Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen was our August 2013 Daring Bakers’ hostess and she challenged us to make some amazing regional Indian desserts. The Mawa Cake, the Bolinhas de Coco cookies and the Masala cookies – beautifully spiced and delicious! :)
Our city is known for Mawa cakes found at Parsi/Irani bakeries and cafes.These are very ordinary and plain looking and YUMMY light golden cakes with occasional sprinkle of cashew nuts or almonds.
Mawa or khoya is made from reducing full fat milk on slow heat until all that remains is a mass of slightly caramelized granular dough-like milk solids. Mawa gives a rich caramelized milky taste to the cake.
Though I have been making mawa since a long time, a low cal and quick cooking one,I want to thank Aparna for making it mandatory to make mawa from scratch, because I learnt to make it the traditional way!!
Mawa CakeFor the Mawa:
1 litre full fat milk
For the cake:115 gm unsalted Butter
180 gm packed crumbled mawa
280 gm castor sugar
3 large eggs
1-1/2 tsp powdered cardamom
260 gm cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
120 ml milk
Blanched almonds to decorate
MawaPour the milk into a heavy bottomed saucepan. Bring the milk to a boil, stirring it on and off, making sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom.
Turn down the heat to medium and keep cooking the milk until it reduces to about a quarter of its original volume. This may take about an hour and a half.
Once the milk has reduced,lower the heat to low and let cook for a little while longer. Keep stirring regularly, until the milk solids mawa take on a lumpy appearance.
Remove the pan from heat and transfer the mawa to a bowl and let it cool
CakePre-heat oven to 180°C.
Grease and line only the bottom of an 8 inch spring form pan.
Beat the butter, the crumbled mawa and the sugar in a large bowl, using a hand held electric beater, on high speed until soft and fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat on medium speed till well incorporated. Add the vanilla and milk and beat till mixed well.
Sift the cake flour, baking powder, cardamom, and salt onto the batter and beat at medium speed and well blended.
Pour the batter into the pan and lightly smooth the top. Place blanched almonds on top of the batter randomly.
Bake in a preheated moderate oven for about 1 hour until the cake is a
golden brown and a skewer pushed into the center comes out clean.
If the cake seems to be browning too quickly, cover it will aluminum foil halfway through the baking time.
Masala biscuits are again very popular and found in almost every Indian household. Though the masala or spices may vary from region to region.These savory cookies have an assortment of spices. I love the combination of ginger and green chillies!! Next time I may just increase black pepper which gives a good punch of flavor.
250 gm plain flour
2 Tbsp fine white or brown rice flour (optional)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt (or according to your taste)
115 gm chilled butter, cut into small pieces
3 green chilies, deseeded and chopped
3/4 inch piece of ginger, finely grated
1-1/2 tsp whole peppercorn, crushed coarsely
1-1/2 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and crushed coarsely
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1-1/2 Tbsp finely chopped curry leaves
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander
3 to 4 Tbsp cold yogurt
1-1/2 Tbsp black or white sesame seeds
A little oil to brush the tops of the biscuits/ cookies
Put both flours, salt, baking powder and baking soda into the bowl and add the pieces of chilled butter. Pulse,using the food processor, until the mixture takes on the texture of breadcrumbs.
Now add the chopped green chilies, finely grated ginger, crushed peppercorn and cumin,sugar, the chopped curry leaves and coriander leaves. Pulse a couple of times to mix well.Then add 2 tablespoons of yogurt and pulse again. Add one more tbsp of yogurt (or two, as much as needed), and pulse again until the dough just comes together and clumps together.
Do not over process or knead. The dough should be just moist enough to bring everything together to shape into a ball. Flatten it into a disc and cover the
dough with plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least hour.
Pre-heat your oven to moderate 180°C and line your baking trays with
parchment or grease them with oil.
Lightly dust your working surface and roll out the dough to 3 mm thickness. Sprinkle the sesame seeds uniformly over the dough and use your rolling pin, very lightly, to press them in.
Using cutters of your choice , cut out biscuits/ cookies and place them on lightly greased baking trays. Brush a very thin coat of oil over them. This will help them brown while baking.
Bake them for about 20 to 25 minutes or till they’re done and golden brown on the top. Let them cool on the trays for about 5 minutes and then cool them on racks.