and slowly wrap the mixture over and around itself • Wrap the roulade tightly in the cling film and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour • Cut the roulade into 1cm slices • Garnish with more coconut if desired and serve at room temperature.

indian inspired confectionery

indian inspired confectionery

MANGO & MINT CHOCOLATE CHIP CRÈME BRULEE (MAKES 4) Mangoes are the national fruit of India and most definitely my personal favourite fruit! That said, only Kesar Mangoes from India will do and sadly they are only available from around May to early August every year. On a happier note the tinned pulp is widely available in Indian grocery shops all year around and whilst it’s not quite the same thing it still provides that delicious mango flavour. This after dinner recipe works really well with the tinned pulp if fresh mangoes aren’t available and mint and dark chocolate balance the sweetness perfectly- the mint actually seems to bring out an extra depth in the mango which is just wonderful and exotic!

INGREDIENTS: 4 tblsp Custard Powder 4 tblsp Caster Sugar 570ml Mango Pulp (fresh or tinned) 570ml Whole Milk 4 tblsp Dark Chocolate (roughly chopped) 4 tblsp Granulated Sugar 2 tsp Peppermint Extract

METHOD: • Pre heat oven to gas mark 2/150C/300F • Place 4 individual portion ramekins inside a larger baking dish • Keep ready some boiling water • Add the custard powder and caster sugar to a large mixing bowl • Combine the mango pulp and whole milk in a saucepan and mix well until completely emulsified • Add 4 tablespoons of the mango mixture to the custard powder mixture and mix into a smooth paste • Heat the remaining mango mixture in the saucepan over a medium heat • When the mixture is hot but not boiling carefully whisk it into the custard powder mixture • Whisk thoroughly and then transfer the entire mixture back into the saucepan • Heat until the custard comes to the boil and is visibly thickened (enough to coat the back of a spoon • Divide the custard between the four ramekins and scatter a tablespoon of chocolate chips over each one • Fill the large baking dish with the boiling water until it reaches half way up the sides of the ramekins inside • Bake for about 15 minutes or until the custard appears to have set • Cool completely and then place the ramekins in the refrigerator and allow to chill overnight • Just before serving combine the granulated sugar with the mint extract and sprinkle over the tops of the chilled custards • Caramelise the sugar under a very hot grill or using a chef’s blowtorch if you have one • Serve immediately.

indian inspired confectionery

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