One of the most awaited festivals of the year is finally here. The smell of firecrackers*, twinkling diyas (butter lamps) and fairy lights, colourful rangolis (patterns made on the floor/ courtyard of every Indian household, from coloured rice, dry flours or flower petals), fresh mithais and (Indian sweets) and happy souls are all a beautiful reminder, that the Indian festival of lights ‘Diwali’ is on its way. The entire country and Indians all around the world come together to celebrate the historic victory of good over evil. Families and friends get together to wish each other, donning new attire and gorge on lavish, traditional feasts. Houses are decked up with gorgeous butter lamps, lanterns, ranglolis and traditional household items. This year, Diwali will be celebrated on the 23rd of October.
There’s something about this festival that makes me so happy. I’m not sure what it is, but I think it’s a culmination of a little bit of everything – friends and families coming together, dressing up, decorating your home, cooking for your loved ones, and sharing so much love and warm wishes. My sister and I have been making ranglolis and prettying the house with my Mum ever since I can remember, I think this is also another reason why this festival is so special to me, because it’s kind of “our thing”.
To know more about the festival, take a look here- http://www.diwalifestival.org
I’m hosting two dinners in the week for my friends and thought that this would be a great opportunity to share some of my recipes with you. Therefore, I came up the Diwali series. My first dinner was on Sunday, the 12th. Indian cuisine was on the menu.
Let’s start with the best item on the menu – the dessert! I used gourmet cook Asha Khatau’s recipe for this one.
This recipe serves 6-8.
For the tart base:
50 gm cooking chocolate (dark)
50 gm butter
175 gm crushed digestive biscuits
2 tbsp powdered sugar
2 tbsp cocoa powder
For the mousse:
150 gm cooking chocolate (dark)
¼ cup fresh cream
1 tsp instant coffee powder
1 tsp vanilla essence
½ cup whipping cream
3 tbsp powdered sugar
For the base:
1. Place the chocolate, butter and cocoa powder in a container. Heat in a microwave for 1½ minute. Stir until smooth.
2. Lightly grease a 7” round, loose bottomed tin (I have a non-stick so I did not need to line it with butter paper) and set aside.
3. Grind the digestive biscuits and sugar together until you get fine crumbs.
4. Pour the melted chocolate mix into the biscuit crumb mix and stir together. You should get a nice, rich, wet sand like consistency.
5. Stir this into the greased tin. Using a spatula or the back of a ramekin, press firmly into the base of the tin. Make sure the mixture is spread out evenly. It should also cover about 1 – 1½ inch of the sides of the tin.
6. Place it in the fridge to chill for 20-25 minutes.
For the mousse:
1. Take the instant coffee powder and dissolve it in 4 tbsp of boiling water.
2. Place the chocolate, fresh cream and coffee in a container. Heat in a microwave for 1 minute. Stir until smooth.
3. Add the vanilla essence, stir and then set it aside to cool.
4. Whip the cream with the powdered sugar until it forms soft peaks. Be sure not to over whip.
5. Fold it into the (cooled) chocolate mix.
Once the base has hardened in the fridge and the mousse is ready, pour it over the base. Cover it with cling film and keep it in the fridge to chill. It will need about 4 hours.
Take the dessert out of the fridge in about 2 hours should you wish to decorate it. I say this because you want to get this done whilst it still hasn’t set completely. You can top it with fresh berries and dust some sugar, whipping cream, sprinkles, edible gold dust, sugar flowers, chocolate curls, whatever you like. I topped mine with edible gold dust (courtesy Dr. Oetker), chocolate vermicelli and 4 delicate, edible sugar flowers.
Since this is an eggless dessert, the base tends to get a little hard. I recommend you take it out of the fridge 20 minutes prior to serving.
Enjoy the sinfulness!
Do let me know what you think of this recipe.
*I strongly urge you to have a noiseless, firecracker-free Diwali this year. Not only do they harm the environment, but buying crackers also gives impetus to this industry that very unfortunately indulges in child labour.