Sunday, 2 December 2007

SHF #38: Cardamom Scented Milk Pudding with Rosewater Syrup

The last Sugar High Friday for 2007 is hosted by Zorra of 1x umrühren bitte. With Christmas approaching and after 37 SHF themes, it was a tough job for her to find an interesting theme. Fortunately, she did a wonderful job of picking Pudding for this month.

When I heard that the theme was pudding, I instantly thought of my favourite pudding of all time, Sticky Toffee Date Pudding like Carol's or JenJen's. However, since Christmas in Sydney is always a warm affair, my taste buds long for something lighter. Thinking of the festive season makes me feel homesick - I miss my family back in Singapore very much. With all these ideas in mind, and since I am part-Arabian (Yemen), I was inspired to make a cold Middle-Eastern milk pudding scented with cardamom and rosewater (only use the good stuff!), which I think is a match made in heaven. The pudding has a silky, velvety texture that is nicely contrasted with the crunchy pistachios.

These flavours also remind me of Sugee, one of my favourite childhood desserts that my mom makes.
This pudding may remind some of you of Muhallabiya/ Muhallebi/ Muhallabeya, but those puddings are usually thickened with rice flour and/or cornstarch. You can even think of this milk pudding it as a slimmer version of the Italian pannacotta. ;-)

(A side note: Since Aussies don't want to miss out on all the rich, comfort foods that are traditionally associated with Christmas, it's common here to have "Christmas in July" parties since that's winter season for us. You can read more about the Christmas in July party that my partner and I hosted this year here.)

Cardamom Scented Milk Pudding with Rosewater Syrup
adapted from Donna Hay's Off The Shelf: Cooking from the Pantry
Serves 6

8 gelatine leaves
3 cups whole milk*
8 cardamoms*, split and crush seeds finely
1/3 cup caster (superfine) sugar

- Soak the gelatin leaves according to the package instructions. Gently warm the milk, sugar and cardamom in a saucepan. Add the squeezed gelatine leaves & stir. Heat for 5 minutes. Pour the mixture into 6 x ½ cup capacity ramekins or moulds. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
*Milk: I didn't have whole milk so I used skim milk. If you want a richer version, use cream. My mom has made a similar pudding using fresh coconut milk.

*Cardamom: When the pudding sets, specks of cardamom will settle at the bottom of the mould. If you prefer the pudding without the cardamom bits, use whole cardamom, bruise it and strain the mixture before filling the moulds.

Rosewater Syrup
¾ cup water
½ cup sugar
1 tsp rosewater
2-4 fresh cherries (for colour*)

- Place the water and sugar in a saucepan and stir over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer for 3 minutes. Add rosewater and cool.
- *Stain the syrup pink: I prefer not to use food colouring so I learnt this trick of using cherry juice: slice the cherries into half and squeeze as much juice till you get to the desired pink shade.

To Serve
Unmould* the puddings by running a knife around the top edge of each mould and dipping the mould into hot water for a few seconds. Turn it out onto plates and spoon over the rosewater syrup. Sprinkle puddings with roughly chopped unsalted pistachios.
(*I've not tried this but I read somewhere that oiling the mould before hand can make it easier to unmould).


Come join in the fun of the last SHF of the year. Post your favourite pudding recipes or be creative and come up with a new twist to an traditional recipe. Click here to see how you can participate. Post by Christmas eve and Zorra will be posting the round-up on 28th December.



bee said...

will coconut milk work in this? would love to try it. and congrats on a wonderful daring bakers debut.

zorra said...

I'm drooling! Unfortunately I have no rosewater but some orange blossem water. I could imagine that this could also give a good taste. What do you think?

Thank you for joining SHF #38!

Wendy said...

Oh Nora, this is beautiful. Just the title has me salivating! Rosewater syrup - gorgeous.

Nora B. said...

Hi Bee, you just reminded me, thanks. I just edited the recipe. My mom makes a similar pudding with fresh coconut milk but without cardamom. I hope that she will be impressed if I serve this to her.

Zorra - I've not tried orange blossom water with cardamom, but I would imagine it would be good because I've eaten an orange cake that had a cardamom icing on it. If you try it, let me know how it turns out.

Wendy - Thank you. Now that Bee reminded me, I want to try making another batch with coconut milk....

Coffee & Vanilla said...

Nora, I love this recipe.
It looks delicious and refreshing...

Lydia said...

Ooooh, cardamom and rose water. Delicious! I always have a bit of rose water in my pantry, though I don't use it very often. Now I have a new recipe to try!

Bellini Valli said...

The great thing about blogging is that I learn something new almost every day. This is the first time I have ever heard of gelatin leaves.An excellent light contribution to SHF Nora!!!!

Susan said...

That's my kinda pudding, Nora. Cardamom and rose water are really a kicking combo. I'd have two servings in a heartbeat.

Thanks for attempting to nominate me for Best Writing Blog 2007. Very dear of you. Right now I can't crank 6 quality post a month. Let's see what next year brings.

Veron said...

what an immaculate looking pudding! I've only now started using cardamom in dessert...this looks like a perfect application for it!

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

This sounds absolutely delicious. I have fond memories of reading about your July Christmas. Have you seen the book Saha? I recently bought it. It's full of lovely recipes and evocative pics.

Coffee & Vanilla said...

I almost forgot to tell you how nice it is to see your picture, which is very nice as well :)


chemcookit said...

Soo good-looking! I'd love to try that. It must have such a wonderful flavor.. and I do love panna cotta too. :)

Anh said...

Yum! I would love this... And God, you are such a beautiful woman. You have a wonderful smile my dear!

Big Boys Oven said...

this is lovely, the taste of the cardamon and the scent of the rosewater is incredible lovely!

Eva said...

I'm bold enough to hope that you'll convince me of the marvels of rose water by feeding me with something like this..;-) Otherwise I'll never be courageous enough to try...
This rose makes for a wonderful atmospheric picture!

Nora B. said...

Margot - It was refreshing. I made half the recipe and still have 2 more puddings to myself (since I am by myself this week). ;-)

Margot & Anh - As for my photo (*blush*), I thought I will leave it up for a few weeks. Since I've gotten to know so well so many bloggers, putting a face to my blog might be nice for a change.

Lydia - Thanks. You even use rosewater in cookies which has ground almond.

Valli - I've only just started using the leaves. I think that they are easier to use than the powder. It's more common in Europe. My German friend, Eva, brought a few packets back fro me when she went back to Germany.

Susan - I love that combo too. As for your blog, I look forward to reading more lovely posts - you write so well!

Veron - Thanks! It was amazingly simple to make, yet it can be so elegant.

Marta - Thank you. You can use the same flavour with pannacotta.

BBOven - Thanks, yes the scent was heavenly!

Eva - Actually I was thinking about you when I made this. I was wondering if you would like it because it has cardamom (which I know you just started using) and rosewater (you haven't had a positive experience with this yet). Hmm...maybe I will have to make some just for you as an experiment. :-) The rose is from my mini garden. It has a lovely scent!

tigerfish said...

Looks like almond pudding. I like it! And can smell it, as if an almond pudding.

Gloria said...

Nora, this recipe is so nice!!! I have to buy rosewater, maybe today!!! xx Gloria

Anthony said...

Hi Nora. This looks SO yummy. Will go perfectly as a dessert for a dinner I will be hosting next week.

Just found your blog. You really have a talent for this! What island near the equator did you move from?

Patricia Scarpin said...

Nora!! What a beautiful and delicious dessert - and what about that rose?? I wish I had a green thumb like you do, sweetie!
Love your pannacotta and will bookmark it for the next time I have friends over for dinner/lunch.
Also, that photo of you is magnificent - you are so beautiful!

katiez said...

That looks so refreshing - perfect after a Christmas dinner, regardless of the hemisphere.
Love the trick for tinting the rose water!
Are you going to be posting your warm weather Christmas menu? I'm curious....

Nora B. said...

Tigerfish - Actually, you are right, it does remind me of almond pudding too...

Gloria - Thank you. Oh, make sure you buy a good brand because some rosewater can taste quite bad (& fake). It should be the real stuff distilled from roses.

Anthony - Welcome and thanks for dropping by. If you are making this, you may want to use full cream milk of a proportion of cream to make it creamier. I used low-fat milk only because that was what I had on hand and I think it was actually too light but still the cardamom and rosewater flavours were still able to shine through. I was born in Singapore. more about me here:

Patricia - awwww dearie, you make me blush....

Katie - Thanks. As for the warm weather Christmas menu, I spend Christmas day at my partner's parents place every year, so I won't have to cook at all (except I usually bring dessert, but nothing fancy because everyone there seems to be on a diet!). But maybe what i can do is describe what a typical warm weather Christmas is like in Sydney, or based on my experience in Australia.
p/s: I still haven't posted the kitchen skeleton story yet...will get to it soon...

Vida said...

This looks so luscious, I will try this!! Vida x

Lucy said...

Nora, this is beautiful. Perfect, warm weather celebratory food.

Which brand of rosewater do you recommend?

Can I just add that it's lovely to see your gorgeous face at the top of your blog!

Cynthia said...

Ah ha! I finally get to put a face to the name :)

Nora this must be a dessert for a special occasion, the ingredients alone says so: cardamom and rose syrup. I'm swooning here :)

Maninas said...

This is an amazing pudding, Nora. :)

Kevin said...

The pudding looks nice, especially with the pistachios on top.

Nora B. said...

Vida - Thanks! Use full cream milk, it tastes better that way.

Lucy - Thanks [about the comments on my post and my picture hee hee ;-) ]
I had a very good brand before that I brought over from Sinagpore and silly me threw the bottle away! The one I used for this recipe was good - it's from the Essential Ingredient and it's made in Lebanon.

Hi Cynthia - I do swoon when those two aromas mingle together.
p/s: i thought you already saw my photos on facebook. ;-)

Maninas - Thanks :-)

Kevin - It also tastes better with the pistachios I think.

Nora B. said...

AMANDA!! Sorry, I left you out in my earlier response.

Christmas in July was so much fun :-) No, I haven't read or heard about Saha, so I should google it and find out more.

Take care dear.

Shaun said...

Nora B. ~ You've been a busy bee, eh? I've got loads of your posts to catch up on, but I want to take the time to read them and comment on each of them thoughtfully, so please giveat me just a bit of time :-)

This is the sort of dessert that I really enjoy. I think it is good way to introduce a spice during a Summer Christmas. My friends in the US think it is exotic to have a summery food at Christmas, but we can't very well have Christmas pudding, can we? It's far too stodgy.

My most favourite Christmas food is mince pies. I wanted to make my own fruity mincemeat this year but have run out of time...Perhaps next year.

From which country do you buy your rose water? I've had great success with rose water from Lebanon.

Oh for the love of food! said...

What a refreshing and gorgeous looking dessert, Nora, Perfect for the warmer weather. You've styled and photographed it wonderfully too!
It's so good to finally put a face to your name, my Dear! What took you so long? xo

winedeb said...

Wow Nora, this whole dish would be completely new to me. I enjoy puddings but rarely make them. But this one looks so smooth and refreshing. The Rosewater syrup is a must! Such lovely photos to accompany!

Nora B. said...

Dear Shaun,
yes, although I have been busy, my partner has been away since last Thursday, so I had more time to play around with food without him making fun of me or pressuring me to be quick so that he can eat it :-)

I do appreciate that you read my posts thoroughly, so take your time. I try to do the same and leave back-dated comments at times because I feel that since someone has taken the time to write, I will do the same. Although I can't browse the internet as much as before.

Rosewater: The one that I used for this recipe was good - and it happens to be from Lebanon. I got it from one of my fav shops called the Essential Ingredient.

I love mince pies too, and so does my sister (she asked me to buy some from the bakery here to take back to Singapore when I visit them at the end of the year. Too bad you won't have time to make it this year, but like you said, there is always next year.


Thanks Carol. I still have your recipe for the date pudding flagged. The weather seems to have turned, so maybe it will be cool enough to have a warm pudding :-)

Nora B. said...

Deb - Whenever I make cold puddings I am reminded of how easy it is to make them and how elegant it can look. Yes, it was light and refreshing. Of course it can easily be made more rich by substituting the milk with cream or coconut milk.

Tartelette said...

It looks so delicate with the pink syrup. I will take one right now, feels like Australia around here. We are still in shorts!

Anonymous said...

a so delicate and oriental style pudding! a real dream!

Dana said...

Wow, this milk pudding looks SO tasty!! I love the addition of cardamom -- one of my favorite spices.

Anonymous said...

Yum, I will definitely try this.. I've made these with potato flour, it works really well if you don't want to use gelatine. I made them with 1 litre milk to half a cup of potato flour. Last time I made these I used a vanilla bean and a cinnamon stick to flavour, but will def try this idea with cardamom - yummy!

Nora B. said...

Anon - Thanks for your comment & for dropping by. Potato flour is a great substitute. Rice flour is another that I've tried as well. Although it does change the flavour subtly and the texture is a little different, it still tastes good because of the cardamom and rosewater.

maven mama said...

this looks really delicious, and I can't wait to try it. Plus, I just told Stumble Upon that I liked it, and it added your blog to its Stumble list. Yippee!