Deck that Christmas Platter!

December 23, 2013 334 0 0

The tree’s been up for a while now, carollers have done the rounds, the whole city is bedecked in red and green, and the air is saturated with the delightful aroma of Christmas baking. Christmas is not too long away and it is the season to be jolly. Well, what better way to make merry than with traditional Christmas delicacies prepared at home. While Christmas and rich plum cakes go hand-in-hand, we Indians have our own variations and adaptations of Christmas goodies. However, given our ever-evolving world of food, bebinca, guava cheese, kulkuls, and gujiyas still hold sway. So we give you recipes of the five popular Christmas sweets made across homes in India

Nuereos or Gujiyas

Nuereos or Gujiyas @theroyaleindia

Made all over India as a festival sweet, Gujias or Nuereos differ only slightly from region to region. In some states, like Uttar Pradesh, the filling is made with sweetened khoya (milk thickened almost to a solid state) and nuts while in others like Goa, it consists of shredded coconut, nuts and jaggery. This version uses the coconut filling.

Ingredients:

  • 500 gms all-purpose flour
  • 6-7 tbsps of ghee (do not melt the ghee)
  • Water
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh grated coconut
  • 1/2 cup cashew nuts chopped fine
  • 1/2 cup small raisins chopped fine
  • 1/2 cup almonds cut into very thin slivers
  • 1/2 kg sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • Vegetable/sunflower/canola oil or ghee for deep frying

Preparation:

  • In a flat dish, mix the flour and ghee to form a crumbly mix that just about holds together.
  • Add water a little at a time and knead to form a firm dough. When done, cover the dough with a damp tea towel or muslin and keep it aside.
  • Roast the coconut on a very low flame till it is a pale reddish color. Keep aside.
  • Mix the sugar and water in a pan and cook till the sugar is fully melted. Now allow to thicken a little.
  • Add the coconut, raisins, cashews, almonds and cardamom powder and mix well. Remove from fire and keep aside to cool.
  • Divide the prepared dough into equal sized-portions and make them into balls.
  • Roll these balls out into circles about 4-5″ wide.
  • Put a heaped tablespoon of filling in the centre of each circle and fold over into a semi-circle. Pleat the edges to seal and keep aside. Repeat the filling process for all the circles.
  • Once all your dough and filling is used up, heat oil on a medium flame and deep fry the gujias.
  • Drain them on paper towels and store in an air-tight container.

Kulkuls

Kulkuls @theroyaleindia

A great sweet to prepare with the family, Kulkuls are made all over India at Christmas time. They are fun to make and keep very well if stored in a airtight container.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 kg plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup coconut cream
  • 4 tbsps sugar, powdered
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Oil for deep frying
  • 1 cup sugar (granulated)
  • 3-4 tbsps water

Preparation:

  • Mix the flour and baking powder well.
  • Add the butter a little at a time, mixing gently.
  • Beat the eggs in a separate bowl and add them to the flour-butter mix.
  • Add the powdered sugar and coconut milk to this and mix into a soft dough.
  • Form the dough into small marble-sized balls.
  • Grease the back of a fork with some oil and flatten and press a ball of dough onto it.
  • Starting at one end, roll the dough off the fork and into a tight curl. The end result will be a tube-like curl with the design from the fork on it! Make the remaining dough similiarly till it is all used up.
  • Heat the oil in a deep, heavy-bottomed pan on a medium flame.
  • When hot, fry the kulkuls in it, making sure to turn often, till they are a light golden brown in color. Drain and cool on paper towels.
  • Put the granulated sugar and water in a separate pan and cook till the sugar melts fully.
  • Put the cooled kulkuls into this sugar syrup and coat well.
  • Remove and allow to sit in a plate till the sugar encrusts on the kulkuls.
  • When fully cooled, you can store the kulkuls for a considerable amount of time if kept in an air-tight container.

Guava Cheese

Guava Cheese @theroyaleindia

A chewy fudge-like sweet, Guava Cheese is best made with fresh guavas. They are a rich source of vitamin C – from 3-6 times more than in oranges to almost 30 times more than that found in bananas! Most of this vitamin C is found in the skin of the fruit.

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg soft guavas
  • Sugar (amount based on how much pulp you get out of the guavas)

Preparation:

  • Cut the guavas into quarters and remove the seeds.
  • Put the seeds in a sieve and add a small amount of water. Rub into the sieve and press down with a flat spoon so as to extract the pulp surrounding the seeds, into a bowl kept below the sieve.
  • Blend the gauva pieces to s smooth pulp in your food processor. Measure how many cups of pulp you have – include the pulp removed from around the seeds.
  • Put all the pulp into a large, flat, heavy-bottomed dish on a medium flame.
  • Add sugar to the amount of one cup less than the number of cups of guava pulp. For example, if you had 6 cups of pulp, add 5 cups of sugar to it.
  • Cook, stirring frequently, till it becoms hard to stir and the guava cheese begins to come away from the sides of the pan.
  • Grease a platter and spoon the guava cheese onto it. Spread into a thick layer.
  • Allow to cool a little and while still warm, cut into diamond shapes.
  • When completely cooled, store in an air-tight container.

Bebinca

Bebinca @theroyaleindia

A traditional rich Goan dessert, Bebinca is a must have at any celebration be it a birth, wedding, Christmas or Easter! Making Bebinca requires patience – a layer can only be added when the one below it is cooked – but the end result is well worth the effort. Traditional Bebinca has 16 layers, but you can make as many as you like.

Ingredients:

  • 250 gms plain flour
  • 700 ml coconut milk
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 dozen egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups ghee (clarified butter)
  • Almond slivers to garnish

Preparation:

  • Mix the coconut milk and sugar together and stir till the sugar is completely dissolved.
  • In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks till creamy.
  • Add the coconut milk and mix well.
  • Add all the flour to this, a little at a time, making sure that no lumps are left.
  • Pre-heat your grill.
  • Put a tablespoonful of ghee in a baking pan (any shape) at least 6″ deep. Put this pan under the grill till the ghee melts.
  • Take it out from under the grill and pour some of the prepared batter into it to form a 1/4″ thick layer. Put back under the grill and cook till the top is golden. Monitor frequently.
  • Remove from under the grill and immediately add another tablespoonful of ghee on the previous layer. It will melt.
  • Now pour another layer of batter of the same thickness as the previous one. Cook under the grill till golden.
  • Keep repeating the layering process till all the batter is used up.
  • The last layer must be ghee. When it is done, turn the Bebinca over on a flat dish and garnish with almond slivers.
  • Cut into slices and serve warm or cool.

Marzipan

Marzipan @theroyaleindia

This is a favourite Goan sweet made specially for Christmas. Marzipan can be made into all sorts of shapes, depending on how artistic you are and how creative you feel! You can mix food colour into portions of Marzipan as you knead or even paint on the shapes once you’ve made them, using a regular artists paint brush.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 kg almonds blanched
  • 1/2 kg powdered sugar
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 tbsp rose water
  • Food colours and decorations as required

Preparation:

  • Blend all the ingredients, except the food colouring (add that later to portions of prepared Marzipan as needed) together until smooth.
  • Make into desired shapes – fruits, Christmas related shapes like stars, Christmas trees and snowmen can be made using cookie-cutters or you can roll out the Marzipan into a thick slab and cut into diamond or square shapes. If you’re using paint-on food colours, let the shapes sit for at least 3-4 hours before painting, so that the surface is sealed and colour does not seep or run where you do not want it to.
  • You can also dip each shape in melted chocolate and allow to set. Top with nuts, sprinkles or other smaller Marzipan shapes.
  • Allow to set for a day at least.

Conventional delicacies or modern delights, now that Christmas is here, we say, take the plunge!

Tags: Christmas, Christmas Recipe, Recipe Corner, Traditional SweetsCategories: miscellaneous