Life Of My Chocolate pie/Chocolate Caramel Tart

Rachael from pizzarossa was our lovely June 2013 Daring Bakers’ host and she had us whipping up delicious pies in our kitchen! Cream pies, fruit pies, chocolate pies, even crack pies! There’s nothing like pie!
Rachael gave us four pie recipes to choose from and I decided to do the utterly delicious Caramel Tart!
Caramel Tart is a sweet tart, filled with soft Caramel & silky chocolate mousse. It is found in New South Wales and Queensland in Australia. They are sometimes topped with whipped cream or drizzled with chocolate.

Servings: 8
Active time: 1 hour altogether
Baking time: 35 minutes altogether
Cooling time: approx. 2 hours altogether

Pâte sablée
1 large egg yolk
5 tablespoons (75 ml) (70 gm) (2½ oz) granulated or powdered sugar, as you prefer
1¾ cups (420 ml) (250 gm) (8¾ oz) all-purpose flour
pinch salt
9 tablespoons (1 stick + 1 tablespoon) (125 gm) (4 ½ oz) cold butter, diced
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon (50 ml) cold water

For the caramel

7 tablespoons (105 ml) (100 gm) (3½ oz) granulated sugar
7 tablespoons (100ml) whole cream, hot

For the chocolate mousse

2 large eggs
7 tablespoons (100ml) whole milk
1/3 cup (80 ml) (75 gm) (2½ oz) powdered sugar (optional)
13 tablespoons (200ml) whole cream
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons (280 ml) (200 gm) (7 oz) dark chocolate, broken into pieces

Pâte sablée
• Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4. Lightly grease a 9″/24cm or 10″/26cm tart pan, ideally a fluted metal one with a removable bottom.
• In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolk and sugar together with a teaspoon of the water until pale and fluffy. Set aside.
• Sift the flour and salt together into a mound on a work surface.
• Scatter the diced butter over the top of the flour. Quickly toss the butter in the flour so it’s all coated, then, using your fingers, rub it in until it resembles breadcrumbs. Keep repeating the operation until it has the consistency of sand.
• Gather the flour mixture into a mound and make a well in the center.
Pour the egg mixture and the rest of the water into the well.
• Working quickly, incorporate the wet ingredients into the flour, first with your fingertips then with a bench scraper until just mixed but not brought together.
• Gently gather dough together into a rough ball between your palms. If it stays together, it is sufficiently moist. If it doesn’t stay together, add a touch more water and repeat the process.
• Using the palm of your hand, push away from you to smear the dough across the work surface, gather it up and repeat until it comes together into a smooth, soft ball. You aren’t kneading, you are using the smearing action to bind the elements of the dough without developing the gluten in the flour. The dough ball shouldn’t spring back when pressed.
• Lightly flour your work surface and lightly roll the dough out to about 3mm thick in a circle to fit your pan. Press the dough gently into the pan, prick all over the bottom with a fork.
• Line the tart pan with baking paper and fill with dry beans or pie weights and bake until set, around 9 minutes. Remove pie weights and paper and bake another 6 minutes, until dry.
• Remove the pastry from the oven and allow to cool in the pan. Leave the oven on.

For the caramel
• Spread the sugar evenly across the bottom of a small, heavy-based, non-coated saucepan (it needs to be metallic so you can see the color). Heat over a medium-low heat without stirring until the sugar starts to melt and becomes liquid around the edges. Once about a quarter of it has melted, gently stir continuously with a wooden spoon or heat-proof spatula until it turns a deep amber color, a few minutes depending on how high the heat is.
• Remove from heat and very slowly and carefully pour all (100ml) of the hot cream into the caramel, stirring continuously – it will splutter and steam so be very careful as it is extremely hot. The cream needs to hot and poured very slowly, otherwise the caramel will seize. Keep stirring until it stops bubbling and is well combined then set aside to cool.

For the chocolate mousse
• In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs together with the milk (and powdered sugar, if using).
• In a small heavy-based saucepan, bring all (200ml) of the cream to a boil.
• Remove cream from heat and add the broken chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted completely and the mixture is smooth. Let cool a few minutes.
• Pour the chocolate mixture into the egg and milk mixture and stir gently with a spatula to obtain a smooth cream.
• Spread the cooled caramel in the bottom of the cooked tart shell.
• Gently pour the chocolate cream over the caramel so you don’t disturb it.
• Place the tart into the hot oven and bake for 30 minutes, until the filling has set but is still wobbly in the center.
• Remove the tart from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature. If using a tart pan with removable bottom, unmold before serving.

Storage & Freezing Instructions
Chocolate and caramel tart can be kept in the fridge, covered with plastic wrap, for 3 days. It is unsuitable for freezing.


Lemon Cake with Lemon Buttercream Frosting

It was my precious daughter’s 4th Birthday couple of days back. I decided to make a Lemon flavored Rosé cake with Lemon Buttercream Frosting. This soft, moist Lemon cake recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart with little variations. Here goes the recipe..

Flour 2 1/2 cup
Sugar 1 1/2 cup
Butter 1 cup
Eggs 2
Egg yolk 3
Baking powder 1/2 tsp
Baking soda 1/2 tsp
Salt 1/2 tsp
Lemon juice 3 tbsp
Lemon zest 1 tbsp
Butter 1 cup
Vanilla extract 1 tsp
Buttermilk 1 cup

•Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 8 x 2″ cake pans, tapping out the excess.

• In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon zest.

• In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar until light and fluffy.

• With mixer on low, add eggs and yolks(one at a time),lemon juice and vanilla extract.

• Add the dry ingredients to the wet along with buttermilk. Mix it gently until its thoroughly combined.

• Divide batter between pans. Smooth tops.

• Bake until cakes pull away from sides of pans, 32 to 35 minutes. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Run a knife around edges of pans and invert cakes onto a wire rack.


Lemon Buttercream Frosting

Butter 1 1/2 Cup
Icing Sugar 4 1/2 Cup
Lemon Juice 1 tbsp
Vanilla extract 1 tsp
Salt pinch

Cake Assembly
• Cut each cake in to two slices using a serrated knife or cake leveler.
• With the cut side facing down, layer the cake with frosting in between.
• Give a crumb coat. Let it sit in refrigerator for 30 mins.
• Add any color to remaining frosting and pipe roses with a 1M tip.


• Rose cake is ready!! 🙂

Sending this recipe to Cook Yellow Event announced at Merry Tummy.

Vegetable Cutlet ( No Fry )

Cutlet! Small balls of filling be it vegetable or meat is coated with bread crumbs and deep fried in hot oil. It can also be pan fried with little oil.This crispy vegetarian cutlet recipe will make a delightful evening snack and is equally good in a sandwich for lunch or dinner.
Here is the recipe for a simple healthier version of vegetable cutlet.

Cumin 1/4 tsp
Fennel 1/4 tsp
Potato 2
Mixed vegetables 1/2 Cup
Beetroot 1/4 Cup, grated
Ginger garlic paste 1 tsp
Chilli powder 1 tsp
Garam masala 1 tsp
Green Chilli 2, finely chopped(optional)
Coriander leaves req
Bread 2 slices
Maida 4 tbsp
Water 8-10 tbsp
Salt req

• Pressure cook/Cook Potatoes & Vegetables separately and keep it ready.
• Grind Fennel & Cumin seeds coarsely in a pestle & mortar or mixer grinder.
• Take a vessel. Heat little oil. Add the grounded Fennel & Cumin.
• Add onions. Sauté it to golden brown.
• Next add ginger garlic paste. Sauté it till the raw smell goes away.
• Peel the skin of potatoes, mash it and add it to the ginger garlic paste.

• Add the cooked vegetables(Make sure you dont add any water with it), Coriander leaves and raw beetroot to it.
• Add Chilli powder and Garam masala powder. Cook it for couple of mins.

• Cut the corners of the bread. Dip it in warm water for a second. Squeeze it thoroughly, tear it in to little pieces and add it to the vegetables. Add req salt.

• Remove it from the flame. Allow it to cool for few mins.
• In the mean time prepare the maida-water batter in a bowl.
• In another plate, toss the bread crumbs.
• Make small balls out of the filling.
• Take a ball, dip it in the batter then gently roll it on the breadcrumbs to have full coating. Repeat it for all the balls.

• Lay them on a plate covered with parchment paper.(It makes it easier to flip it on to the skillet)
• Heat a skillet. Spray little oil.
Transfer the cutlet on to it. Cook both sides to dark golden brown in a medium heat.

• Remove them and drain them on a tissue. Serve hot with ketchup as an evening snack or as a sandwich.

• You can place the uncooked cutlet in fridge for few minutes, then deep fry it in oil.
• You can add any vegetables as you like. Beetroot gives a beautiful color to the cutlet.
• If the filling is wet and you couldn’t roll it. Try adding little bread crumbs to it.

Vegetable Egg Fried Rice

Fried Rice is a Universal dish. It is usually made from the steamed rice(cooled or left over rice)stir fried in a hot wok, along with the Vegetables, Egg & Meat(optional). It is flavored by the Soy sauce. There are different varieties of fried rice throughout the world like Hokkien or Fujian fried rice, Bai cha, Thai fried rice, American fried rice, Cha-Han, Burmese fried rice, Hawaiian fried rice to name a few. This is a very simple fried rice recipe where I have used White rice, vegetables & eggs. Definitely you cannot go wrong with this recipe. 🙂

Rice 1 1/2 Cup
Onion 1, finely chopped
Cabbage 1 cup
Mixed Vegetables (Carrot, Beans, peas) 1 Cup
Ginger garlic paste 1 tsp
Eggs 2
Soy sauce 1tbsp (add more depending on your taste)
Pepper & Salt req
Green onions 3 tbsp

• Cook Rice. Spread it on a plate and let it cool. (You can use leftover Rice or Chilled rice)
• Take a wide pan. Heat little oil. Add the chopped Onion and saute it to translucent.
• Add Ginger garlic paste. Cook it till the raw smell goes away.
• Add the vegetables. Cook it for few minutes.
• Once the vegetables are cooked. Make a small well in the center. Break open the Eggs. Add the required salt. Scramble the eggs then mix it along with the vegetables. (You can scramble eggs in a separate pan if you want)
• Toss in the cooked Rice & Combine with all the vegetables. Cook over medium heat for couple of minutes.
• Add Soy sauce. Again mix it thoroughly at medium heat for couple of mins. Switch off the stove.
• Garnish with chopped Spring onions & serve hot. Chicken Manchurian will be a perfect accompaniment to this Fried rice.

• Make sure the rice you add is not hot. Hot steamed rice would make the fried rice mushy. Chilled Rice works best.
• You can add cooked pieces of meat to this fried rice.

Punjabi Rajma Chawal

Rajma Chawal is a popular North Indian dish, made with Red kidney beans in a thick curry full of Indian spices. It is served with Rice. This recipe is adapted from Chef In You, with little variations.

Red kidney bean 1 Cup
Onion 1, finely chopped
Tomato 2, chopped
Ginger 1/2 inch
Garlic 2 cloves
Chilli powder 1 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder 1 1/2 tsp
Amchoor powder 1 tsp

Dry Roast & Grind
Bay leaf 1
Cloves 3
Cardamom 1
Cinnamon 1″
Cumin 1/2 tsp
Fennel 1/2 tsp

• Soak Red kidney bean overnight or minimum 8 hours. Pressure cook with a tsp of salt for 4 whistles.( Totally depends on the variety of Kidney bean you use ). Wait till the pressure is released.
• Heat a small pan. Dry roast all the items listed under Dry Roast & Grind and make it a fine powder. Keep it aside.
• Grind Ginger & Garlic to paste. Keep it aside.
• Take a new pan. Heat little oil. ( You can add butter or ghee for a richer flavor ) Add the Onions. Sauté it to golden brown.
• Purée half of the sautéed Onions. Keep it separately. ( You can purée all the Onions if you want ).
• To the rest of the onions in the pan, add the Ginger-garlic paste. Sauté it till the raw smell goes away.
• Add the puréed Onion to it and cook for few minutes.
• Purée the chopped Tomatoes and toss it in to the pan. Cook for couple of mins.
• Add the Chilli powder, Coriander powder, Amchoor powder & the grounded Garam masala powder. Cook till the spices get infused in the curry.
• Add the pressure cooked Red Kidney bean in to it along with the water.
• Mix thoroughly. Adjust the salt taste.
• Cook till you get the desired consistency. Garnish with coriander leaves.
• Serve hot with Rice/ Roti.

• You can add little cream on top before you serve.
• I have used very limited spices. You can increase it according to your needs.

Chocolate Eclairs

I am part of a group called Baking Partners (created by Swathi), a small group of home bakers who are obsessed with Baking. Given a recipe, we all strive hard to attempt it with perfection. The main aim is to understand and master the techniques behind each recipe given to us. We blog about it on 15th of each month.

This month’s Challenge is to bake Chocolate Eclairs or French Laundry Gougeres or both. I chose to do the Eclairs.

An Eclair is a oblong pastry made with pâté a choux filled with cream and topped with chocolate glaze.
It is easy to make but little time consuming.

Total time: 3 hr 55 min
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 3 hr 45 min
Yield: 8-10 servings
The Choux dough is piped in to an oblong shape with a pastry bag and baked until its crisp & hollow inside. Once cooled, the pastry is then filled with a Vanilla, Coffee, Chocolate, Custard (Creme patissiere) or Whipped cream. Finally served with glazed Chocolate sauce.
Adapted from Alton Brown show
Courtesy Gale Gand, “Butter Sugar Flour Eggs” by Gale Gand, Rick Tramonto, Julia Moskin, Clarkson N. Potter Publishers, 1999


2 cups whole, 2 percent fat, or 1 percent fat milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise/ 1 tsp Vanilla extract.
6 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter

Éclair’s Pastry:
1 cup water
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 eggs, plus 1 extra, if needed

Egg Wash:
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons water
Chocolate Glaze:
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped


In a medium saucepan, heat the milk to a boil over medium heat. Immediately turn off the heat and set aside to infuse for 15 minutes.
In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cornstarch and whisk vigorously until no lumps remain.

Whisk in 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture until incorporated. Whisk in the remaining hot milk mixture, reserving the saucepan.
Pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and slowly boiling.

Add Vanilla extract and remove from the heat. Let cool slightly.
Cover with plastic wrap, lightly pressing the plastic against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Chill at least 2 hours or until ready to serve. The custard can be made up to 24 hours in advance. Refrigerate until 1 hour before using.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
In a large saucepan, bring the water, butter, salt and sugar to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. When it boils, immediately take the pan off the heat.

Stirring with a wooden spoon, add all the flour at once and stir hard until all the flour is incorporated, 30 to 60 seconds.

Return to the heat and cook, stirring, 30 seconds.

Scrape the mixture into a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or use a hand mixer).

Mix at medium speed. With the mixer running, add 3 eggs, 1 egg at a time.

Stop mixing after each addition to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Mix until the dough is smooth and glossy and the eggs are completely incorporated.

The dough should be thick, but should fall slowly and steadily from the beaters when you lift them out of the bowl.
If the dough is still clinging to the beaters, add the remaining 1 egg and mix until incorporated.
Using a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip, pipe fat lengths of dough (about the size and shape of a jumbo hot dog) onto the lined baking sheet, leaving 2 inches of space between them.

• If you have any excess batter, just pipe small rounds in another pan.

Egg Wash
In a bowl, whisk the egg and water together. Brush the surface of each eclair with the egg wash.
Use your fingers to smooth out any bumps of points of dough that remain on the surface.

Bake 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375 degrees and bake until puffed up and light golden brown, about 25 minutes more. Try not to open the oven door too often during the baking. Let cool on the baking sheet.

Fit a medium-size plain pastry tip over your index finger and use it to make a hole in the end of each eclair (or just use your fingertip). Using a pastry bag fitted with a medium-size plain tip, gently pipe the custard into the eclairs, using only just enough to fill the inside (don’t stuff them full)
If not you can cut it in to 2 using a serrated knife. Fill it with the custard and close it.

You can remove the soft dough inside the choux and fill it with filling.

In a small saucepan, heat the cream over medium heat just until it boils. Immediately turn off the heat.

Put the chocolate in a medium bowl. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth.

Set aside and keep warm.

The glaze can be made up to 48 hours in advance. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use, and rewarm in a microwave or over hot water when ready to use.
Dip the tops of the eclairs in the warm chocolate glaze and set on a sheet pan.

Chill, uncovered, at least 1 hour to set the glaze. Serve chilled.


Chettinad Paal Paniyaram

Paal Paniyaram, another delicacy from the very popular Chettinad Cuisine. Small white balls are soaked in sweetened fresh Coconut milk flavored with Cardamom, Saffron & Sliced Almonds. It’s mouth drooling & totally loved by anyone with a sweet tooth like me. Here is the recipe


Idly Rice 1/2 Cup
Urad dhal 1/2 Cup
Coconut milk 2 Cup
Milk 1 Cup
Cardamom powder 1 tsp
Sugar req
Saffron pinch


• Soak Rice & Urad dhal separately for minimum 3 hours atleast. Grind Urad dhal for few minutes then add Rice. Grind it to a very smooth batter with very little water and a pinch of salt.
• Heat oil in a pan. Deep fry the batter in to small balls using hand or a teaspoon. Remove them & keep it aside.

• Warm up milk. Add Coconut milk, Sugar, Cardamom & few Saffron strands to it and switch off the stove.
• Toss the small fried balls in to milk and allow it to sit for few minutes before you serve.

• If the batter becomes watery, fried balls would absorb more oil. In that case, plunge these balls in hot water, squeeze it then drop it in milk.
• Instead of Coconut milk, you can use plain milk too.
• You can serve it warm or cold.

Chicken Manchurian ( No Fry )

Chicken Manchurian, a blend of Indian & Chinese Cuisine. Here the common Indian ingredients Ginger, Garlic & Green chillies are mixed with the Chinese Soy sauce, Corn flour & Chicken (instead of the regular Garam Masala). This is a no fry Version. Give a try, I am sure you would never miss the fried version.
Adapted from Sailu’s Kitchen

Chicken 1/2 lb
Onion 1, finely chopped
Spring onions 3-4tbsp
Ginger 1 tsp, chopped finely
Garlic 1 tsp, chopped finely
Soya sauce 2 tsp
Vinegar 2 tsp
Green chillies 2, finely chopped
Chicken stock 1/4 Cup
Corn flour 1 tbsp + Chicken stock 5 tbsp
Red Chilli powder 1/2 tsp
Brown sugar 1/2 tsp
Tomato ketchup 2 tbsp
Salt req

To Marinate
Egg White 1
Corn flour 2 tbsp
All purpose flour 1 tbsp
Ginger garlic paste 1 tsp
Pepper 1/4 tsp

• Marinate the boneless chicken with the listed ingredients for 1 hour. Pan fry it with very little oil to golden brown. ( If you want you can deep fry the same marinated Chicken)
• Take a new pan. Heat little oil. Add the chopped garlic and ginger. Sauté it and then add the finely chopped onions and green chillies. Fry the onions to golden brown. ( dont smash the onions )
• Add Red Chilli powder and gently sauté it along with the onions for a min.
• Bring the flame to low and then add Soy sauce, Vinegar, Brown sugar & Tomato ketchup. Mix it well.
• Add 1/4 cup Chicken stock. Combine all the ingredients & cook for couple of mins.
• Toss in the pan fried Chicken. Adjust the salt and cook for few mins.
• Pour Corn flour mixed in Chicken stock to it and give a thorough mix and cook at medium heat for 5 mins.
• Switch off the flame. Garnish with chopped spring onions & Serve hot as an appetizer or as a side dish to Rotis!


Kadai Paneer

Paneer/ Indian Cheese 1 Cup, 1″Cube
Onion 1, Cubed
Tomato 1, Chopped
Red bell pepper 1, Cubed ( any color )
Coriander seeds 1/2 tsp
Cumin 1/2 tsp
Ginger garlic paste 1 tsp
Green Chillies 2 ( optional )
Chilli powder 1 tsp
Coriander powder 1 tsp
Garam masala powder 1/2 tsp
Tomato ketchup 2 tsp

• Soak the cubed Paneer in hot water and keep it aside.
• Dry roast Cumin & Coriander seeds in a pan and crush it coarsely with pestle & mortar.
• Take a wide pan. Heat little oil. Add the crushed Cumin & Coriander seeds.
• Add the Onions & sauté it till they become translucent.
• Add Ginger garlic paste.
• Add the chopped Tomatoes. Keep sautéing it.
• Now add the Chilli powder, Coriander powder & Garam masala powder.
• Next add the Red bell pepper and req Salt.
• Remove the Paneer cubes from the hot water and toss it in to the Curry.
• Add 1/2 Cup of water & cook it in medium flame for 8-10 mins. ( Make sure you don’t burn any )
• Switch off the stove. Add Tomato ketchup, give a gentle mix. Garnish with Coriander leaves & Serve hot with Roti!


Karaikudi Chicken Curry

Serves: 3-4 people
Chicken 1 lb
Onion 1, chopped
Tomato 1, chopped
Cumin 1/2 tsp
Fennel 1/2 tsp
Chilli powder 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder 1/2 tsp
Turmeric 1/4 tsp
Coriander leaves req
Salt req

Roast & Grind
Red chilli 4
Coriander seeds 1 tsp
Garlic 3 cloves
Ginger 1″ piece
Cinnamon 1″ piece
Cloves 3
Cardamom 1
Pepper 1 tsp
Coconut 2 tbsp
Curry leaves 1 small sprig

• Dry roast all the ingredients listed in
Roast & Grind one by one for few mins.(Make sure not to burn any). Grind it to paste with little water. Keep it separately.
• Take a vessel, heat Sesame oil. Add Cumin & Fennel seeds.
• Add Onions & sauté it to golden brown. ( Never mash the onions, sauté it gently )
• Add the chopped Tomatoes. Cook it till the tomatoes shrink.
• Next add the Chilli powder, Coriander powder & Turmeric. Sauté it for couple of mins.
• Now add the grounded paste. Cook it for few mins then add the Chicken.
• Mix it thoroughly in the curry with enough water & required salt.
• Cover & cook for 5-8 mins. Open the lid and simmer for the next 5 mins.
• Garnish with Coriander leaves & serve with Chappathy/ Naan/White Rice.