Sweet Recipes

View All | View Summaries
Gulab Jamun (Indian Sweets) Recipe

Gulab Jamun (Indian Sweets)

03.26.10 by Jackie

Gulab jamun is my husband Lulu's favorite Indian dessert. The sweets are deep-fried balls of dough, bathed in rose (gulab) and cardamom syrup. The texture resembles the liquor syrup-saturated French cake Baba au Rhum.

I've just experienced making my own for the first time and it tasted pretty similar to the ones I've had in the past. I added a few saffron threads to impart a brighter yellow color to the syrup and I didn't add finely crushed pistachios as Lulu's great-aunt does, because of my little sister-in-law's nut allergy.

You can eat them cold, but our favorite way to enjoy gulab jamun is to warm them a bit before serving. It adds another dimension to the dish. Gulab jamun is a bit too rich to eat on a regular basis, but it's perfect for special occasions when you want something more exotic than cake.


Full Recipe...
Banana Coconut Creme Brulee Recipe

Banana Coconut Creme Brulee

03.19.10 by Jackie

A journalist contacted me this week and asked if she could use my crème brulée photos. Not that I need much prompting, but it got me thinking of crèmes brulées and I thought I could try out some new flavors.

I happened to have baby bananas in the house, along with some leftover shredded coconut from making lima bean curry. The mini bananas come from Guatemala. They are very sweet and flavorful. I caramelized them in sugar and used them as garnish. I flavored the custard with the shredded coconut, rum and banana extract. The result is a very pleasant dessert using ingredients that are available this season. Can't wait for spring to experiment with more flavors!


Full Recipe...
Chestnut Crumb Coffee Cake Recipe

Chestnut Crumb Coffee Cake

03.07.10 by Jackie

For brunch, the girls and I made a crumb coffee cake flavored with chestnut purée, and a streusel topping made with cinnamon and brown sugar for a rich, caramel flavor. Buttermilk gives a moist texture to the coffee cake; the result was just divine. Chestnut may not be a common flavor for coffee cake, but I guarantee that after tasting it, you'll be hooked.

I served the coffee cake with a big pot of masala chai. We all enjoyed ourselves. Hope your weekend is as relaxing and peaceful as ours!


Full Recipe...
Tarte Poire Noisette (Pear Tart with Hazelnut Cream) Recipe

Tarte aux poires et à la noisette sounds like a fancy-schmancy dessert but really, it's just a French tart made with hazelnut cream and ripe pears. That's about it. The only other embellishment is that I enhance the flavor of the nut cream with a little green anise.

Green anise seeds are usually infused in tea as a medicinal treatment for children's stomach aches. It's a pretty common remedy in Northern Africa. I love the sweet fragrance and the strong notes of licorice. You don't have to add the aromatic seeds to the nut cream but I think they pair wonderfully with pears.

Being French, it still is really remarkable to me that in America, French sounding names make products sound more luxurious (and expensive). I've even seen some products that have names that don't make sense in French, but I guess evoke a sense of elegance. Now that I've let you in on the secret, don't be fooled by fancy French names anymore! However, if you prepare this recipe for your friends or family, make sure that you use the French name to impress them. Better to be the "fool-er" than the "fool-ee!"


Full Recipe...
Chana Milk Halwa (Besan Burfi) Recipe

Chana Milk Halwa (Besan Burfi)

02.23.10 by Jackie

If you're familiar with French pâtes de fruit or fudge, you'll want to try the Indian / Middle Eastern equivalent,  called halwa. Halwa literally means "sweet" in Arabic. It can be made with different ingredients such as carrots, pumpkin, yams, beets, semolina and many types of beans, lentils or nuts.

Daddy (my father-in-law) had a craving for some chana dal halwa, so my mother-in-law made several batches this weekend. To the chana dal, she added roasted cashew nuts (Kaju in Urdu) for flavor and texture. This particular recipe also calls for a large quantity of clarified butter, or gheeGhee is popular in Indian cuisine and can be found at almost any Indian grocery store. This dessert is definitely not low fat or low calorie, but the taste and texture are extraordinary. Store-bought halwa cannot compare.

We made a huge batch and stored them in tins in the refrigerator. The girls placed the sweet candy in cellophane gift bags and tied a pretty bow around them to give away to their friends and teachers. Whether  or not you decide to share the dessert with others, you should definitely find time to make some. Your efforts will definitely be rewarded.


Full Recipe...