How do you make those essential ingredients for dessert. Here’s how. –
1. Almond Meal
To make fresh almond meal, pulse the whole almonds in the mixer. The almonds should be completely dry while grinding. Pulse them till they are powdery. Sift the powder and pulse the almond chunks that remain on the sieve. Continue this process till all the almonds are finely powdered. Take care to see that you do not over grind, as the almonds will start leaving their oil behind, thus forming almond butter. Use immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container.
2. Almond Paste
Bring water to boil in a pan. Put the almonds into the boiling water and boil for just one minute more. Do not boil the almonds beyond a minute as it’ll lead the almonds to cook further. Strain the almonds on to a colander under running water. This will stop the almonds from further cooking. Now the peel of the almonds would be shriveled, making it easy to remove. Peel off all the almonds and spread it on a clean towel to dry. Once completely dry, blitz it in a mixer. Once well powdered, add equal quantity of caster sugar and grind again. Now add in an egg white and blend till it forms a smooth lump free paste. Transfer this paste to a clean air lock container and store in the refrigerator. For 100gms almond, take 100gms caster sugar & 1 egg (white).
3. Paneer (Cottage Cheese)
Take 1 ltr. milk in a wide sauce pan. When it starts boiling add 2 tbsp. yogurt. Stir well and wait till the milk starts curdling. Once it curdles completely, strain through a muslin cloth. Keep the separated milk solids intact, covered in the muslin cloth on the strainer and keep a heavy weight on it to remove any traces of water that remains in it. Let it remain so for about half an hour. Soft fresh Paneer is ready to be used. Keep it refrigerated. 1 ltr. yielded me around 185 gms. of Paneer. Do not throw away the whey obtained after straining the milk solids. It could be used as a rich stock for curries or while kneading dough for chapatti. ( Lime juice could be used in place of yogurt-but yogurt is what I prefer since it gives softer Paneer)
4. Cream Cheese
Take Paneer in a mixer jar. Blend it with 2 tbsp. yogurt till a smooth creamy texture is obtained. Creamy and delicious cream cheese is ready to be used. This stays fresh for a couple of weeks if stored in an airtight container refrigerated. 2 ltrs. of milk yielded me around 385 gms. of cream cheese. If full cream milk is used, it will yield much more cream cheese.
5. Sour Cream
Take 200 ml. fresh cream in a bowl. Add to this, 1 1/2 tbsp. lime juice and salt to taste. Mix well without any lumps. Store in an airtight container refrigerated. Use within 1 week.
6. Caster Sugar
Powdered sugar which might still have a few sugar crystals in it.
7. Icing Sugar/Confectioners Sugar
Finely powdered sugar totally free of sugar grains.