For those of you readers in India.. Remember those old Everest Milk Masala ads & jingles? of prospective brides trying to impress potential parents-in- law by serving them Masala Milk? Well, I tried to look up some on You Tube but those old ones were nowhere to be found. Instead, there were new ones still revolving around the theme of family & love like this one in Marathi.
Masala Milk is a comfort food of the liquid variety that is popular all over India, irrespective of language or state. Scaling hot milk evaporated down to incorporate caramelized threads of milk solids and sweetened with sugar & coarsely crushed pistachio & almonds.
What is it about Masala Milk that evokes love, caring & sharing? Perhaps, Its the comforting offering of nutritious milk, or the rich sharing of nuts, which are not easy to come by for most families. You just have to read this article by Raghavan Iyer to understand what I'm trying to convey.
O.K, so Valentine's day doesn't exactly refer to family love.. its more of a romantic notion.. well, then just go look up any cheesy Bollywood movie referring to post wedding nuptials, and you're bound to come across a shy bride entering the bedecked bedroom holding a pitcher in her hands along with a couple of silver glasses.. Anybody wanna guess what it contains? Yep... Masala milk.. How much more mush & romance do you want me to yap on about??
On the other hand, Valentines day is intrinsically woven into that avatar of ambrosia, Theobroma cacao, a.k.a Chocolate, and chocolate boutiques & brands make a killing selling these divine morsels. (I bet they were all in it together & simply appointed Hallmark cards to take the lead & declare Feb 14th as a day dedicated to love).
If this blog post won't get you HOOKED onto chocolate, I don't know what will. I mean, just look at those pictures.. Yes, I may be borderline star struck after last weeks taping session with Kelsey Nixon, She is such a bubbly and charming person in real life. The Perfect 3 opportunity definitely gave me the confidence to attempt dishes that I would have passed on in favor of easier ones. What better ingredient to start than with Chocolate, the flavor of the month. So here it is, a fusion of love offerings from 2 different cultures..The Masala Milk truffle.
The center filling is a white chocolate ganache flavored with Chai spice blend and powdered toasted pistachio & almonds.
|Chai Spice blend|
Masala Milk Truffles: (makes ~ 32)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon Chai spice blend (follow the link above for the recipe)
1 packet white chocolate baking chips (11 oz)
1/4 cup toasted Pistachio
1/4 cup toasted almonds
1 packet Dark chocolate chips (11 oz)Crystals of Thai Ginger flavored salt or Pink Himalayan salt
Crush the toasted pistachio & almonds into a semi fine consistency and mix thoroughly. Measure 1/3 cup of the combined mixture and reserve. Add the white chocolate chips to the 1/3 cup of nut blend & combine in a glass mixing bowl.
Add the chai spice blend to the heavy cream and heat until the cream just comes to a boil. Immediately lower the heat to a minimum and simmer the cream mixture for about 5-10 minutes to allow the spice blend to release its flavors. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
Strain the spiced cream into the white chocolate chip blend. stir to melt the chocolate completely (feel free to heat in the microwave for 30 seconds extra) to obtain a smooth texture (well almost, the powdered nuts add a lovely graininess to the ganache). Cover the surface with cling wrap and refrigerate till cooled & firm. (about 1 hr)
Using a melon baller, scoop the ganache and roll it into marbles. freeze until solid (at least 2 hrs).
|Those Cocktail Idli steamer plates are perfect for holding the ganache!|
Add the dark chocolate chips into a heat proof bowl and melt over a saucepan of simmering water. When the chocolate has completely melted, dunk the spiced ganache marbles into the dark chocolate and coat all over. Gently place on a tray lined with wax paper to set. Once the shell hardens, transfer the truffles into paper cups , garnish with the salt crystals and refrigerate in a dry container.
This is how the cut up cross section looks..
As for the remaining melted chocolate, just add about 2 -3 oz of boiling water along with 2 teaspoons of orange zest and whip furiously over ice cubes to get a serving of this totally insane mousse.. Follow this link for the original genius recipe.