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Savor the Tart!

Savor the Tart!

Well, it was to be expected after all... Sometime during this season, the tomatoes makes themselves felt on blogs around this part of the world. 

May I present, the solace of mine soul - Tomato Tart! Pure and simple. 

It does have a gluten free crust and before you gluten snobs wrinkle your nose about it, I ask you to give it a chance. The millet and moong flours have just the right boldness to man up to the saucy fullness of the tomato. It is almost a needed intervention, lest you get ungrounded by the fatal attractiveness of the sun kissed slices.. Trust me, I speak from experience...!

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More Cake? With Custard! Or when to draw the line...

More Cake? With Custard! Or when to draw the line...

You will have to bear with my story (oh yes! today, I have one) because at the end of it... There is CAKE!! But, more importantly, also Custard, or, if you want to be fancy, Crème Anglaise (English cream). The latter is important because that is the crux of this story that spirals out like Arabian Nights in sequence. So, rewind to Saturday evening.... {Read the story from the link below}

Now about that cake. This would be my go to chocolate cake. It is simple. Flour, cocoa powder, egg, milk, raw sugar, butter or oil. Typically, I would make it with regular flour but since my wheat allergy, I have been playing pantry with gluten free stuff.

This is a simple chocolate cake. I mix olive oil and butter in equal parts for the fat part. Oil makes it moister and the butter tastier. But you can equivalent volume of one or the other. I like eating it right from the cake pan (hence the missing chunk in the photos). But you can just easily, frost it or serve with custard. Pretty much do what you want with it. It is a basic recipe.

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There is still time.... for Hand Churned Frozen Custard

Cardamom roasted plum ice cream

Sometime in April, I excitedly made plans and jotted down flavor combinations. I eagerly waited for the weather to warm up so I could start whisking, mixing and churning....

Umm.. yeah.. best laid plans. Summer happened, churning not so much :)

Labor day came and went and those eaves of notes fluttered forlornly in the cooler breeze amidst the falling leaves. Then the

sun suddenly broke through

. I found some ripe plums that hadn't been eaten or baked into something. I decided it was time.. a little late but better than never, right?!

Plums Collage
Plum Ice cream collage

The plums were roasted in their own juice and a touch of ground cardamom that adds a wonderful earthy note. I added no sugar as fruits have enough sugar within them and the roasting process brings it out more and caramelizes the simple sugars into a sweeter note.


I use cardamom to enhance the perception of sweetness of a dish. It allows me to cut down the sugar

Cardamom Plum Ice cream

Once that was done, it was just a few hours work of making the custard and hand churning it into a luscious, thick and entirely indulgent ice cream. A good old pint jar of it. Stored and consumed with joy! Every time I lick a spoonful of clean, I cannot help my face breaking into the

gleeful grin of little girl

... Yeah, you can picture me being silly. Go ahead! That's really where I am. Silly, happy and thrilled about the cold cream melting in my mouth and cooling me from inside.

So, if you made plans and haven't done them yet, it is ok...

There is still time :)

Cardamom Roasted Plum Frozen Custard (Ice Cream)

Plum Ice cream

3 ripe plums, halved

3 cardamom pods, seeds crushed

For the custard:

1 pint half & half

3 egg yolks, room temperature

1/3 cup + 1 T powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350F. Place the plums in a roasting pan cut side up and sprinkle cardamom over. Bake for about 30 minutes till tender and the juices release. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, whisk the sugar and yolks until pale and fluffy. Warm the milk to just under scalding. Gently stream the milk into the yolks while continually whisking to prevent the eggs from scrambling. Return the mixture back into clean bowl and place on very low heat. Continue whisking and heating the mixture until it thickens into custard. To test, dip a wooden spatula into it and draw a line back. If the line stays and does not run through, the custard is ready.

Place a cling wrap directly on the surface of the custard to prevent forming a skin and cool to room temperature. When the plums and custard have cooled down, whiz them together. Cover and place in freezer for an hour. After an hour when the sides have started firming up and the center is still fluid, whip the mixture using a hand mixer to add air into it and build volume. Repeat process twice more after every hour or so. In the end, you will have whipped in about twice the volume of custard.

Freeze for atleast 4 hours to set. Well, then enjoy!

Homemade ice cream lasts a week at the most. The sooner you consume, the better!

What's with the Heat!

Ice cream

Ummm.. I am really curious.. What IS happening to the climate around the world. As bizzare as it sounds, the East coast seems to be caught rather scorchingly flatfooted between the surrealistic chill of the West Coast and Europe! I cannot help but wonder if this is not some kind of cosmic vengeance for the dithering politics of Washington?!

Nevertheless, it is always the poor souls who bear the brunt of any tirade. For about 350 days of the year, I love my cute, little 1800's apartment with it's original fixtures, huge windows that let in a lot of natural sun light, old coil radiators, seperate kitchen and no air conditioning. Yes.. NO built in air conditioning!

Blackberry icecream sandwich in plate

For the rest of the 15 days I debate weather all that charm and, yes, even that one NYC luxury of an independent kitchen, is really worth the blistering heat that those lovely, large windows, and being on the top floor, let in. Forgive my rants, but I am currently ensconced in one of the 2 rooms that has an a/c and dreading stepping out of the cool haven even to pee!

Ofcourse, the heat translates to much cool consumption and ice cream beats the boat by a mile lead! :) With the season's abundance of refreshing fruits, the possibilities are endless and it's only a matter of pick and play and you have delectable delights that offer glimmers of happiness in the midst of heat-ridden lethargy...

Blackberries and Sage

Sometime back, I was in the mood of combining sweet and savory. I find herbs add a flavor element to sweets that elevates the simplest creations to a new experience for the palate. Besides, as our palate grows, it becomes ever more persnickety and such experiences are no longer coveted but indeed essential, like this Peach and Thyme Icecream I made last year.

So became this Blackberry and Sage Icecream! I love blackberries.. they are naturaly sweet (perhaps the sweetest of all the berries) and combining them with the earthy sage creates the perfect symphony on your tongue. It's a play and a whimsical one at it! :)

Blackberry and Sage Icecream

1-1.5 cups ripe blackberries
2 tsp sugar
7-8 fresh sage leaves

For the custard:
3 egg yolks
1-1/4 cup half and half
3 thyme stalks
1/4 cup sugar

Blackberries and Sage icecream sandwiches

Over low heat, cook the blackberries and sugar until the juices start releasing. Cook for about 5-7 minutes until they are just soft but stil retain some shape. Set aside to cool.

With a hand whisk, cream the yolks and sugar together until light yellow in color. Meanwhile, heat the half and half with the sage leaves until just barely simmering. Remove the pan from heat and discard the sage. Slowly, and while continuously whisking the mixture, incorporate the hot milk into the yolk mixture.

To prepare the custard, pour the mixture back in to the pan and over medium heat, gently heat the mixture, stirring often. The mixture will start to thicken. Continue heating until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon (about 8 - 10 minutes) and if you run your finger along the back of the spoon, the streak remains without the cream running down through the streak.

Remove from heat immediately. Do not over heat as the eggs will curdle (done that before!). Whisk the mixture for a minute to stop the custard from cooking further. Strain through a fine sieve to remove any lumps or scrambles. Stir in the blackberry sauce till fully incorporated. Cool the mixture to room temperature.

Cover the custard with plastic wrap and refrigerate for atleast two hours until completely chilled. At this point, you can process the mixture in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer's instructions.

If you don't have an ice cream machine, once the custard mixture is cold, move it to the freezer. After about 45 minutes, check on the mixture. If it has started freezing on the edges, remove and whip up the mixture with a hand-held mixer to break the ice crystals and incorporate some air to create the fluffiness.

Return to the freezer and repeat the whisking every hour, three more times. By this time, volume of the ice cream would have doubled. If it hasn't, then you are not whisking enough each time. After the final repetition, freeze the mixture for atleast 6 hours or overnight.

Pots de Crème au Beurre de Pomme avec Confit de Apple et Pistaches

Apple Butter Pots de Creme & Apple Confit

Ennui... Perhaps I should have postponed this post.. perhaps it will not really make a difference either way... Ennui... It strikes once in a while.. sometimes suddenly and with no definite reason...sometimes it is a slow build up of discontent that just eventually bursts into a low hanging black cloud.

Whenever that happens, I usually turn to something dependable and sweet, like my deep, rich, chocolate-y brownie. That always does the trick. It unlocks the deeply hidden cookie jar of wellness and restores the yang in my life..
Apple Butter Pots de Creme & Apple Confit 1

Recently when it hit, even the mere thought of tried and tested only seemed to enhance the languor. Although that did provide a just distraction. In trying to pump up the right side of my brain, I managed to, atleast, temporarily take away my attention from all the self-brooding.

I spied the jar of homemade Spiced Apple Butter, a carton of fresh eggs and the last vestiges of Winter Apples and pop when the right bulb. Pots de Creme, it was to be, and very much apple at that!! And, quite apt too.. what with me taking French classes these days.

Alors! Je fais Pots de Crème au Beurre de Pomme. J'ai confit de pomme dans cinq épices et beurre à légèrement caraméliser les fruits. Le confit augmente la saveur de pomme de la crème et rend le dessert super... :))

Apple butter custard pot

Phew!! that was an effort.. but now, my ennui has just blown away!! Complètement :D

Pots de Crème au Beurre de Pomme (Apple Butter Pots de Crème)

Apple Butter Pots de Creme & Apple Confit

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 30 min

Total time: 2 hours

Yield: 4 small jars


3Egg yolks
1/4 cupspiced apple butter
2 Tsugar
1.5 cupshalf and half or light cream
1/2 tspsalt
1/2 inch stickcinnamon

Cooking Directions

Whip the yolks with sugar until pale yellow in color. Add the apple butter to it and incorporate completely. Meanwhile, heat the cream with the cinnamon stick to just until it starts simmering. Remove from heat, cover and let steep for 5 minutes.

Slowly and while continuously whisking, add the warm cream to the yolk and apple mixture making sure that the eggs don't curdle. Divide the mixture into 5 shallow ramekins or 4 small jars and bake in a water bath at 325 F for 30 minutes.

Remove from the bath, bring to room temperature and then refrigerate to let the custard set completely.Top with the candied and spiced apple and nuts and serve.


Share your creations tagging @ashafsk on Instagram and hashtag #MadeFromFSK