Last week, we celebrated Holi - 'the festival of colours' in India. It is time for family, food and fun ... but it also marks the onset of the Great Indian Summer. Spring is a largely 'blink-and-you'll-miss-it' affair in India and the summer spawns anywhere from mid-March to mid-July depending on which part of India you live in. Despite being Indian, born and bred, summer in India is my least favourite time. The heat and dust of the Indian summer is legendary. My mind stops functioning as I cope with the summer heat that can be brutal and unforgiving at its peak. I shun anything that takes me out of my air-conditioned cocoon, stepping out only once the sun has set and some sort of mental equilibrium established.
Summer also means lesser time baking because a hot oven just seems to aggravate things further. And that's why over the next few weeks, you will find my posts taking me away from the oven and closer to the refrigerator.
Today's recipe is right up my alley - fuss-free instructions, simple ingredients, seasonal fruit and an end-result that will defy all expectations when compared to the effort that went into it! It is from Donna Hay's television series: 'Fast, Fresh, Simple' that just finished airing in India and is based on her latest book.
There is nothing fancy about this recipe but what takes it a notch higher than the desserts you usually make at home is that simple brulee effect that you achieve right at the end. And yes, you can achieve it even if you don't have a blow torch like me!!
I don't just recommend this dessert, I will almost insist that you give it a shot. You can use any soft fruit of your choice but you already know my weakness for strawberries. This will probably be one of my last desserts with strawberry for this season before the market makes way for mangoes!!
It is the yoghurt-based mixture that will suprise you with its slight tang that offsets the sweetness of the fruit mixture. It's texture is almost that of a 'no-bake' cheesecake. What more could I say other than that it's refreshing, light and perfect for this time of the year!
makes 4 medium-sized individual ramekins (but also depends on the size of your ramekins)
- 150 gms strawberries
- 80 gms caster sugar
- 210 gms Greek yoghurt or hung curd (I took approx 300 gms of regular curd and then put in a sieve overnight to let the water drain off and be left with thick, hung curd)
- 125 ml double cream
- 1 1/2 tbsp caster sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Extra caster sugar/ demerara sugar, for sprinkling for the brulee
- Place the strawberries and 40 gms of caster sugar in a saucepan for 15-20 mins till the sugar dissolves and the mixture thickens. Mash the strawberries lightly with a fork.
- Spoon the mixture equally between the ramekins and refrigerate to cool.
- In another bowl, whisk together the yoghurt, cream, sugar and vanilla until thick. Do taste the mixture to see if you would like it sweeter.
- Only when the strawberry mixture has completely cooled and seems a bit set, gently spoon the yoghurt mixture equally between the ramekins. Refrigerate until cold. I kept mine overnight but i reckon 2 hours should more than do the trick.
- Sprinkle the caster sugar/demerara sugar over the set mixture and caramelise the sugar with a blowtorch.
- If you don't have a blowtorch like me, then heat your oven to its highest temperature, place the ramekins on the top-most shelf of the oven for 2 minutes and the sugar will caramelise. Be careful to see that your ramekins are oven-proof for this and don't take your eyes off the oven as the sugar can burn very easily.
- Refrigerate until cold and serve.