With Christmas around the corner and wedding sea son in full swing, it's that time of year when the eve nings get cooler and the nights entice us to have something fuzzy and warm. From piping hot puddings to delish pies, here's a mix of local ingredients for desserts that you can serve with a twist of inter national flavour.
A bread pudding from Egypt, literally translated as 'mother of Ali,' finds itself in a lighter mood in this Fearless Olive rendition.
250g bread (use those round buns with raisins)
4 phyllo pastry layers
½ litre milk, 1 egg
1 or 2 red apples, diced in large pieces
¼ cup walnuts, ¼ cup raisins
¼ cup brown sugar
Pinch of cinnamon
2 tbsp ghee or clarified butter
¼ cup broken pieces of molasses or gur
Pinch of lemon zest
¼ cup of sliced almonds and pistachios
Fry the bread in half the ghee for about 2-3 minutes until it has browned a bit. Take it out and add rest of the ghee and roast the walnuts, sugar and apples for about 1 minute.
Add this to the bread and beat the egg in the milk with a pinch of cinnamon and cool a bit. Take the phyllo sheets and smear them with the rest of the ghee and layer them in a baking dish.
Pre-heat oven at 120⁰C for 10 minutes then lower it to 90⁰C. Add the molasses and half the nuts to the bread mix and pour the milk over this and mix it. Put all this into the baking dish on top of the phyllo sheets and sprinkle a pinch of lemon zest. Stick it into the oven for about 15 minutes or until you feel the phyllo has cooked through.
You can break up the phyllo base to mix it with the rest of the mixture. Sprinkle it with the garnishing of nuts and serve hot.
This filling vegetable is perfect for a winter pie with all the garnishing of a true dessert. A Fearless Olive specialty, going soft on the heavier ingredients.
1 small, yellow pumpkin, boiled and pureed
1 cup coconut milk with cream
1 tbsp brown sugar, ½ tbsp lemon zest
1 whole cinnamon stick
1 tbsp ghee or clarified butter
Pinch of nutmeg
For the pie crust—
½ cup all-purpose flour and ½ cup wholewheat flour to add fibre and make it healthier)
½ cup olive oil (you can add less or more according to the texture of the dough)
¼ cup ice cold water, ½ tsp salt
1 tbsp almond powder or crushed almonds
For the pie crust, mix the salt and almond powder with the two kinds of flour, then add the olive oil mixed with the cold water and quickly mix it into a tight dough. The dough needs to crumble well but not be smooth enough to be rolled into a plain base. Leave the dough for half hour then take it out and mix it again. You may use your hands to make a base and set it into your baking dish or use a rolling pin to make a rough rolled out sheet.
For the filling, boil the pumpkin and mash it up. Fry it with 1 tablespoon ghee and add the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg after 5 minutes or once the pumpkin has browned. Cook for another 3-4 minutes then add the coconut milk, take it off the fire, and mix. Once it has cooled for about 5 minutes, mix the lemon zest into it.
Now preheat the oven at 150⁰C for about 10 minutes then reduce to 120⁰. Flatten out the pie dough into a baking dish and place some cooking marbles or something that keeps the dough in place; make some holes by pricking it with a fork and stick it in to the oven for about 10 minutes. At this point it forms a crust. Let it cool for about 5 minutes. Lather the pumpkin mix on this and top it off with a small cinnamon stick and put it into the oven to cook for another 15 minutes.
Serve it hot, with a thin slice of lemon wedge placed on top.
OATMEAL AND DATE CRUMBLE
A simple dish with simple ingredients but a perfect example of a cheery dessert.
½ cup chopped dates
¼ cup thin slices of orange rind (peel) and chopped into small pieces
1 cup rolled oats
½ tbsp ghee or clarified butter and 1 cup milk
¼ cup lemon zest
¼ cup 'taal er rosh' or palm syrup
About 1cm long piece of gelatine strand
Halve and de-seed the dates and lay them down in a baking dish. Heat the ghee in a pan and add the milk and boil it till it reduces to half its quantity and add the pinch of gelatine. Mix it till it thickens, cool it, then add the lemon zest.
Mix the oats with the nuts and mix it with the milk. Pour all this over the dates and stick it into a pre-heated oven (at 120⁰C for 10 minutes then bake at 80⁰); bake for about 8-10 minutes.
As soon as you take it out of the oven, piping hot, pour the palm sugar syrup on it so it sizzles, and serve hot.