If there's one season whose imagery speaks to me, it is that of Autumn. Think chunky sweaters, long walks on crunchy fallen leaves, that nip in the air, mugs of steaming hot chocolate, sitting curled up with a good book and a cosy blanket and loads and loads of baking! And all this is great and you can nod along with me in total agreement except for the small, tiny detail that we have no autumn in India! Yes, the hill states in the North might experience it but in my little corner of the world, all we get is a month of pleasant weather that we euphemistically call Winter. So, when November unexpectedly bought a nip in the morning air, much earlier than anticipated, I was all ready to play make-believe. All while conveniently ignoring that hazy smog that's quietly taking over our skylines!
My social media feed is full of baking recipes with apples and blackberries. And pumpkin too, but after all these years of blogging, I still haven't accepted the idea of pumpkin in my desserts. And apples have made an appearance quite a few times on this blog so blackberries it was to be with the help of some readymade blackberry preserve.
Ever since I decided to revive my blog, I have been on the lookout for recipes that challenge and expand my existing baking repertoire. I think it was lack of challenge that caused me to stagnate and even kill the joy that I once experienced when I first experimented with baking. Over the past few months of lockdown, I have been particularly enamoured by the idea of working on learning French pastry and baking more keenly. Think puff pastry, financiers, madeleines, eclairs, caneles, croissants, baguettes...you get the picture.
It all sounds so ambitious, so we begin small with financiers. Financiers are these small French tea cakes that taste of brown butter and almonds. They are usually baked in a rectangle moulds and the story goes that they were first made in a pastry shop near the Paris stock exchange. They were baked in rectangle moulds to resemble bars of gold because well, you know those greedy bankers and their love for all things over-the-top!
Before, I sign off, I'd like to draw your attention to an e-cookbook, 'At Home : Favourite recipes from our kitchens'. Chefs, writers, home cooks and bloggers from across the country have shared about fifty recipes from their kitchens. All proceeds (you can pay anything upwards of Rs.300) from this cookbook will go towards the work of the Nabhangan Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation that works with rural communities in Marathawada. (www.nabhanganfoundation.org)