As the email from Srivalli came at the end of March, regarding participation for Blogging Marathon #76 for the month of May, I looked through excitedly and selected my themes. Once I confirmed to her, and got to planning how I go about cooking the dishes, a rude shock awaited me. I soon realized that I had hardly 16 days to finish cooking the dishes instead of more than a month, since we were having guests staying over at our house for a month and I wouldn’t be able to do too much of experimenting. You all know how it is when you have guests – you will have to stick to more routine cooking and do out-of-the-box only when they are willing to try. The first set of dates I selected, ie. from today to fifth would coincide with their stay. The second set of dates is immediately after they leave, so I had no other option than to finish cooking before they arrive. It was a mad rush for me, trying to decide on the recipes, making them and praying that they don’t flop. When there is too much of panic, things may go a bit off, doesn’t it? 🙂
The theme from today to the next two days is something that will really interest you – “I love, you love Cheesecakes”! A dangerously calorific theme, right? 😀 I chose this thinking I had time but imagine my jitters when I had two weeks to do three cheesecakes! Actually I made four – the other one terribly flopped. 🙁 I managed to salvage it and convert into another dish – the mind of a food blogger! 😉 – however I did go through all the “now what?” thoughts. So let’s come to start with the one today – Gulab Jamun Cheesecake…
I guess it was Chef Sanjeev Kapoor who started the trend of this particular cheesecake and over the years we have seen amalgamation desserts, like rasgolla black forest, etc. I have been wanting to make this cheesecake since long and this blogging marathon did give me the chance. I referred through whatever I could find online, but none were 100% Indian – they were made as normal cheesecake with gulab jamun in between it. I decided to go ahead and work on my own recipe… 😉
Every stage of preparing the cheesecake was really exciting. I had bought this rectangular springfoam pan, which I decided to put to use. Every ingredient I used screams “Indian” – from Parle G for my base to ghee for tightening it, to paneer and yogurt as filling and cardamom, rosewater and saffron as flavors. But one thing did ditch me and it was the agar agar. 🙁 I had used the agar agar powder that I got from home while coming back from vacation. I used up half of it while making tapioca pudding when my parents were around. But at that time, the pudding never set, but thankfully the starch from the tapioca helped make it stable.I totally forgot that incident while making this dessert. I mixed up the ingredients, poured it and allow it to set in the fridge.
As I pulled out and took off the spring foam, my cheesecake started running in all directions. 🙁 You can imagine my sadness. Thankfully, I had kept it on a plate so I didn’t lose any of my content. A quick search across the web landed me on this link and I realised my folly. I have always used strands and have had a fairly successful phase using them, but the powder was the first time and I should have done my thorough research before using it. Anyway, I quickly scooped up and served them in pudding cups and that’s what you see in the clicks. Looks nonetheless pretty, right? 😉
In fact once I finished the photo shoot and we sat digging into the dessert, I thanked Him for not setting the cheesecake. Maybe it wouldn’t have looked as pretty as this! 😉 In the recipe below, I have shared exactly what I have used to prepare this dessert and in the tips, I am mentioning how much powder or strands to use to have a proper looking cheesecake.
- 25 Parle G biscuits
- 4 tbsp melted ghee
- 9 large gulab jamuns, chopped into half
- 400 gm yogurt, drained
- 200 gm paneer, thawed
- ¼ tsp cardamom powder
- 1 tbsp rosewater
- A fat pinch saffron, soaked in ¼ cup warm milk
- 5 gm agar agar powder, melted in ¼ cup hot water (refer to notes)
- Pistachio flakes and dried rose for garnish
- Line the bottom of a small springfoam pan. Brush the sides of the pan. Set aside.
- Crush the Parle G biscuits till powdery. Add the ghee and mix it well. Press down on the pan and set aside.
- Cut the gulab jamuns into half and arrange face down inside the pan.
- In a grinder, add the paneer and grind till crushed. Add in the drained yogurt, cardamom, rosewater and saffron and blend well till smooth.
- Add in the melted agar agar water into the blender and mix again.
- Pour over the biscuit base and arranged gulab jamuns till it covers.
- Sprinkle pistachio flakes all over.
- Cover with cling film and allow it to set in the fridge for an hour or two.
- Scoop out into serving cups and enjoy the dessert!
For strands, soak them in the water for around 30 minutes. Keep it on low flame and stir till the agar agar melts into the water. It may not completely but try to do it as much as you can. Cool slightly before straining the liquid. Add this liquid into the blend mixture and give it a good mix.
Check out the Blogging Marathon page to see what the other Blogging Marathoners are doing this BM#76.