IngredientsFor Roasted Strawberries:-
For Ice Cream :-
Roasting the Strawberries
Pre-heat the oven to 350°F. Position the oven rack to the middle. I use glass or ceramic baking dish but if using any other kind, line with parchment paper.
Thoroughly wash the strawberries under running stream of water.Dry them between folds of kitchen towel to completely remove any moisture. Cut each berry in half for larger berries or cut into quarters for smaller ones. Layer the cut berries in a single layer in the baking dish. Squirt fresh lemon juice & zest over the berries. Sprinkle the sugar. Roast the berries inside the oven for 25 -40 minutes or until the juices thicken, they become syrupy, but the edges of the berries do not burn. The time will depends on the size of the berries and whether they are at the edge of the pan (faster) or in the middle (slower).Keep an eye.
Remove roasted strawberries and juices & let cool to room temperature. Using a fork gently mash the berries. Save about 1/2 cup of these roasted berries to serve later with the ice cream (if you desire, else use the whole). If you want to make ice cream later, these roasted berries can sit in the fridge for 3-5 days.
Making the Ice Cream
Put the graham cracker sheets in a ziplock bag & pound using a rolling pin crush into fine bits. Set aside.
In a large bowl, lightly whisk together ricotta cheese and heavy cream until smooth. Add the milk, sugar, salt & vodka (if using). Stir to combine. Fold in the roasted berries (prepared above) along with crushed graham crackers. Pour the ricotta mixture into an ice cream maker and churn/freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. Add the chopped strawberries 8-10 minutes before the end of freezing.
Alternatively you can pour the mixture into a glass/metal dish, stir in the chopped berries and freeze. You will need to stir the mix every 2 hours to slow for a creamy ice cream. Let freeze overnight or for at least 6 hours.
Using an ice cream scoop, places scoops of ice cream in the serving bowls, top up with fresh grated lemon zest, nuts,or reserved roasted berries.Serve immediately.
You can’t beat the taste of homemade yogurt. Its sweetish, grainy and rich. Something, which you are supposed to fall in love with. Eating yogurt is soul satisfying for me- it caters to the senses in the most pure & luscious way. There is something so addictive about the homemade version that I can eat it plain without a speck of salt or sugar. In India, the concept of readymade yogurt or starters/ probiotic cultures & stuff hit the grocery stores only a few years back. Till date, a popular way to get good quality yogurt is from the mithai (sweet) shops – it comes really close to home taste. Still, in most of the Indian families, including mine, yogurt is only bought from outside when there is a dire need to do so. Else, we Indians have all the patience in the world to make our own, at home.
One of my very fond memory of childhood is to eat a big bowl of dahi (yogurt) with lots of seasonal fruits & honey after every meal. We used to have this large, round earthen bowl in which my grandma made yogurt every night. Before going to sleep, her usual regime was to warm up the milk, dip her finger in there to check the temperature, mix it up with a starter from previous day, wrap up the bowl in a old woollen & set aside to set overnight. Everything was plain impulse and approximation – no thermometers or modern gadgets…as inexact as it can get. Nonetheless, her yogurt came out perfect each morning – ethereal white, milky sweet with a tangy note & thick. She said that the earthen pot sucks away the sourness as the bacteria play with the milk overnight. It didn’t make much sense to a 10 year old then.Only when I learnt science, I understood the fundamental about how & what difference an earthen bowl makes. Rarely, I saw her getting irked when her yogurt did not set in the morning ,we were then kicked out of the house with little bowls to get the starters from neighbors or nearby sweet shop.
Having lived on the homemade version half of my life, I never quite liked the gooey, gelatinous, slimy store bought versions. I understand smooth texture but I don’t understand lack of texture! I have my own theories that few of the brands have loads of cornstarch mixed along with emulsifiers & stabilizers. Even though, mostly I make my batch at home but if you should buy, try organic yogurt. Okay, I m not dumping my great ideas about organic milk products on you, but if you are a lazy bum like me at times, organic is certainly the way to go. The day, I discovered my favorite brand at Whole foods, my aversions about store bought yogurt were gone forever.
They say that true happiness lies in simplicity,this mousse highlights that simplicity. This virtually guilt free mousse is a fluffy bundle of joy.It is so airy that you wont realize you are eating a dessert. Such healthy desserts are always delightful – aren’t they? You bet, especially in this hot Vegas weather where the temperatures are still in the hundreds.Not only savory, I am crazy about spices and herbs even in desserts. You may find rosemary intriguing at first in a dessert, wait till you try it, come back & tell me what you feel. The touch of minced rosemary accentuates the feeling of comfort with an added aroma in each bite. Infact, P said that rosemary was the best part about the dessert and called it an “Aromatherapy dessert” Whatever! 🙂 I topped it with a simple mush of fresh berries mixed with lemon juice & sugar. The extra tang from lemon in the topping adds in a layer of flavor. No cooking, No oven, No grill- Just you and the whisk. Top it up with whatever fruit or nuts you are crazy about- I tell you, even chocolate will work wonders.
For the Yogurt Mousse :- [Makes 4 servings]
- 1 tsp unflavored gelatin
- 3 tbsp water
- 1-1/2 cup plain yogurt (just take care that the yogurt is not very sour)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream, cold
- 1/3 cup granulated white sugar (or to taste)
- 1.5 tbsp minced rosemary (adjust to preference)
- Less than 1/8 tsp of salt
- 1/2 cup each blackberries & raspberries (fresh or frozen)
- 1 tbsp of fresh lemon juice (avoid if you berries are very tart)
- Sugar to taste
- In a small bowl, thoroughly mix yogurt with minced rosemary & salt.
- Tie the yogurt in a clean muslin/cheesecloth.Set the tied cloth on a sieve with a bowl placed below it and let the yogurt sit refrigerated for 4 hours.
- In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and set aside to bloom.
- In a large bowl, tip in the thickened yogurt and whisk it for 3-5 minutes to fluff it up.Set aside.
- In another bowl, with a hand beater/electric mixer start whipping up the cream.While whisking, add sugar in parts to the cream till you get stiff peaks.Set aside.
- Heat the bloomed gelatin in the microwave for 10 seconds. If you do not have microwave, you can use a double boiler to melt the gelatin.
- Immediately, pour the melted gelatin over the yogurt and whisk thoroughly to mix.
- Very gently, fold in the whipped cream with the yogurt until everything has combined well. The mix will be thick and fluffy.
- Spoon the yogurt mix in bowls or glasses and place in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours to set.
- For the topping:- In separate bowls, add berries with lemon juice and sugar. Mush them with a spoon or masher to desired consistency.Top the set mousse with this berry mash and serve chilled.
- You can increase the quantity of heavy cream and reduce equivalent quantity of yogurt from ingredient list depending on how rich you want your mousse.
- If using greek yogurt, since it is already quite thick & sour, reduce the straining time in the refrigerator by half.
- Use your mortar & pestle to mince rosemary leaves- add few drops of water if needed as you mince.You can chop them really fine too.
Litchi Pannacotta [Serves 4-5]
Recipe adapted from The Culinary Chronicles
- 1 20oz can lychees [substitute with fresh pitted litchis]
- 3/4 tbsp unflavored powdered gelatin
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tbsp sugar [adjust to taste]
- 1 cup fresh mango puree [substitute with store bought]
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 tbsp sugar [adjust to taste]
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- a pinch of cardamom powder [optional]
- 3/4 tbsp unflavored powdered gelatin
- 1/4 cup water