By Kavita Shyam
No meal is perfect without a dessert to compliment it with. Often, we crave for a dessert which has would have an added quotient of a fragrant spice? Well, today most women at home would like to treat their family and friends to a dessert out-of-the-box, unusual with flavorful herbs and spices to add the extra zing to the delicacy. The desserts might lack the flavour, punch, and sizzle that most eaters expect from their sweet desires.
To makes such tangy surprises one needs to put in a hint of cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, cloves, fennel, ginger, mint, nutmeg, poppy seeds, flaxseeds and saffron to name a few ingredients, while making cakes, cookies, pastries, pies, breads, puddings and other such sweet delicacies. Here’s how to become a crowd pleaser:
For food stylist, author and expert chef Michael Swamy loves to use spices as flavouring for most of his desserts to prepare out of the ordinary desserts, “ Spices usually used in techniques involving, roasting and poaching. I use a combination of both Indian and foreign spices depending on the style of dishes to be produced.
My guests crave innovation and the use of spice often mellows or gives a refreshing flavour. An amalgamation of spices with dessert ingredients do not make your stomach growl with displeasure as there are certain spices like cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon which have for centuries been used in desserts.
My inspiration comes from mood, the seasons, warm spices during the winters, cooling spices during summers. Certain spices create moods and reflections and take one into flavours of the past to ones childhood creating many a nostalgic effect.”
Adding spices to any food or dessert gives depth and character like no other.
People with sweet tooth will never say no to a dessert doused in bursts of spices and turning out to be heavenly. It’s a mouthful of pleasure that guests are bound to be coming back for time and again.
A quick recipe from Michael Swamy which he loves to dish out for his guests:
Spiced chocolate flourless cake
• 1 teaspoon Szechuan pepper
• 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
• 8 star anise
• 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
• ¼ teaspoon cloves
• ¾ cup caster sugar
• ¼ cup water
• 180g dark chocolate, chopped
• 140g butter, melted
• 3 eggs
• 10 cardamom pods, split open
• 3 slices ginger
• 2 cinnamon sticks
• 3 teaspoons ground cloves
• 5 star anise
• 2 cups cream
• ½ cup caster sugar
• 1 cup milk
• 5 tablespoons black tea
• 5 egg yolks
• 100ml cream
• 180g dark chocolate, 70%, chopped
Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: 1 hour 20 minutes
1. Preheat the oven to 180⁰C. Grease and line four 11cm spring form cake tins. Wrap the outside of the base and sides of the tins in foil to protect them from water seeping in.
2. For the cake, place the Szechuan pepper, fennel seeds and star anise in a small frying pan, place over a medium heat and toast until fragrant, transfer to a blender, add the cinnamon and cloves and blend to a powder. Sift. Place ¼ cup of sugar and water into a saucepan, add 2 ½ teaspoons of the spice mix, place over a high heat, stir to dissolve the sugar. Reduce heat to medium and simmer to syrup. Place the chocolate and the syrup into a bowl; place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir until the chocolate just melts then remove from heat. Add the butter and mix until smooth. Place the remaining sugar and eggs in a bowl and using an electric beater, beat until thick and pale. Fold the egg mixture into the chocolate mixture. Pour into the prepared tins, place tins in a roasting pan. Add enough hot water to the roasting pan to reach halfway up the sides of the spring form tins. Bake for 25 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Cool then remove from tins.
3. For the anglaise, place the cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, 1 cup of cream and sugar in a saucepan, place over a medium heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until infused. Add the milk and tea, simmer for 5 minutes. Place the egg yolks in a bowl with the remaining cream and whisk until well combined. Strain the infused cream mixture over the egg mixture whisking continually then transfer back into the saucepan. Place back over medium heat and whisk until slightly thickened. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.
4. For the ganache, Pour the cream into a saucepan and place over a medium heat, bring to a simmer. Place the chocolate in a bowl, pour over the hot cream and whisk until chocolate has melted and ganache is smooth. 5 Smear some ganache onto a serving plate, top with cake and serve with the crème anglaise in a jug to the side.
Recipe by chef Ashish Massey
Star Anise Flavoured Coconut Cigars
Coconut milk powder 100 gm
Mix fresh grated coconut, coconut milk powder, breakfast sugar and star anise powder together,
Take a spring roll sheet and fill in the sheet with the mixture. Roll it like a cigar. Seal the corner with a corn flour and water mix.
Fry the roll and serve it with vanilla ice cream.
Garnish it with some fresh coconut and chocolate syrup.
So embrace these mouth-watering desserts, which are sure to leave you with a guilty mind but a happy stomach. Go indulge at home or outside. And say ‘Cheers’ to such sweet and spicy surprises! Bon Appetite!