Win over your sweetheart with these delicious strawberry desserts by food blogger Taruna Bakshi.
Strawberry and Chia Seeds Yogurt Popsicles
For the yogurt
- 400 gm yogurt, store bought will do fine
- 3 tbsp agave nectar, easily available in grocery stores or online
For the compote
- Zest of an orange, or 2, more the merrier
- 60 ml freshly squeezed orange juice
- ½ cup brown sugar or any sweetener of choice, but adjust the sweetness accordingly
- 1-inch cinnamon
- 450 gm strawberries
- 3 tbsp chia seeds
- Line a sieve with cheesecloth or muslin cloth. Put the sieve over a container.
Gently whisk the yogurt and pour into the cheesecloth-lined sieve.
Spread it around and cover. Allow the excess water from the yogurt to drip into the container.
Store the draining yogurt in the refrigerator overnight to allow the yogurt to release water and thicken.
400 gm yogurt draining for 12 hours can give 200 gm of very thick yogurt, also called yogurt cream/hung curd.
- Remove the yogurt carefully from the cheesecloth into a clean bowl and add the agave nectar. Can substitute the agave for honey or a sweetener of your choice, and adjust the sweetness accordingly.
Cover the bowl and refrigerate for half an hour or so.
- Slice the strawberries and set aside.
- Pour the brown sugar, orange juice, cinnamon, orange zest in a saucepan and bring to a boil on medium heat.
Keep stirring and boil for a minute.
Add the strawberries and as soon as it comes to a boil again, take off heat and allow the mixture to cool.
Discard the cinnamon piece and puree the strawberry-orange juice mixture in a blender.
- Add the chia seeds to just 6 tbsp of the strawberry mixture.
Mix well and set aside for 15-20 minutes.
- Take out the thickened yogurt from the refrigerator and gently whisk the rest of the strawberry compote into it.
Pour equal amounts of yogurt into the popsicle moulds (easilly available online) till half full and top with the chia seed-strawberry compote.
Can also use silicone muffin liner cups. Refrigerate.
After the yogurt has set for 45 minutes insert popsicle sticks.
Cover the mould and freeze overnight.
Before serving, dip the mould in warm water to extract the popsicle. Serve immediately.
Note: Can add the yogurt-compote mixture and chia seeds-strawberry mixture alternately, in layers, into the mould to get a layered effect. For a rippled effect, gently run a knife through.
Gondhoraj Lebu Mini Cakes
Yields: 6 mini loaves
- 1¾ cup sieved maida or all purpose flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- Zest of 3 gondhoraj lebu, a long-ish green lime vital to Bengali cuisinse available online
- 1 cup castor sugar (a kind of finer sugar manufactured by top baking brands)
- ½ cup thick homemade dahi or yogurt
- ½ cup oil
- 2 eggs, lightly whisked
- ½ cup dried cranberries and blueberries, mixed
- Oil or butter for greasing the loaf tray
- A little flour for flouring the loaf tray
For strawberry glaze
- 1½-2 tbsp strawberry puree
- ½ cup confectioner’s sugar or icing sugar
For strawberry yogurt
- 3 tbsp hung curd, also called yogurt cream or Greek yogurt
- 2 to 3 tbsp strawberry puree
- 4-5 strawberries sliced
- A few pudina or mint leaves
- Heat the oven to 180°C.
Spray the mini loaf tray with oil or butter it and dust with flour.
Discard the excess flour by tapping it upside down. Keep aside.
- In a bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and baking powder.
Add the berries to the flour mixture and mix.
In a mixing bowl, add sugar and lemon zest and using your hands gently rub the two together for half a minute.
- Add the yogurt.
Pour in the oil and whisk for half a minute more.
Add the whisked eggs and mix well.
Fold in the flour-berry mixture into the wet ingredients and gently mix.
Pour the batter in equal amounts into each individual cavity of the loaf pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes or till a skewer inserted in the centre of a loaf cake comes out clean. Take out of the oven and allow the cake loaves to cool in the tray for 5 minutes.
Carefully remove the loaf cakes and place a wire rack to cool completely.
For the strawberry yogurt
- Add the strawberry puree to the yogurt, spoon by spoon, whisking so that you achieve a smooth consistency, but should not be too liquid.
For the strawberry glaze
- Whisk the strawberry puree and icing sugar. Pour equally over the mini loaves.
Allow the glaze to set.
Serve with strawberry yogurt or spoon the yogurt over the cake.
Top with strawberry slices and garnish with mint leaves.
- ½ cup fine suji or semolina
- 1 l milk
- ½ tsp elaichi or cardamom powder
- 3 tbsp sugar or any sweetener of your choice
- ½-1 cup strawberry compote (use the same recipe that was used for the yogurt creamsicles above)
- 2 tbsp to ¼ cup condensed milk, depending how rich a phirni is preferred
- 2 tbsp assorted nuts, pistas, charoli (round seed-like almonds), almonds or cashews, toasted and chopped
- Heat the milk in a saucepan over low heat, and bring to a boil.
Stir the milk occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- Add the sugar and stir well.
- While the milk is heating, dry roast the semolina over medium heat till it becomes golden — approximately 5-6 minutes.
Take the semolina off the heat.
- Gradually, in batches, add the semolina to the milk, constantly stirring to avoid the formation of lumps.
Cook the semolina and milk over low heat for approximately 6-7 minutes or till the mixture begins to thicken and coat the back of a spoon.
Stir in the cardamom powder.
Take off heat. Add condensed milk and mix well.
Cool the phirni. When it is mildly warm start adding the strawberry compote to it.
First add ½ a cup and taste. Add more, if required. I use approximately ¾ cup.
Pour the strawberry compote-phirni mixture in small earthen pots and refrigerate.
- Garnish with nuts before serving.
Note: This dessert can be served chilled or at room temperature.
Phirni is traditionally served in earthen pots but can opt for glasses and instead layer the phirni with the strawberry compote (see picture).
I used 3 tbsp sugar and 2 tbsp condensed milk. If you plan to increase the amount of condensed milk, reduce the sugar.
Taruna Bakshi lives in Mumbai and is the author of the blog Easyfoodsmith.
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