Do you remember the last time someone made you feel special, really special? If you were aksed to jog your memory and pick a unique experience or moment -what would it be? During a training conducted by my office, my colleague asked everyone present in the room to share an instance – pleasant or unpleasant- from our childhood that had a deep impact on us. I shared two – a pleasant as well as an unpleasant one. But, it is the former that made me emotional. Interestingly, there is a food angle. My father opted for a posting in Kolkata so that our grandparents could live with us. My grandfather was in his late 70s. Every evening he used to step out for a short walk around the campus and return within 45 minutes or so. He refused to allow anyone to accompany him on his walk. One day he took longer than usual. An hour had passed and he had not returned. We started panicking. My father came back from office and stepped out to search for him. My grandfather walked in without any inkling of the panic he had caused us. My mother asked him where he had been and why he took so long. He put his hand in his jawahar coat and slowly pulled out a packet of jhaal muri (spicy puffed rice) and said “Rina (that is my pet/daak name) jhaal muri without jhaal cheh chilo”. A few weeks before this incident, I had requested my father to get me some jhaal muri without jhaal, and he had dismissed it quite summarily . I don’t recall feelin bad about it. I was overwhelmed with emotion when I realised that my grandfather had paid heed to my silly request and walked for over an hour to find one guy who would make him jhaal muri without jhaal just for me!! Whenever I’ve felt undervalued in personal relationships, I’ve reminded myself of this incident and felt infinitely better. In my own way I’ve tried to do a thing here and there for people I love. I am aware that the purest form of doing something special for someone would be to expect nothing in return. However, once in a while the expectation bug does bite me 🙂
I haven’t baked anything in a while. I had family over for tea yesterday and decided to bake a chocolate tart. While the recipe is simple, it is time-consuming. I followed Rachel Allen’s recipe for the pie crust and the chocolate filling reciped adapted by Purple Foodie from The Traveler’s Lunchbox.
Here are the recipes:
For the pie crust
- 200 g plain flour, sifted
- 1 tbsp icing sugar
- 100 g butter, chilled and cubed [I used Amul butter]
- 1 egg, beaten
1. Put the flour, butter and a pinch of salt in a food processor and process briefly. I did not use the processor. Instead I used my fingertips and rubbed the butter in till it resembled breadcrumbs as had been suggested by Rachel.
2. Add half the beaten egg and continue to process. (You might add a little more egg, but not too much as the mixture should be just moist enough to come together.) If making the pastry by hand, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs then, using your hands, add just enough egg to bring it together.
3. With your hands, flatten out the ball of dough until it is about 2cm thick, then wrap it in cling film or place it in a plastic bag and leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or, if you are pushed for time, in the freezer for 10–15 minutes, before using. The website shared Rachel’s tip that the pastry should be rolled out between two sheets of cling film.
4. Line a 23cm [My tin was 21 cm] tin with the shortcrust pastry and cover the base with baking parchment. Fill the tin with baking beans and bake blind for 10-15 minutes at 180C. Remove the beans and parchment for the last five minutes of baking for a golden crust. Do remember to prick the pastry before you proceed to blind bake. I’ve blind baked once before. Take a look here.
8 oz (225g) dark chocolate [I used Morde Dark Chocolate]
6 tablespoons (90g) butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes [I used unsalted butter]
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup (80ml) heavy cream [Bought this from the local dairy]
1/4 cup (50g) sugar
1 teaspoon hazelnut extract [Added vanilla essence instead]
cocoa powder for dusting
1. Melt the chocolate and butter in a saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth, then remove from the heat and cool for 5 minutes. Whisk together the eggs, cream, sugar, and hazelnut extract [vanilla essence] in a bowl. Whisk the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture until combined.
2. Pour the filling into the cooled crust. Bake until the filling 1 inch from edges is set and slightly puffed but center wobbles when pan is gently shaken, 20 to 25 minutes. I baked it for 20 minutes. I then let it cool down in room temperature for about 2 hours and then put it in the refrigerator to cool for a while.
Dust with cocoa powder when cool.
This was super duper yummy and was entirely polished off!