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The 'We Knead to bake' Project # 12 - Bienenstich Kuchen - German Bee sting Bread

Its sad that 99% of New Years resolutions go bust on Jan 2nd. Thankfully this group resolution went on until the year end. Cannot say how thankful I am to Aparna Balasubramanian and her motivation & enthusiasm in guiding the lot of us through a dozen delicious yeasted confections. I admit, I missed out on one assignment - The crunchy salty pretzels (which no one in my family cares for)  while on vacation in India, but got a personal face to face exemption from Aparna herself!

And so here is yeasted confection # 12: The Bee sting Cake, known as Bienenstich Kuchen in German. Couple of anecdotes behind this unusual name  -  The baker who came up with this recipe was shooing a bee away from the sticky almond topping when it retaliated and stung him.
 another story - The inhabitants of a village drove away hostile invaders by flinging beehives at them and celebrated with this victory cake, which they christened Bienenstich Kuchen. But whatever the reason, this luscious  custard fill…

Pickling & preserving the Buddha's Hand!

Got your attention with that sacrilegious sounding title on this post, didn't I? Well, I'm as spiritual as the next person out there, and never in my life will I ever commit that variety of Blasphemy, so nothing to fret about. I still wonder why these curious looking citrus entities (other than the obvious visual reason) were called such. It turns out that these fruits are used as a religious offering to the Buddha.

My neighboring Whole Foods Market (which is quite some distance away, in Princeton) had a stock of these weird looking citrus and I must have been the oddball customer who immediately went cuckoo on spotting them. Since I had never seen one before, I immediately went for the biggest fruit with the most tentacles (since they were sold as individual units rather than by weight)



The first three 'tentacles' were peeled off for their zest, dried in the oven and went into making a citrus salt for my Food52 Secret Santa .

Making the Citrus Salt is really simple,…

Roasted Pumpkin Pilaf

Sometimes, there is no excuse, the brain just does NOT want to sit down and get down to writing a post. And I believe in giving myself that luxury. As much as I enjoy whipping up dish after dish, getting the ingredients ready, Taking notes down to the last pinch, tweaking, trying to make it presentable even within a low maintenance 'plonk & shoot' configuration. There are recipes that linger on in a rough copy format, chicken scribbles that only I can make sense of. This recipe is one of those comfort food dishes that finds a place on my table multiple times (Perhaps the familiarity of the dish is the reason why It hasn't found its way to the blog).

The dish by itself is one of those elegantly easy dishes that defies being categorized into any one particular cuisine, a touch of Mujaddara from the Middle East, spiced with Harissa , a generous chunk of Indian Paneer cheese, and the star ingredient and the chief flavor: Traditional American Pumpkin puree. I paired it wit…

Thanksgiving dishes - Saag Delicata (Spinach with pumpkin puree and pan roasted delicata squash)

As I slowly cobble up my thanksgiving menu, The natural curiosity in me seems to have allowed me to go haywire with whatever fall produce is available. I had plenty of leftover puree



from my cheesecake that I did not want to toss away so decided to incorporate it for a savory recipe,




So just added it to some spinach to make a savory Saag curry paired with piping hot Naans. To make this a vegan version, use olive or vegetable oil. I diced some Delicata squash,  and added them both as a complementary textural ingredient (sauteed) as well as a garnish (Pan fried). If access to  delicata squashes is restricted, feel free to substitute with any other squash.

Saag Delicata

You need:

2 bunches fresh spinach
1 delicata squash , Peeled, cored and diced
1 cup shallots or red onions, sliced thin
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 + 3 (total 5) tablespoons Ghee or Oil (if you prefer a vegan option)
1 tablespoon cumin
1-2 blades mace
2 small sticks cassia cinnamon (the flat variety)
cayenne pepper to tas…

The 'We knead to bake' project #11: Swedish Cinnamon buns -Kannelbullar / Kannelsnegle (cinnamon buns/snails)

Time flies when you're having fun - so goes the saying. I never realized how relevant it would be to something so very different as this baking project that we started way back in January. Aparna Balasubramanian, the author of the blog 'My diverse kitchen' has led us through a fabulous journey through sweet and savory yeast  confections. It started out with the pull apart bread and wended its way through classic breads like Croissants to unusual cookies such as Torcettini de St. Vincent.
This years penultimate bread is the classic Swedish cinnamon bun, (yep, from the same set of those addictive treats you look forward to on a trip to Ikea). These buns are traditionally made on Oct. 4th to celebrate 'The day of the cinnamon bun' but then these are so addictive that they're available all year round in Swedish bakeries. The Swedish version is a lot less sticky and sweet compared to the American version. I tried both the traditional swirled version as well as the …