My Mother’s Coconut Barfi & Eid Eats 2015

Some foods make me think of being a small child, of little hands and not so little hands, sneaking pieces when no one is looking, only half sure that the consequences of this petty theft won’t be so bad.  This barfi is one of them, my mother usually made it on special occasions and colored it so that one layer was pink and the other was green. The coconut she used was sweeter, heftier, and my little self couldn’t get enough of it. Yes, my dental problems started early.

Coconut Barfi

My older daughter has a surprising love for all ‘desi’ desserts. Kheer, kulfi, shahi tukray, gulab jamun – she loves them all. And I love passing down a love for culinary heritage. When I said I would make something for Eid that her Nano (grandmother) made when I was young it made her beautiful little eyes sparkle with excitement. Sometimes I wish I could bottle that stuff up and keep it forever. But to me that is what Eid is about, sheer happiness. While I am far from the land of glittering ‘chaand raats’ (the night before Eid) we are building our own Eid traditions and homemade Pakistani desserts will always be part of them.

My Mother’s Coconut Barfi

This barfi is not the usual white kind; the ingredients combined with the cooking down of the dairy make it taste like a caramelly coconut fudge. I used unsweetened coconut, but my mother put sweetened coconut. Use whatever you prefer, but just remember to stir stir stir otherwise this will burn burn burn!

Another new tradition that I am very excited about is Eid Eats, we had our first annual eid potluck last year and thanks to it I discovered many delicious recipes and some wonderful bloggers who I now think of as friends. This is year two and I am even more excited to see what my fellow hosts – Henna at My Ninja Naan and Asiya at Chocolate & Chillies – and other remarkable food bloggers have to share. Please click on the Eid Eats graphic below to see the full gallery of yumminess and add yours to the mix; remember we would all love to hear from you! Hope this inspires you to have a deliciously happy Eid!

Eid Mubarak to you and your loved ones!!!

Psst for those of you wondering how to join in, hop on over here.

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Caramel Cardamom Eclairs with Coffee Cream

I kinda sorta love eclairs. Like really, really love eclairs. When I saw that the delightful duo over at Love & Olive Oil had proposed eclairs for Aprils Kitchen Challenge I was very excited about having an excuse to make them.

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If you have any set ideas about what an Eclair should be like then please look away. This is not the éclair of pastry chefs. Instead this is a riff on the kind of éclair I grew up eating in Karachi – the one that had a pillowy whipped cream centre and a smooth chocolate dipped top. My reinvention of this éclair ties in three of my favorite flavors – coffee, cardamom, and caramel.

The combination of coffee and cardamom is reminiscent of Arab style coffee with a bitter depth tempered by the mellow sweetness of the cardamom. The caramel filling on top has the traditionally lovely chew of caramel, but with a little more heft to it thanks to the addition of roughly ground cardamom seeds.

There seems to be this notion that éclairs are complicated to make. Two words: Not true. Time consuming, yes. Complicated, no. There are three components to an éclair – the choux pastry, the filling (usually pastry cream) and the smooth ganache like topping. Each component of a traditional éclair can be made in advance and they actually meld together quite well if you make them a day or several hours before serving.

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I almost did not post this recipe because the pictures are so bad *hanging my head in shame*, but I never got a chance to make it again and wanted to  post this before the deadline. Let’s just say these are a zillion times yummier than they look!

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