Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Spiced Pumpkin Rolls for Thanksgiving | We Knead to Bake # 33

Its autumn and season of apples and pumpkins. Thanksgiving which is celebrated on 26th November every year in the US makes full use of autumn produce - pumpkins, orange sweet potatoes, apples, cranberries etc. So its only apt that we decided to bake spiced pumpkin bread rolls to ring in autumn for We Knead to Bake by Aparna. Of course though pumpkin is available year round in India but still its the season of pumpkin and Jack O lanterns.The recipe adapted from BeyondKimchee is super simple and the bread made with and shaped like a pumpkin makes it gourmet.  This makes it real special.


Warm Milk: 1/3 cup
Honey : 2 tbsp
Instant Yeast: 2 tsp

Pureed pumpkin: 8 tbsp

Melted Butter: 1.5 tbsp

Egg: 1 OR Ener G egg : 1.5 pkd tsp + 3 tbsp of Water

All Purpose Flour: 1.5 cups + 4 tbsp more
Cinnamon: 1/2 tsp
Ground Dry Ginger: 1 tsp
Allspice Powdered : 1/2 tsp
Salt: 1 tsp


In a bowl, add in warm milk. Add honey and yeast and mix well and leave aside for 5 minutes until it froths. 

In a processor bowl, add in flour, salt and spice powders and blend well. Add in the yeast mix, pumpkin puree , melted butter and egg.

Knead well until you have asmooth elastic dough thats sticky but which pull away from the side of the bowl. You can add more flour if needed.

Turn it out onto a counter dusted with flour and knead with hand for another minute. Shape it into a big ball and place it in a greased bowl, turning around to coat well. 

Loosely cover and let the dough rise for an hour or so until double in volume.

Gently deflate the dough on a dusted counter and divide it into 8-10 small but equal sized pieces. Shape each piece into a round ball. Flatten it slightly and then using sharp scissors make 8 cuts at equal distances from each other from the edge of the ball to the centre, leaving the centre uncut to resemble a flower.

Place these flowers on a lined/greased baking sheet and let these rise or puff up a bit for about 45 minutes or so.Poke a deep hole in the centre of the flowers to insert a "stem". Brush the flowers with milk or egg wash. Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. 

Take out the rolls and brush with melted butter  or honey for more shine. Cool and insert halved pecans into the hole for "stem". You can also use cloves, spring onion greens or celery stalks instead of pecans as stems.

A simple spiced healthy bread shaped like autumnal pumpkin. Firm crust and soft crumb.  A regular sandwich bread which is made gourmet. The breads turns soft the next day. You can actually make it more spicier or more sweeter by altering the spices and adding more honey or sweetness.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Chilli Cheese Corn Bread | Baking Partners October '15

Diwali came and went in between rains. It was almost a wet Diwali  but it was nice to simply sit and chat doing nothing. Though I made regular sweets I didn't touch my computer or look at my blog those days. Now that one festival is over, we can slowly think of cooking clicking and posting about another festival which we don not celebrate much ieThanksgiving. 

I am more interested in experimenting with various festive dishes from other cuisines. This time  Southern style corn bread was suggested by Suja of KitchenCorner for Baking Partners by Swathi. The recipe is adapted from Weight Watchers CookBook and 1001 Great recipes around the world, Culinary Institute New York. As usual I tried the eggless  version replacing eggs with Ener G egg replacer and it came out right on time pretty good but  read on...

Makai ka Aatta / Yellow Cornflour: 1.5 cups
All Purpose Flour: 1 cup
Baking Powder: 2 tsp
Salt: 1/4 tsp
Brown Sugar: 2 tbsp

Egg: 2 OR Ener G Egg: 1 tbsp pkd Powder whipped with 4-5 tbsp of water
Vegetable Oil: 4 tbsp
Buttermilk: 1 cup
Milk: 1/2 cup

Carrot grated/shredded: 1/3 cup (optional)
Green chillies : 1-2 minced
Corn: 1/2 cup
Cheddar cheese : 1 cup/shredded

Mix cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt and sugar and set aside.

Beat in eggs and blend in oil,milk and buttermilk. Add in the dry flour mix and fold in the carrot,chillies, corn and cheese.

Pour in a greased 8" pan and bake in a preheated oven at 400F/ 200C for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. The bread will be light brown and crispy in the edges.If you have a skillet, heat in butter in it on a stovetop. And bake the bread in same skillet. 

The bread looked perfect from outside. Its taste was yum but texture was something I was not happy with. It was not light fluffy texture. But slightly heavier/thicker I  felt. Taste was excellent what with corn and carrot and chillies. But may be these made it thicker or pastier I felt. It was cooked perfectly, the tester in the middle had come out clean. 

Normally when I replace eggs some baked dishes take more time. This time also I had anticipated it , but the bread was done in exactly 30 minutes and top started browning a bit more that I wanted and hence I had pulled it out. But I let it cool completely in the pan and before cutting it.Next time definitely I will be playing around with the temperature and different ingredients and spices. 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Sweet Potato Peanut Bisque | Soup Saga Continues

Now that rains have decided to show up (better late than never!) , I thought I would post another soup or bisque. A bisque is a creamy and thick pureed soup made using seafood and these days even vegetables or fruit. Bisque is usually a term associated with seafood though the veggie ones are not behind in taste and wholesomeness.

This time I tried out another bisque made using sweetpotato and peanutbutter. I was searching for African recipes when I chanced upon this recipe here which sounded good and though sceptical I tried it out without much changes and found it very filling and warm.

Sweet Potato : around 3-4 cups chopped

Olive Oil: 2 tsp +
Onion: 1 small chopped
Garlic: 2 small cloves  minced

Green Chillies: 1-2 medium size chopped

Fresh Ginger: 2 tsp minced
Allspice: 1/2 tsp ground

Vegetable Stock/ Water: 1 cup +as needed
Peanut Butter: 6-8 tbsp as per preference

Salt &Pepper: as per taste

Cook the sweetpotatoes either in steamer or microwave. You can even roast the sweetpotato and then chop it. Choose the sweetpotato accordingly to get roughly 3-4 cups.Peel and chop the sweet potatoes  and keep aside.

Heat oil in a deep bowl and saute onion until its transparent and start to brown. Add in minced garlic and saute till raw smell goes. Then add in the green chillies, ginger, allspice and the tomato juice. Bring the mix  to boil and let it cook for another 10 minutes on medium heat.

Add half of the cooked sweetpotato to the pot and continue  cooking. Add the rest to a blender or food processer along with peanut butter and veg stock/water and puree until smooth. Add this puree to tho the soup pot and let it continue to simmer for few more minutes.

Adjust salt and pepper and other seasonings and serve warm optionally garnished.

A simple soup which is very filling. You can thin it down with more stock/water or even tomato juice as per taste.Peanut butter leaves a hint of taste in it and never overpowers. We get a mix of sweet potato and peanut flavour from the soup.Maybe you can add more peanut butter if you so prefer as per your taste.

 The sweetpotato pieces added  give something to chew or bite into. But its my opinion that you can actually puree the whole of the cooked sweet potato and add to the soup.The soup will be very thick though. Instead of peanut butter you can go with peanuts also though I am yet to try it.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Irish BarmBrack or Speckled Bread | We Knead to Bake #32

After spicy quiche, its time for sweet nutty fruity barmbrack. This month Aparna had chosen Irish Barmbrack or speckled bread for the We Knead to bake challenge. A tasty sweet bread it turned out to be with the dry fruits soaked in "tea".
Thats true. Barmbrack or Bairin Breac or simply brack is a dry fruit bread where there the dry fruits are soaked in tea and then added to yeasted and spiced dough. It is actually a part of Irish Halloween tradition and a slice goes very well tea. You can enjoy it buttered or simply toasted or just warm from the oven.

Chopped dried fruits: 3/4 cup
Strong Black Tea: 1.5 cups

All Purpose Flour: 3.5- 4 cups + more for dusting
Instant Yeast: 2tsp
Granulated Sugar: 2/3 cup
Salt: 1/4 tsp
Ground Cinnamon: 1/2 tsp
Ground Ginger: 1/2 tsp
Powdered Allspice: 1/4 tsp

Soft Unsalted Butter: 1 tbsp or 30 gm 

Egg: 1 or Ener G Egg: 1.5 pkd tsp of Ener G + 4 tbsp of water

Milk: 8-12 tbsp to make 1 cup of milky tea.


Soak the dry fruits in hot strong tea overnight or atleast 4 hours. When done, drain them but don't throw away the tea. To this tea add enough hot milk to make a cup.

In a bowl or processor, mix together the flour, yeast,sugar, salt and the spices. Add in soft butter and egg and whisk/beat well. 

Add in the milky tea and knead together to get a slightly sticky dough. Add in enough flour and continue kneading to get an almost nonsticky dough. Transfer the dough onto a dusted counter and flatten it out.

Sprinkle the drained dried fruits and fold in half and fold once again. Basically you need to incorporate the plumped up dry fruits into the bread dough and ensure they are evenly dispersed.

Shape the dough into a ball and place in a greased container. 

Let it rise covered with a plastic wrap  until doubled in volume for almost 1.5 hours.

Gently knead the dough and divide into 2 portions. Shape into round balls  and place on greased baking sheets or even loaf tins if using.

Let these rise for another hour or so until they puff up. Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for about 45 minutes until they are golden brown and done. Take out cool on a wire racks and then jump in.

Soft crumb with a firm crust. Sandwich bread texture except that here the crumb is sweeter and little crumbly.
You can warm it in the oven or toast it and you can experience the aromas of spices taking your  moods to a new height and a warmth around you. Wash it down with hot tea and your evening or afternoon is done. Perfect winter bread.

Except for butter and milk the bread is vegan friendly. You can replace butter with vegan substitutes and even avoid milk and go with black tea to make it completely vegan. 

Lets see what else Aparna is talking about the bread.Hop over to her post.

Thanks for visiting my Blog

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