We as a family just love food, we are one of those who live to eat. We love trying food at new places,trying different cuisines. We try to find small hole in wall places and prefer those over big chain restaurant. One such favorite of ours is a kabab place,’Isfahan kabob’ not too far from where we live. Last time when we were there, we enjoyed our dinner ( as usual clean plates), but all of us were craving for desserts. Isfahan, does not carry any desserts but there is a small cafe, Haleh bakery ,nearby that has just the best desserts you can think of. It is a persian place which carries great treats with some unique flavors. We can not ever decide which one of those is our favorite, there are just too many amazing ones to chose from. It has a cute little courtyard where you can sit and enjoy fragrant persian tea with these delectable pastries.
At work we celebrate ‘pi-day’ and every year I make traditional pie. This year decided to make something new and that is how this recipe came about.
Today’s recipe takes the inspiration from one of the cookies we ate at Haleh, I don’t remember the name but it is a buttery soft cookie flavored with cardamom, dates and other yummy things.I just love the those flavors come together so I decide to try something today that has those flavors.This is a very easy recipe but needs patience, but I think it is worth it.
1 1/2 cup unsalted pistachios
1 cup almonds
1 egg white
1/4 cup sugar
1 pinch of salt
1/2 stick melted unsalted butter
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
1 1/2 milk plus couple of tbsp
7 egg yolks
7 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp orange blossom water
2 tbsp rose jam
Pre heat the oven to 400F
In a food processor pulse pistachios and almonds separately, making sure that it does not turn into a paste. the texture should look something like couscous.
Let the shell cool completely.
While the shell is cooling, let us prepare the custard.
Heat the 1 1/2 cup of milk on low heat, make sure you turn it off as soon as you see bubbles. If your milk is too hot, you will have a scramble instead of a custard.
Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a steel pot. Mix the cornstarch in a couple of tbsp of cold milk to make a slurry. Add that to the egg yolk mixture.
Take the heated milk and add to the egg mixture in a constant stream, whisking continuously. This is super critical since this will ensure that you will have a smooth, velvety texture for your custard.
Cook the custard till it feels like a pudding and not thin.
Strain it in a steel bowl. This step will ensure that if there are any lumps, they are left out.
Now cover the bowl with a plastic wrap. Make sure that the plastic goes all the way to the surface of the custard, this will ensure that there is no crust formed as the custard cools.
Cool it in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours.
Take it out and mix the orange blossom water. Depending on the brand and your taste, you can add more or less.
Spread the rose petal jam ( Gulkand) at the bottom. Fill the cooled shell with the custard. I buy Gulkand from the Indian store. Not only does it taste great but also has cooling properties to it, which is why in summer in India and in Persia, people eat desserts flavored with Gulkand.
You can serve it like this but I decided to top it with some apple roses. I have seen these apple roses popping up on the instagram, pinterest and I have been wanting to try and make them.
If you plan to top them with the apple roses, make sure the custard is thick enough for the apple roses to stay upright.
I feel that knives are super essential in a kitchen and can not only make the job easier but also makes the food look pretty. I have a set of ‘Saber knives’ that I bought from Costco a while ago. I got a cute little knife sharpener as a gift and with that I have been able to maintain the edge.
For making these roses you can either use a mandolin or take a sharp knife and slice the apples paper thin. I did half and half. I started with the knife but ran out of patience and switched to mandolin. Mandolin is another great tool to have. It not only makes the cuts looks pretty but they are also uniform, which makes them cook even too. I love my mandolin especially when I make things like scalloped potatoes.
As soon as you slice them, add them to a bowl of warm water with some lemon juice. The warm water will make them pliable and the lemon will keep them from turning brown.
Roll one slice to form a center and then continue wrapping each slice like a petal to form a flower. I grated some beets and used the juice to color some of the flowers, you can also use red food coloring if you would like.
Some people heat up the apple slices in the microwave to make them soft, which can make them easily pliable, but I feel it also makes them lose the taste and possibly discolor.
I will post a video for making the flowers soon.
Now arrange the flowers in the custard as you go along. You can use combination of apples so the different skin colors add a nice variation.