"Through my recipes and words, I'll relive my mum,
She who taught me to cook, and make it a chore fun.
As she sifted, measured & baked, raising an eyebrow to me
'Would you a spoon a dollop, and lick the batter to see?'
Hell yes, the best part of being sous chef it was!
Life in the kitchen, she said, is a life without laws...
So today, as I remember her smiles, frowns & rage
Wishing she was here, to taste my batter for a change!
I whip up a colorful treat, for mums everywhere,
Those that are, will be, or love one who endlessly shares.."
My mother was very particular about her tools.
From the day she enrolled in a baking class, to the day she lived, she owned just one hand mixer, blender, cookie pan, measuring cups & spoons, food weighing scale, sewing machine.....etc. She insisted that if you took care of things, no matter how expensive or cheap, they will last you a lifetime - however long or short that might be. So, amongst other things, I inherited her mixer. A lovely Moulinex, that, in those days, was considered rather fancy.
It was rare to travel out of India when she was growing up. So, when my aunt was returning from Algeria, she jumped on the chance to ask her for a 'dough maker'. For making 'chapati' dough I suppose! But my aunt, having never heard of such a thing, got her this instead. Just as well, for she used to whip the batter by hand till that day!
I remember using it for our chocolate cake sessions during the school holidays, and was quite disappointed that it won't work in the US. But lo and behold, it did. Life sure has funny ways to make you happy.
One of her favorite desserts was a Trifle - a cake dessert that [i think!] was inspired by the British rule in India. She told the neighbors about it, scribbled varying versions of it in her cooking notes, took it for pot lucks and served it at plenty a gathering. And when I got a bit older, she would ask me to help as she assembled it, and later tell everyone that I had made dessert that day..... Talk about pride.
So this mothers day, I could think of nothing more than to whip up a version her beloved treat. Using her special tool ofcourse! The mini trifles are soft & boozy bundles of sponge cake slathered with layers of custard, cream & sweet rum caramelized peaches.
The bites makes you happy, and the rum makes the happiness linger. Magic or love? You decide.
1 medium round sponge cake [I used this easy recipe but you can buy one off a bakery as well]
12 teaspoons + 1 tablespoon dark rum
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons maple syrup
6-8 fresh ripe peaches, pitted and sliced
1/2 cup warm milk
For the custard [ I like making it from scratch, but you can use a custard mix as well]
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
5 green cardamoms, crushed
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
A pinch of salt
To make the custard, mix the milk, cream & crushed cardamoms, and bring to a simmer. Make a paste with a teaspoon of the warm milk mixture, corn starch & salt. Slowly add the corn starch paste to the simmering milk, stirring continuously, till the milk begins to thicken. Let it bubble for few seconds and then remove from heat. Discard the cardamom skin, and stir in sugar and vanilla essence. Keep aside to cool.
Beat the cream with maple syrup till soft peaks form. Refrigerate.
Put the peach slices, along with a teaspoon of brown sugar, in a non stick pan on high heat. As the sugar begins to caramelize, add 1 tablespoon of rum and give it a quick toss. Remove from heat and cool.
Cut out 2 inch rounds from the sponge cake and slice each round in half. Layer one half at the bottom of your serving dish. Soak it in some warm milk & a teaspoon of rum, and press it down slightly. Put a dollop of custard, followed by a dollop of whipped cream, and then a slice of the caramelized peach. Top with the other half of the cake and repeat the layers. Do this with all the rounds from the cake.
Oh and don't throw away the remaining corners & crumbles from the cake! Make extra portions with those. Just use broken up cake instead of rounds and do the same exact thing.
This dessert tastes great after 24 hours, and even better after 48! Trust me, it's worth the patience.