My brother-in-law - A.S, works abroad and had come for a month's break in mid May to reunite with his family and catch up on lost time. He is leaving tonight loaded with happy memories that will keep him company till October or November and then, he will be back for another month to refill his cup of joy! I call it refueling the spirit:).
It has become a tradition for us (P's mother and his siblings with families) to gather over lunch or dinner often during the time he spends in India. On Sunday P and I had everybody over for dinner at our place - we were twenty in all, and my mother-in-law was tickled pink, her face shone with happiness and pride - reminding me of Mother Goose - as she surveyed her entire brood gathered together under one roof!
I was busy the whole day preparing our lunch and then the quite elaborate spread. On the menu, we had no starters
as we discovered last time that it usually means injustice to the mains especially, if it is a dinner for P's family - they start trooping in only after 9 O'clock!
For the main course we had phulkas
(lauki(bottle gourd) kofta and paneer(cottage cheese) kofta), dal makhani
constituting the North Indian spread, and steamed rice
, chinna vengaya sambar
(spicy concoction of lentils and small purple shallots), and puzhukku
to constitute the South Indian Tamilian spread. The dessert was the first thing I made that day as I needed to be in a cheery frame of mind and also because I wanted it chilled and looking good. Can you believe? We actually forgot to serve the dessert!! After all my careful planning to make it look as luscious as it was, I was disappointed that the dessert never made it to the table but they made very nice eats late last night and early this morning - quite making me forget all the disappointment:)!
I do not generally spend much time on my desserts. I usually make custards/ice creams
, scoop them into nice looking bowls with matching spoons, place them on a tray and ask Jr.H to serve them. It is only the tryst with blogging and introduction to some tasty dessert blogs that I thought of trying out a bit of beautification myself and I was pretty thrilled:).
Apricot Mousse Cake OR Verrine
The recipe is simple and involves only veganizing the vegetarian mousse:). I made a simple vegan cake with strawberry crush
and topped it with vegan mousse and fruits
. I feel using only tofu makes desserts flat (in taste and texture) so I blended it with a few cashews (nutritional information)
and custard made in almond milk
. The result is a creamy mousse that doesn't give a hint of tofu and you will definitely not miss the taste of milk in this thanks to the richness of cashews and the apricot puree. I used plain shot glasses to serve the dessert so it is more a verrine than a mousse
I leave it to you to decide what it is! Did not Shakespeare say "A rose .....as sweet!". True:)Recipe: Vegan Apricot Mousse Cake OR is it a verrine?
Yield: Serves 15-20 if served in shot glassesBottom layer: Vegan strawberry crush cake
Maida/All purpose flour (sieved) - 1 cup
Baking powder - 1 tsp.
Baking soda - 1/4 tsp.
A pinch of salt
Strawberry crush - 1/4 cup (I used Mapro)
Soymilk/Coconut milk/Rice Milk/Any nut milk - 1/2 to 3/4 cup ( I used cashew milk)
Plain custard powder - 1tbsp.
Vanilla from one stick
Any mild oil - 2 tbsp. (I used sunflower oil)
Sugar - 1 tbsp. (remember that the crush is very sweet and that we do not have sweet tooth!)
Vinegar - 1/4 tsp.Method for cake base:
Set the oven to pre-heat at 160 deg. Cel. Lightly grease and dust with flour any flat pan at least 8x8" wide.
Sieve the baking powder, baking soda and the flour together and set aside in a wide bowl.
Mix the custard powder in the milk. Add the oil, sugar and scrape the vanilla. Heat on low, stirring all the while till the ingredients come together. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Add the vinegar to the cooled custard blend and mix.
Make a well in the dry mixture and pour the wet blend in two helpings. Mix gently till completely incorporated. You will find the bubbles already forming as the vinegar reacts with the soda.
into prepared square pan. Tap lightly to spread the mixture into a thin layer as it has to form only the bottom layer. My square pan measures 8"x8", and my cake turned out about a little over a cm thick.
Bake in the centre of the oven for about 20 minutes. My new oven seems to be very different from the old one. I had to reduce the temperature to 150 after 10 minutes to prevent over browning.
Cool completely and turn out on a chopping board or any flat surface. Cut into circles as wide as the bottom of the shot glasses. I had cutters that were almost the same size.Second layer - The apricot mousseIngredients:
Whole fresh ripe apricots - nearly 250g (About 12)
Silken tofu - 3tbsp.
Cashews soaked in just enough water for about 10 minutes - 8
Almond milk/plain soy milk (I had almond powder, 1tbsp., which I heated with about a cup of water) - 1 cup
Caster sugar - I used enough to adjust the sweetness after blending everything - approx. 3tbsp.
Custard powder - 1tbsp.Method:
Blanch the apricots in hot water and peel the skin with a knife. Remove the pits and puree the apricots. Set aside.
Dissolve the custard powder in milk. Add the sugar. Heat the mixture on medium fire, stirring all the while till homogeneous. Cool.
Blitz the tofu, cashews and custard till completely smooth. Tofu tends to take a while but it eventually happens. You should not feel any bits of cashews.
Add the apricot puree and blitz till blended. Taste and adjust sugar if needed.3rd layer: Chocolate sauce
I did not measure but it must have been about 2 big cubes of bitter chocolates broken to bits
Vegan butter - 1tsp.
A huge helping of silken tofu - maybe a heaped tbsp.
About 2tbsp. of hot waterMethod:
Melt the chocolate with butter in a double boiler or heat it in spurts of 10s in microwave at low power. Blend.
Blitz the tofu, cashews, hot water and chocolate together till very smooth. It will take some time and you will have to scrape down the sides three or four times in between as tofu does not break down all that easily. Once smooth it will have a soft and smooth texture.Assembling:
Cut the cake into rings that fit snugly into the bottom of the glasses (mine were a little smaller). Top with a tablespoon of apricot mousse. Let the mousse set for an hour before topping it with a small helping of the chocolate mousse. Refrigerate until you need to serve.
Garnish with the fruits at the time of serving.
Apricot Mousse Cake OR VerrineFruits - I garnished at the time of serving:
I was not left with any apricots for garnishing as I did not really think of it - I meant to scoop as usual:)! As an afterthought I used mangoes (kesar variety)
instead. Cut the mango
balancing the fruit vertically, on either side of the seed. Take a cookie cutter or any circular sharp object, a size smaller than the mouth of the shot glass and make two deep indents on one cheek of the mango. Scoop the flesh carefully and slice into as many thin circles as possible. Slice a banana/elaichi kela
(a local variety of banana) very thin and slit one side of a firm ripe plum
to add a contrasting colour. A hint of colour adds so much to an otherwise simple dessert:)!
Place two slices of mango followed by a few of the banana slices and top with the plum.
My daughter, Jr.H, loves black backgrounds so she insisted that I should try it out. In fact she brought out a black dress of hers and positioned the glasses. It was her idea that she would lift off some of the mousse while I took the snap. This was the result, apart from her eating up the contents of the glass:):