Monday, May 24, 2010

Daring Baker's Challenge...

I really enjoy reading baking blogs. Many of the baking bloggers out there have joined the Daring Baker's Challenge. How this works is one baker/blogger is chosen each month to give the challenge. They let everyone in the group know what the challenge is and within that month each baker/blogger must complete the challenge and blog about it.
While I was in India I would read these blogs and think how fun it would be to join this group. But each time I thought about joining I would think about the added challenge of trying to find/make the right ingredients and would decide not to add so much stress to my life. I think this was a pretty wise decision, though I still think it would be fun. :)
All that is to lead into my story from this weekend. Since I got back to the States a month ago I haven't really wanted to bake much of anything. If you know me even a little bit you'll know how strange this is. I LOVE to bake!! So me not wanting to bake is really weird.
The reason I haven't wanted to bake anything is because the challenge that baking took on in India no longer exists here in the States. You decide what you want to bake, jump in the car to go to the store to get what you need and come home and bake. Not as exciting as deciding what you want to bake, walking to the market and trying to find the right ingredients and when you can't figuring out what you can substitute then walking up the mountain to go home and bake. Then in the middle of your baking the electricity going off. You see the difference?
So, yesterday I had a potluck to go to. I decided I was going to make Dall Makhani(Ymmmy!!!beans in a creamy tomato sauce) and Gujya(SUPPER YUMMY!! a fried pastry filled with mawa, coconut, raisins, cashews and almonds). Everything for both of these are readily available here except for the mawa(pronounced mava). Mawa is simply milk boiled till it is dry and thick. You may be thinking what I was. Oh, well that should be easy. I'm here to tell you that, no. It is not that easy.
Saturday morning I took a gallon of Vitamin D milk and poured it into a pot and put it on the stove. All morning it cooked. I had to leave for a few hours, so I turned it off and left. When I got home I turned it back on and continued to wait. And wait. And Wait. AND WAIT!!! It never thickened. So, I decided maybe I should do a bit more research. I googled it and found MANY ways to to make mawa. One of the easiest was milk, cream and sweetened condensed milk. I went down to the store and pick up the cream and condensed milk. I put them in the pot with the milk and began the waiting again. It never thickened. By this time it was about 11:30 Saturday night. So, I decided that I'd work on it more on Sunday afternoon.
Sunday - I got home and googled mawa again. I found a recipe that had whole fat dry milk, evaporated milk and cream. Easy I thought. So, I went to the store and found out that you can't find whole dry milk. Only skim. AHHHH!!!!! I quick thought about some of the other recipes I had looked at and remembered another that called for ricotta cheese, though I couldn't quite remember what else it had. So, I decided to get some cream, evaporated milk and condensed milk just to cover my bases, and headed home.
When I got there I looked up the ricotta cheese recipe and found that it is only ricotta cheese. huh. Go figure. So, I began cooking it to get the moisture out. And it worked!! :)
I made the dough and the filling and started making the gujiya!!
At one point as I was trying to cook the milk down I started laughing because I haven't wanted to bake cause there wasn't any challenge in it here. I was just thinking about making the wrong things! I should have been wanting to make something from India and then there'd be lots of challenge!
That's my adventure from the weekend. And my gujiya turned out GREAT!!! :D

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