Chocolate Shondesh

Chocolate Shondesh

Chocolate Shondesh

Quite true to my Bengali genes I have got a sweet tooth.Give me any thing sweet  be it Bengal’s own roshogolla,ledikini, kheer kodombo , mishti doi  or anything sweet which is not so Bengali  like a fudge cake,cookie dough ice cream,chocolate brownie or a caramel flan – I am ready to dig in .Since the past 4 years of my stay in England I have had enough chance to try different forms of  western dessert while the frequent trips back to India (Kolkata to be specific) were just not sufficient enough to sooth my Bengali mishti craving.True to the saying ”necessity is the mother of invention” one day I finally gave in to my Bengali sweet craving and decided to try my hand at making a Bengali sweet at home.While surfing through  videos on YouTube I came across this video  and the idea of making a fusion chocolate shondesh  dawned upon me!

chocolate shondesh

This fusion sweet is very dear to my heart, perfectly unites the best possible combination of chocolate from the west and mishti from the east,quite like us those who live miles away from  the home land, soaking in the foreign culture yet cant give away their traditional root.

 

Recipe for Chocolate Shondesh


Ingredients


For the making of Shondesh

Full fat milk : 3 litre

Khoya/Milk Solids : 1/2 cup (optional)

Sugar : 1 to 1 and 1/2 cup

Lemon juice : 4 lemon

Cocoa Powder : 4 heaped tablespoon


For garnishing the Shondesh

Chocolate bar- 150 gm

Double Cream- 100 ml

Sugar : 1/4 cup

Choice of nuts : Pistachio/Cashew

 chocolate shondesh

Method of making Shondesh

 

1)Boil the milk in a heavy bottomed pan at medium heat stirring occasionally .When the milk starts boiling  add the lemon juice and increase the flame little bit to enhance coagulation.As soon as the milk starts to curdle and whey is separated from the curd turn of the heat,otherwise the chenna(paneer)will become stiff.Drain the whey from the milk fat by using a strainer lined with a cheesecloth or muslin cloth for about 10 minutes.

 

2)Once the chenna is drained place it in a clean and dry surface. With the heel of the palm knead it well till it rolls into a smooth soft dough.

chocolate shondesh

Kneading the 'chenna' into  a smooth and soft dough

Kneading the ‘chenna’ into a smooth and soft dough

3)Put the chenna dough in a heavy bottomed flat plan along with sugar, khoya/milk solids(if using) and cocoa powder.Keep stirring it continuously to remove the raw taste of chenna  for about 5-6 minutes at a very low flame(some time putting of the flame in between if required) to avoid burning of the mixture.If you want to make a ‘norom pak'(softer version)  shondesh then don’t keep it on flame for a very long time.

chocolate shondesh

 chocolate shondesh

4)Take the mix, of the pan and mould them or give desired shaped when still little warm.

chocolate shondesh

5) For making the garnishing,  in a double boiler take the cream , chocolate bar by breaking it into small chunks and sugar,simmering slowly while stirring continuously .Once the chocolate has melted,spoon the  hot chocolate ganache  in the centre of the shondesh by making a small   well with the tip of your finger.Dust it with  your choice of crushed nuts.

chocolate shondesh

chocolate shondesh

You can refrigerate this in an  airtight box,however, preferably serve this at room temperature. Shondesh tastes best when it is served fresh or after  being refrigerated for just a few hours.

chocolate shondesh

chocolate shondesh

Note :

 

  • Double boiler– A double boiler can be made by placing a bowl on top of a pot containing simmering water. In this case double boiler is used to avoid burning of the chocolate in direct   contact with heat.
  • Garnishing can be done simply by drizzling the chocolate ganache on top of the shondesh or by          sprinkling  chocolate sprinklers or cocoa powder or drinking chocolate.
  • Adding Khoya or milk solids to this shondesh only adds to the taste,however, it is not a compulsory     ingredient.
  • This recipe will make about 24 shondesh
  • Bong Appetite’s tips : The best way to enjoy this shondesh is to serve it at room temperature or slightly chilled with the chocolate ganache bit lukewarm and done just before serving
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Chocolate Fudge Cake with Strawberry and Twix : The making of a birthday cake

CAKE

Whether it’s the 1st birthday  or a surprise 30th birthday  or a 100 year celebration, birthday cakes are as special as the birthdays themselves. Ain’t they? Birthdays for me are sheer nostalgia of home made fruit cakes specially baked by Maa with lots of love.I would wait year round for this special day to smell and taste the richness and goodness of home baked cakes.There were not many bakery shops back then in Kolkata and not many catering custom made cakes ,so Maa was the only one who I would look up-to on my birthdays for cakes.I would be her little assistant helping her making the cake batter or keeping an eye on the cake from outside the glass door of the cake oven.Helping her doing the cake was so much fun.Little did I know one day this cake apprenticeship with mom will inspire me to bake birthday cakes myself.

It was my husband’s birthday,been 4  year into the marriage I have been doing the baking ritual every year on his birthdays or shall I say growing with my baking abilities on the occasion of his birthdays?!! I have planned an impromptu surprise party; there was so much to do like inviting guests,arranging things, doing the groceries ,baking a cake -all that secretly! Quite a tough task at hand with only 5 days to his birthday.So I decided to ease out on the cake.The plan was to make a simple chocolate cake with a fudge ganache and easy but interesting decoration to go with.I  chalked out the idea and look of the cake that I would like to make, and made a quick list of ingredients to buy.Once the ingredients were at my disposal making the birthday cake was a cakewalk,literally !

And here comes the confession : I am no pro at this,just learning my way through lots of trial and error- the art of baking.But honestly I feel baking can be therapeutic.It’s like a magic to see a batter of cocoa powder,sugar,plain flour to transform slowly into a moist  fluffy chocolate cake.It’s like the caterpillar to butterfly  transformation story for me.

Recipe for Chocolate Fudge Cake with Strawberry and Twix 

Ingredients


For the Cake

225 g plain flour/self raising flour

350 g caster sugar

85 g cocoa powder

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

3 free range eggs

250 ml milk

125 ml vegetable oil/sunflower oil

2 tsp vanilla extract/ vanilla essence

250 ml boiling water

 For the chocolate fudge icing

400 g blocks  of milk chocolate,chopped

2/3 cup thickened cream/double cream

1/2 cup caster sugar or to taste

3-4 tbsp milk (if required)

 

For decoration of the cake

200 g strawberries, halved

A few packet of Twix or KitKat

A ribbon of your choice

CAKE

 

Preparation  of the Chocolate Cake


1.Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F

2.Grease a cake tin of 20 cm/8 inch

3.Sift the cake flour, cocoa powder ,sugar in a large bowl ensuring that there is no lump in the batter.

4.Add the baking powder and salt to the mix.Give a dry whisk with the hand blender to mix all the dry ingredients.

5.Start adding all the wet ingredients (except boiling water) one by one: eggs,milk,oil and vanilla essence or extract.

6.Using an electric beater or a hand blender mix the batter well so that the ingredients are well combined.

7.Add the boiling water a little at a time,blending well so that the batter is smooth and liquidly.

8.Pour the mixture in the greased cake tin.

9.Bake at 180C for about 40 mins or until the top is firm to touch or skewer inserted to the centre of the cake comes out clean.

10.Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool for 10 mins.

11.Use a spatula or a blunt knife to loosen the cake from the side and base.

12.Cool the cake in the wire wrack completely at least for 2-3 hour before applying the fudge icing.

CAKE

 

Preparation of the fudge icing


1.Add 1″ of water in a medium saucepan or pot and bring to gentle simmer(you can speed up the process by adding 1 tsp of salt to the water)

2.Place heat proof bowl with an handle attached on top the pot when the water has reached the boiling point.Make sure that the bottom of the pot is not touching the boiling water.The steam of the water will gradually heat up the pot.

3.Add the chopped chocolate pieces to the pot and stir occassionaly until smooth and melted.Add the cream at this point mixing throughly.Finally add the sugar to the mix and let it melt.

4.Keep little milk handy,in case if the fudge icing becomes very thick,adding milk will make it smoother and easier to apply on the cake.

CAKE

Decorating the Chocolate Cake

1.You can keep the fudge icing in the fridge for half an hour or so to thicken it a bit.It should be thick enough to hold the Twix or Kit-kat sticks when placed against the cake wall.

2.Spread the fudge icing or ganache with the back of a flat spatula generously on top and all around the cake so that it forms a thick coating.

CAKE

 

3.Then stick the Twix or Kit-Kat sticks,one by one against the fudge coating.

4. Top the cake with halved strawberries.

5.Drizzle some of the leftover fudge icing on the strawberries if you wish to.

6.Don’t forget to tie a ribbon round the cake to make it look like the perfect gift ever 🙂

Serving suggestion

When serving individual portions warm the cake pieces with a Twix  or KitKat stick for about 30 seconds in the microwave and serve with a scoop of your favourite vanilla icecream.

CAKE