Tag Archives: cinnamon

Chai Chocolate Truffles

13 Dec

Chai chocolate truffles

I have taken longer than usual to post a recipe as I was en-route to India, followed by an onslaught of jetlag and a plethora of friends and family to catch up with. Amidst all this frenzy, I am basking in the immense pampering that comes with visiting my parents’ and relishing the diverse foods of Mumbai that I so miss in DC. Not only do I miss the food, but also the importance that is placed on all meals, specifically breakfast.

Breakfasts are an elaborate affair in most Indian households, especially at my parents’ place. While the menu is ever evolving, a staple at their breakfast table is an abundance of heart-warming cups of masala chai. Masala chai is a tea drink prepared by brewing black tea with a mixture of aromatic Indian spices and herbs. The combination of spices and herbs may vary but green cardamom and ground cinnamon are common ingredients.

At breakfast, earlier this week while I was sipping contently on my second cup of masala chai my husband broached the subject of making chocolate truffles. I am always looking to switch up flavorings for chocolate truffles and the apt timing of our conversation lead to developing this chocolate truffle recipe. These luscious truffles melt in your mouth, revealing a magnificent synchronization of earthy masala chai and creamy, decadent chocolate. Try these at your own risk – you will probably pack in more truffles than you serve your friends and family!

Chai Chocolate Truffles Recipe
Yield: 24 truffles (depends on size)
Time: Preparation 30 minutes; Refrigeration 18 hours

Ingredients:
½ cup heavy whipping cream
2.5 tablespoons honey
2 black tea bags (I used Lipton Yellow Label Tea)
6 green cardamom pods, bruised
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon powder
8 oz good quality semisweet chocolate, cut up into bite size chunks
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

Cocoa powder for dusting (Optional)
Crushed or chopped pistachios for coating (Optional)

Method:
1) Place the bite-sized chunks of chocolates in a medium glass bowl and set aside.
2) In a medium saucepan, heat the cream along with the tea bags, cardamom pods, cinnamon powder and honey on medium-high heat, until it reaches a boil. Once it reaches a boil remove from the heat and set aside for 30 minutes. Squeeze the tea-bags to get all the flavor out of them. It takes about 30 minutes for the chai flavors to infuse into the cream.
3) Re-boil the cream mixture and remove from the heat once it comes up to a boil.
4) Using a mesh strainer, pour the boiling cream mixture over the chocolate chunks and let it rest for 2 minutes. Discard the teabags and cardamom pods. Use a whisk and slowly start mixing the chocolate and cream until you get a smooth mixture. It is important to do this slowly to ensure that minimal air bubbles enter the mixture.
5) Now add the butter and whisk well, till it is fully incorporated. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 12 hours.
6) Take a large bowl and fill it with cold water and ice cubes. Remove the chocolate mixture from the refrigerator.
7) Dip your hands in the ice-bath and then dry them completely. Roll the chocolate mixture into one inch size balls. Note: I use a rounded tablespoon measure to ensure that all the truffles are even in size. I usually need to repeat the step of dipping my hands in the ice-bath and drying them 1-2 times in the middle of rolling out 24 truffles. Body heat melts the ganache and makes it difficult to form even balls. The ice bath step helps reduce this. This is a messy and tedious but extremely rewarding process.
8) Place the rolled balls in a serving platter and refrigerate for another 6 hours.
9) After 6 hours (or more) remove the chocolate truffles from the refrigerator and coat them with cocoa powder or crushed pistachios.
10) Refrigerate the chocolate truffles for at least another hour after coating them and before serving.

Apple Turnovers

31 Oct

Photo credit: Sneha (www.prettyinpic.com)

What’s more gratifying than a slice of warm apple pie and a cup of coffee on a crisp fall day? A portable apple pie that you can grab and take with you on your morning commute!

Growing up in India, I never quite understood the notion of “As American as Apple Pie”. In fact, over a decade ago, desserts in India consisted of Indian sweets, cakes, pastries and brownies. Spotting a pie in a dessert buffet or in a local bakery was quite uncommon. It was not until I moved to the east coast of USA that I understood the concepts of “fall baking”, “abundant apples in fall”, “semi-homemade pies” and “As American as apple pie”.  Over my years here, I have developed a new-found admiration for a warm slice of pie on a chilly autumn day – especially for a slice of apple pie.

This apple turnover is in essentially a large, handy slice of apple pie that can be enjoyed anywhere and at anytime, sans silverware. Similar to a traditional apple pie filling, the apples are cooked with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cooking firm and tart Granny Smith apples with the brown sugar creates a balanced flavor; one that’s not too sweet and just a tad bit tart. Wrap this flavorful filling in flakey and buttery puff pastry and you have an apple pie that is befits our hectic lives in the 21st century.

Apple Turnovers Recipe
Recipe adapted from All Recipe’s – Apple Turnovers
Yields: 8 turnovers
Time: Active: 20 minutes Inactive: 25 minutes

Ingredients:
½ a lemon, juiced
4 cups of water
4 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon + 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, divided
1 tablespoon cornstarch (mixed into 1 tablespoon of water)
1 package (2 sheets of frozen puff pastry), thawed (Recommended: Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry)
1 large egg
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon powdered sugar (See Note)

Note:

  • You can make powdered sugar by grinding regular granulated sugar in a coffee grinder, spice grinder or small food processor.

Directions
1) Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
1) In a large bowl add the lemon juice to the 4 cups of water and mix well. Place the sliced apples in this water to prevent them from browning.
2) Place the butter in a large skillet and melt it over medium heat.
3) Drain the apples thoroughly and pat them dry with a kitchen towel. Add them to the skillet once the butter has melted. Cook and stir for about 2 minutes.
4) Add the brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the cornstarch (that has already been dissolved in water) to the skillet and mix well. Cook for another 1-2 minutes, or until sauce has thickened. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
5) Whisk the egg with the 1 tablespoon of milk to create an egg wash. Set it aside.
6) Unfold the puff pastry sheets, and repair any cracks by pressing them back together. You want to cut 4 equal sized squares from each sheet. The easiest way to do this is to trim the extra puff pastry of each sheet to have one large square and then cut each trimmed sheet into 4 equal squares.
7) Spoon the apples onto the center of each square. Fold over the puff pastry from one corner to another into a triangle shape.  Press the edges together to seal. Place turnovers on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, leaving about 1 inch between them. Brush each turnover with a little egg wash.
8) Bake for 22-25 minutes in the preheated oven, until turnovers are puffed and lightly browned.
9) While the turnovers are baking, combine 1 tablespoon of sugar with 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon. This creates a cinnamon sugar.
10) Once the turnovers are baked, remove them from the oven and sprinkle them with the cinnamon sugar.

%d bloggers like this: