(This article appeared in the Winter 2021 issue of Pastry Arts Magazine)
Co-Founder & Director of Academics
Lavonne Academy of Baking Science and Pastry Arts
India is a country that has long been associated with a vibrant and diverse culture, cuisine and heritage. While the country is divided by states and union territories, it is united by food. In India, food is all about celebrating small or big events; it is all about getting people together and having quality time with the loved ones. Indians love their desserts, however, they are generally limited to the traditional preparation and presentation style.
Some of the Indian desserts that have become popular internationally include halwas, kheers and pedas. Halwa is a dense, sweet confection that is popular across the Middle East as well as in India. It is usually made with fresh vegetables, fruits and grains. The dish has travelled a long way, covering a lot of southern Asian countries, but settled down well in the widespread cuisine of North India. There is no secret ingredient, no surprise addition. What you see is what you get with this simple Indian dessert.
Kheer, also known as payasam or phirni, is a type of pudding that is made by boiling milk, sugar and rice together, although depending on who is making it, other grains, including bulgar, millet, tapioca or corn, can be used in place of rice. In the southern part of the country it is common to use fresh coconut milk in the dessert, while fresh cream is a standard ingredient in the northern part of India. Cardamom, clove, cinnamon and saffron are spices that are commonly used to flavor kheer.
Pedas, also known as pethas, were introduced by Mughals to India in the mid18th century. Made with milk and sugar and flavored with cardamom, they are soft and fudge-like and can be served as a dessert or candy. The dessert might seem simple, but it involves a lot of skill and attention to make a truly good peda.
Inspired from these three Indian delicacies, I challenged myself to create a dessert that is a perfect amalgamation of Indian flavors and a modern, international appearance. The tart shell, made with multigrain flour and clarified butter, was inspired by halwa, while the chocolate cardamom ganache is a nod to kheer. Finally, the spiced dark chocolate lassi mousse is reminiscent of the peda. The tart is a full circle in shape, which also happens to symbolize eternity according to Indian traditions – a good omen, we hope, for the coming year.
Rich Multigrain Tart with Spiced Dark Chocolate Lassi Mousse and Fresh Berries
Yield: 8 tarts
Multigrain Tart Shell
- 100 g whole wheat flour
- 50 g buckwheat flour
- 100 g clarified butter
- 50 g granulated sugar
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix all the ingredients together to form a fine dough. Wrap in plastic and freeze for 30 minutes.
- Roll out the dough and line eight 3.5ʺ (9 cm) tart molds with it. Dock the dough and bake at 320˚F (160˚C) until done.
Chocolate Cardamom Ganache
- 150 g fresh heavy cream
- 5 g ground cardamom
- 100 g milk chocolate
- In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the fresh cream while stirring continuously. Once the cream is warm, add the ground cardamom and let it infuse into the cream.
- Chop the milk chocolate and place it in a clear bowl. Add the warm cardamom-infused cream to the bowl and mix well. Rest the ganache in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
Spiced Dark Chocolate Lassi Mousse
- 100 g yogurt
- 50 g whole milk
- 50 g dark chocolate
- 2 g ground cardamom
- 2 g ground star anise
- 1 g ground cinnamon
- 2 g vanilla extract
- 6 g gelatin sheets, bloomed
- Mix the yogurt and milk together and whisk it until the mixture becomes light and frothy. Strain the mixture and keep aside.
- Over a double boiler, melt the dark chocolate and allow to cool.
- Add the melted and cooled dark chocolate to the yogurt mixture along with the spices, vanilla and bloomed gelatin. Strain the mixture and pour it into a spiral shaped silicone mold. Let set in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours.
- Fresh currants and berries
- Micro greens
- Carefully unmold the tart shell and place it on a plate. Fill a piping bag with the Chocolate Cardamom Ganache and pipe it over the tart. Once the Spiced Dark Chocolate Lassi Mousse is set completely, carefully unmold it and place it on the top of the ganache layer. Garnish the tart with fresh currants, berries and micro greens.
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