Kids are fun to work with. Sidd will turn 4 in November this year. This little lad is an amazing kid who has achieved his milestones much earlier than others. As his parents, we have tried our best to nurture him with hands-on activities like science experiments, baking and cooking. He learns math by counting the cupcakes and he understands chemistry by watching the reaction between baking soda and vinegar in a balloon. Repetition is the key. I would casually talk about the same thing in different ways. For instance, he loves playing with his iPad. I would start a conversation about Steve Jobs. I would have spoke about Jobs more than 10 times in a week. The name gets registered in his mind. One day Sidd asked me why the apple logo in iPad looks as if someone ate a chunk of it. I stayed quiet. He thought a bit and said may be Steve Jobs ate it. I smiled in excitement.That’s the result of repetition. The same logic applies to cooking. With constant guidance and discussion, kids get tremendous ability to get creative. Since he turned 2, I have made conscious effort to involve him in the kitchen. He started by peeling boiled eggs and potatoes. That is a easy task to start with. He then graduated to pour batter into the idly plates with utmost precision. He would talk about the fruits he will want for snack. He was beginning to take control of his food. His favorites for lunch. His preferences in a smoothie. I gave him the freedom to choose his food.
As I mentioned in the previous post, my birthday is coming next week. Sidd was so impatient that he demanded to bake a cake for me. He wanted to make it all by himself so I had to come with a recipe that involved no cooking. Cheese cake is an obvious choice. This no-bake dessert is a glamorous treat by itself. I decided to add gulab jamun and cardamom powder for an Indian twist. I make cheesecake using cream cheese or mascarpone but this time we went with paneer (Indian cheese) and yogurt.
Gulab Jamun Cheese Cake for Amma’s birthday
For the crust
- 15 digestive biscuits
- 1 cup ghee
For the filling
- 3 cups paneer, grated
- 1.5 cups sweetened condensed milk
- 2 cups hung yogurt (water completely drained/removed)
- 2 – 1oz gelatin envelope (use agar-agar or any vegetarian gelatin)
- 1/4 cup hot water
- 1 teaspoon cardamom powder
- 14 pieces gulab jamun ( I bought 2.2 lbs Haldiram Gulab Jamun tin)
- 1/4 cup roasted pistachios, coarsely powdered
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Cover the base of a 9 inch deep pie pan with aluminium foil. Brush the base and sides with ghee. Set aside.
- Using a food processor, pulse the crushed biscuits into a smooth powder. Warm the ghee in a microwave for 45 seconds. Let it cool to room temperature. Gently pour the ghee over powdered biscuit and mix well to combine.
- Using a spoon, spread the crust over the base of the pan. Press it gently with the smooth side of the spoon and create an even layer. Chill it in the fridge until the cheese base is ready.
- Mix the gelatin in hot water. Blend together crumbled paneer, yogurt, condensed milk, cardamom powder and gelatin to a smooth paste.
- Slice the gulab jamun into halves. Remove the pie pan from fridge and place a layer of gulab jamun as shown in the picture.
- Sprinkle the pistachios and lemon zest. Pour the cheese mixture on top and let it set in the fridge for minimum 6-8 hours or overnight.
- Using a spatula, gently release the sides and gently remove the base by unlocking the pan. Serve cold.