With Ramazan coming to an end we know your energy levels have gone down and you have started giving in to the delicious samosas and pakoras. But what if we tell you we have something better for you?
Try these desi Ramazan delights and you can thank us later!
1. Hazelnut Baklava
Orange blossom water
For the nut filling
2 cups (8 ounces) skinned hazelnuts
1 cup (4 ounces) almonds cut into thin pieces
1 ½ tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
⅛ teaspoon salt
For the pastry
1 one-pound package frozen phyllo dough, defrosted
1 ½ cups warm clarified butter
For the honey syrup
1 ¼ cups sugar
⅓ cup honey
2 strips lemon zest, each 1/2-inch wide by 2 inches long
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon rosewater
1 teaspoon orange blossom water
1 whole cinnamon stick
3 whole cloves
⅛ teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, pulse together skinned hazelnuts, almonds, sugar, cinnamon, cloves and salt until finely ground.
For the pastry
On a large surface, unfold phyllo dough, removing plastic wrapping. With a sharp knife, slice dough in half crosswise, forming two 9-by-12-inch rectangles. Cover entirely with one or two damp dishcloths.
With a pastry brush, generously brush bottom of a 9-by-12-inch baking pan with clarified butter. Carefully place one phyllo sheet in pan (it should just fit) and brush with butter.
Repeat with 7 more phyllo sheets, brushing each sheet with butter. Keep unused phyllo covered as you work.
Sprinkle about 1/3 of nut and sugar mixture evenly over top layer. Repeat layering process with phyllo, continuing to brush each sheet with butter, until you have stacked on 6 more sheets.
Sprinkle another 1/3 of nut and sugar mixture evenly over top layer. Repeat layering process with phyllo and melted butter, using another 8 phyllo sheets.
Sprinkle final 1/3 of nut and sugar mixture over phyllo. Cover with two more sheets of phyllo, leaving top layer unbuttered.
Placing your palms in center of top layer, gently move your hands in an outward, sweeping motion, flattening and smoothing top of pastry. Brush an additional 1/4 cup melted butter evenly over top layer.
Using a sharp pointed knife, carefully slice baklava into 2-inch-thick diagonal strips. Repeat in opposite direction, forming a diamond pattern. Bake baklava until golden and flaky, 50 to 60 minutes, rotating pan as necessary to ensure even baking.
For the syrup
Meanwhile, in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine honey syrup ingredients with 3/4 cup water. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally, and cook until sugar has completely dissolved, about 5 minutes.
Transfer syrup to a bowl and refrigerate, stirring occasionally, until cool. Once cooled, strain mixture into a liquid measuring cup with a spout.
While baklava is still very hot, pour cooled syrup into cracks between diamond-shaped pieces, reserving about 3 tablespoons syrup. Drizzle reserved syrup evenly over top of baklava.
Let cool on a wire rack for 2 hours, then cover with foil and let sit at least 4 hours or overnight before serving.
2. Date Butter Tart
Vanilla Ice cream
For the Pate Sucree
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 extra-large egg yolk
1¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3½ tablespoons sugar
⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick unsalted butter
For the tart
35 to 40 Deglet Noor dates**
½ vanilla bean
9 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 extra-large eggs
⅔ cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Vanilla ice cream
For the Pate Sucree
Make the pate sucree: Whisk the cream and egg yolk together in a small bowl. In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour, sugar, salt and butter on medium speed until you have a coarse meal. (Or use a food processor and pulse until you have a coarse meal.)
Gradually add the cream and yolk and mix until just combined. Do not overwork the dough.
Transfer to a large work surface and bring it together with your hands to incorporate completely. Shape it into a 1-inch disc and put in the refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes to firm up a little.
Place it on a lightly floured work surface, sprinkle a little flour over the dough and roll it out into a ¼-inch-thick circle, flouring as necessary.
Starting at one side, roll and wrap the dough around the rolling pin to pick it up. Unroll the dough over a 10-inch tart pan. Gently fit the dough loosely into the pan, lifting the edges and pressing the dough into the corners with your fingers.
To remove the excess dough, roll the rolling pin lightly over the top of the tart pan for a nice, clean edge. Chill for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork and line the tart shell with a few coffee filters opened out, or with a piece of parchment paper.
Fill the lined tart shell with beans or pie weights and bake 15 minutes, until set. Take the tart out of the oven and gently lift out the paper and beans.
Return to the oven and bake another 10 to 15 minutes, until the crust is an even golden brown. Set aside on a rack to cool completely.
Make a vertical slit in each date and carefully remove the pit. Use your fingers to press the dates back into their natural shape. Place the dates, slit side down, in concentric circles in the tart shell, leaving ½ inch between each date.
Slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and use a paring knife to scrape the seeds and pulp onto the butter. To make sure not to lose any of the seeds, run your vanilla-coated knife through the butter.
Heat a medium sauté pan over medium heat for 1 minute. Add the vanilla-streaked butter and the vanilla pod to the pan and cook 6 to 8 minutes, until the butter browns and smells nutty. Discard the vanilla pod.
Whisk the eggs and 2/3 cup sugar together in a bowl. Whisk in the flour and salt and stir in the warm butter to incorporate.
Pour the batter over the dates in the tart shell. Sprinkle the top with the remaining tablespoon sugar. Bake 30 minutes, until the filling puffs up, browns and is set. Cool the tart at least 20 minutes, then cut into wedges and serve with scoops of vanilla ice cream.
**Another variety of dates may be used; just make sure they’re plump and juicy.
3. Moroccan Rice Pudding (Roz Bil Haleeb)
⅔ cup whole blanched almonds
2 ¼ cups medium- or small-grain rice
½ cup powdered sugar, more to taste
2 3-inch sticks cinnamon
⅓ cup butter
½ teaspoon coarse salt
¾ teaspoon almond extract
2 quarts milk
⅓ cup ground pistachios (optional, for garnish)
⅓ cup shredded unsweetened coconut(optional, for garnish)
⅓ cup orange flower water (optional)
Place half the almonds in a food processor. Add 1/2 cup very hot water, and purée until liquid. Press firmly through a sieve into a large saucepan.
Place pulp in sieve back in food processor with remaining almonds and 1/2 cup very hot water; liquefy again. Press through sieve into saucepan once more. Discard pulp.
Add 2 cups water to almond milk, and bring to a boil. Sprinkle in rice and sugar, and add cinnamon sticks; then add half the butter, the salt, almond extract and 1 quart milk.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes, adding more milk if necessary.
Continue cooking rice, adding more milk and stirring often until thick and velvety, but loose.
As milk becomes absorbed, add more. Taste for sweetness. It should be barely sweet; add more sugar if necessary.
Continue cooking for another 15 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent rice from burning. Stir in remaining butter.
Pour into a large serving bowl, and sprinkle with pistachios and coconut, if desired. Pass orange flower water for people to add on their own, if desired.
Pudding may also be left to cool and served at room temperature.
These recipes originally appeared on New York Times
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