Pastry 101 : Choux

So far in our French pastry odyssey, we have looked at shortcrust and puff pastries. This week, we complete the trilogy with what is perhaps the most enigmatic of the three. This week, let’s wrap things up with a look at choux (pronounced shoo) pastry or pâte à choux. A choux dough contains the usual…

Pastry 101 : Puff

Last time, we looked at shortcrust pastry and its varieties, along with an overview of French pastry creams. Let’s now move on to our second pastry, puff pastry or Pâte Feuilletée, the base for local favourites like chicken patties and projapoti biskoot. Puff pastry feels magical, almost alive. When baked, it increased to upto eight…

Pastry 101 : Shortcrust

The word “pastry” has a different meaning in India and the West, which confuses a lot of beginners. While we use the term pastry to refer to cakes filled and frosted with cream, the term is used differently in the West, and infact, has two meanings. Pastry in the West can refer to the final…

The Pud Thickens (Part 3)

The Old and the New We’ve reached the final part of this interesting trilogy, a survey of thickening methods using five “puddings” as our guide. We’ve explored the phirni, the panna cotta and an array of baked custards. This time, we will look at two more desserts, one very old and another relatively new, which…

The Pud Thickens (Part 2)

The Custard Continuum Last time, we explored the role of starches and gelatin as thickening agents, primarily in the context of dessert. This week, we will focus on the egg. We’ve already talked about eggs in some detail in our Eggs 101 series. This time though, the focus will be on its role in custard…

The Pud Thickens (Part 1)

Starches and Gels There are a number of ways to thicken a sauce, soup or curry. Thickening helps intensify flavour and provide a better texture; a creamy clam chowder is definitely much more appealing than a watery bowl with bits of seafood floating in it. There are a number of possible thickening agents the resourceful…

Christmas, Calcutta, and Cake

Yesterday, we examined the basics of cake science, understanding the role each ingredient plays in the making of a simple pound cake. With the basics sorted, let’s crank the level up a notch. I like to think of Christmas cake as a glorified pound cake, since the technique and science remains the same, with the…

Say Hello To Halwa

It’s starting to get pretty cold here in Rohtak, and ’tis the season for some hearty comfort food. And for someone with a sweet tooth, nothing shouts comfort food like the good old halwa. Although variants of halwa (or halua as we Bongs would call it) exist back home as well, it is a very…

Mishti : The Tale of Oil

So far in our series, we have talked about sweets that involve reducing milk or cooking chhana in a sugar syrup. We have talked about the basic milk-based desserts like rabri and payesh, and the two heavyweights of chhana-based sweets, the sandesh and the rosogolla. It’s time to step up the game. There is another…

Mishti : The Tale of Chhana

Last time, we started our exploration of Bengali sweets with a look at the milk-based desserts, rabdi and payesh. This time, we move on to chhana, derived from milk and the starting point for two of the most popular Bengali sweets. “The name Sandesh is mentioned in medieval Bengali literature, including Krittibas’ Ramayana and lyrics…