Strawberry Cobbler

Fruit desserts have always been my favourite, especially if that fruit is in season! I always wait eagerly for the strawberry season. One of the many perks of being in Pune is the proximity to Mahabaleshwar, which accounts for nearly 75- 85% of strawberries produced in India. Pune gets fresh supply of these red beauties daily. 

This tart fruit was introduced to India by the British. Mahabaleshwar was developed as a hill station during the British Raj and was the summer capital of Bombay Presidency. The cool climate and red soil benefitted the growth of strawberries here and hence this entire Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar belt is now famous for the production of strawberry along with other berries like mulberry, gooseberry and raspberry.  Mapro, Mala and Manama have set up their big centres for manufacturing of preserves, jams, toppings, crushes etc., in the vicinity. Continue reading “Strawberry Cobbler”

Yule Log – Perfect Cake to Welcome Santa!!!

One of my favourite festivals is just around the corner. I love Christmas because it is filled with the warmth of the loved ones against the chill in the air, it is filled with festivity and positivity and last but not the least it is a festival for the sweet tooth! One such cake that I love baking and decorating is the Yule log or the Buche De Noel as it is called in the European countries. This cake is actually a swiss roll or a roulade made from sponge filled with a sweet filling and decorated to resemble a log of wood. Continue reading “Yule Log – Perfect Cake to Welcome Santa!!!”

Ande Ka Funda!

Eggs have been one of the essential ingredients not only in baking and cooking but also in other walks of life ! Right as toddlers we have been listening to this nursery rhyme ‘Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall…’ where Humpty Dumpty is a personified egg. Eggs inspire philosophy as can be seen by the use of phrases like ‘Sunny side up’  and ‘all eggs in the same basket’ etc. They are a big part of nutrition ! They have managed to classify humans into eggitarian over and above vegetarian and non vegetarians! And if that wasn’t enough, the egg has touched geometry as well where it has a whole shape named after itself – yes the egg-shape!!!Last but not the least, egg has been party to this age old debate still raging that whether the eggs have come first or the hen! All in all it would be difficult to imagine life without eggs, especially in the culinary world!

It is very important to understand the role played by eggs in the culinary and baking world. Continue reading “Ande Ka Funda!”

Is it a Jam or a Marmalade?

“Urgh!!!, Mom, whats with this jam? It just wouldn’t spread! ”, cried out my younger one from the dining table. “And where is the fruit in it?”, added my elder daughter. Both of them were at the dining table buttering their toast and trying in vain to spread the store bought jam over the toast. Now one has got to agree that toast with butter tastes mighty good. But toast with butter and jam is quite scrumptious! And my daughters were used to having home made jams and marmalades made by their granny. My mom-in-law would make really good jams and marmalades with seasonal fruits available like strawberry, orange, mangos, pineapples etc.

Jams and marmalades were introduced to India by British. In Maharashtrian cuisine, we have our own variants called Muramba (मुरंबा) made by boiling sugar syrups to hard ball (पक्का पाक) stage and then adding the fruit to it. There is a very fine line of difference between a jam and a marmalade. According to the dictionary meaning jam is a preserve of whole, cut or slightly crushed fruit, boiled with sugar. And marmalade is a preserve made by boiling the pulp and rind of citrus fruits, especially oranges or lemon, with sugar. So the difference happens to be the type of fruit and the use of rind. Hence, it would be safe to say that marmalade uses the fruits that have very fragrant rind or zest like the citrus fruits. However, in jams also we use the juice of lemon to counterbalance the sweetness of the fruit used. Continue reading “Is it a Jam or a Marmalade?”