One of the hardest things to change, I find, is the expectation about desserts.
So this summer (no camps) - we made plenty of them in our spare time.
And not all fruit yoghurts and sesame-jaggery balls, (though some of those too), but cheesecakes, pies, biscuits, ice-creams, etc.
It kept Y1 and Y2 gainfully employed and very happy indeed. Naturally, we discussed about what they're all actually made up of. (The home-made versions as well as the commercial ones!) My job done. Gyan given. Now it's up to them.
And after all that effort, we get to enjoy the fruits of our labour. What more can one ask? Almost like having the cake and eating it too.
One look at the ingredients below will tell you that this is not your regular "Philly" variety. In fact, this is surely as close to healthy as it is possible for a cheesecake to get. Still, best as only an occasional treat, though.
Lots of work for little hands to do.
Weighing, measuring, mixing, sieving, pounding and what not.
Recipe Source : Healthy Desserts by Janette Marshall.
Digestive wholemeal biscuits (we used Britannia) - 225gms / 8oz
Melted butter - 50gms / 2oz
Cinnamon powder - pinch
Cottage cheese (we used Nandini Paneer) - 450 gms/1 lb
Fresh cream or soured cream - 300 ml / 1/2 pint
Fresh yoghurt - 300 ml / 1/2 pint
Black Currants - 100 gms / 4 oz (We doubled this)
Powdered Gelatine - 15 gms / 1/2 oz (substitute with agar-agar or china grass if you prefer)
Boiling water - 4 tablespoons
We made 2/3 portion. Yes, that's a lot of math work, too.
Grease the pan. This one is a 7-inch tart pan with fluted edges with a false bottom. The removable bottom is necessary in this case, as it allows the cheesecake to be slipped out of the pan and onto the serving plate easily. (For the full portion use an 8" pan.)
While the ingredients are being weighed and measured, I finish making lunch.
The digestive biscuits need to be pounded into a coarse powder.
Using a pestle with a large steel bowl works just fine.
Or bash them in a bag with a rolling pin.
Feel free to use hands to crush them as well. Superman style.
Then press the mixture into the base of the greased pan, and keep it in the fridge to set, for an hour at least.
If you wish, you can press some of the biscuit base onto the sides as well (halfway up is also good).
Now for the filling.
Sieve, or grate the cottage cheese, or blend in the mixer jar for a smooth finish.
We keep the rustic-looking, textured version by grating.
If you are using home-made paneer (which is even better) then you can choose to keep it softer by merely straining, but not pressure-draining out all the whey.
Half the fun is when you can sample the ingredients at every stage including making sure the paneer tastes the same on all sides and even when grated.
Disclaimer: This is not how things are normally made at my home - only summer projects intended for self-consumption!
Y2 meanwhile leaves the arduous job of grating to Y1 and does a quality check on the black currants, which pass the taste test.
I do a quality check to make sure no Lego pieces make their way into the dish.
Then the fresh cream.
If you are using the mixie jar, it's easy to whizz all these three together.
A thorough mix.
Sprinkle the gelatin into a small bowl with the boiling water and stir till it dissolves. If required, stand this in a saucepan of boiling water and ensure that it all dissolves.
Allow to cool then, when on the point of setting, stir into the cheesecake mixture.
Then spoon it onto the base which should by now have set.
Chill in the refrigerator till set.
And it's ready!
Great as it is with just the blackcurrants providing the flavour and sweetness.
Or with fresh fruit on the side.
If you have an intense sweet tooth, you could add some powdered sugar into the filling, or better yet, use a sweet preserve as a topping, which works exceptionally well.
Make your own, with seasonal fruit like a cupful of blueberries or strawberries by crushing and heating them through with some sugar, cornstarch and a little water, cool and pour over the top.
All natural fruit preserves like St.Dalfour, or Fabindia or organic ones like High Range are great options.
And, of course, more fresh cream for the topping is always welcome.