September 24, 2009

Apple-Mascarpone Parfaits

It was my birthday yesterday. I know I really ought to wait for everyone to wish and graciously accept the wishes, but how could you all wish me if you didn't know about it?
I had a great day filled with calls and wishes from family and friends which ended up as long conversations, catching up on all that had happened since the last time we had talked!
I must confess that I spent a lot of time talking and got very little done during the day, but then it's not everyday that one celebrates a birthday. It was also unexpected to have my friendly Tweeple, sending their best wishes including one who virtually sang her wishes to me. (You know who you are!).

I know it's the done thing to celebrate birthdays with cake. Traditionally in India, we celebrate birthdays with payasam which is a sort of sweet milk/ coconut milk based dessert. I made payasam but decided to break the rules a bit and so there was no cake!
I usually make cake for everyone's birthday here, and somehow didn't feel like making one for mine.

So there was no cake, but there was chocolate and for me chocolate is better than cake! For one thing I'm really not overly fond of cake, and another I cannot imagine how anyone could celebrate without chocolate.

I had some home-made mascarpone cheese in the fridge, so I made some chocolate mascarpone mousse. I have to say that it's the best chocolate mousse I have ever eaten. It was finger-licking good.
Do you need any more proof of this other than my telling you that my husband was licking the mousse off his spoon and I'm surprised that there wasn't a hole in the bowl from the spoon scraping of the bottom of it?
Or that my daughter who usually asks (and she likes chocolate), "Why is it always chocolate here?" told me "This is chocolate mousse! Please make more of that mascarpone stuff, I like it!"?

I'm very sorry that I have built up the suspense this far, only to tell you that I'm not posting that dessert today!
The chocolate mascarpone mousse was my variation on an element in this month's Daring Baker challenge. So it must stay under the wraps till reveal date later the weekend, so please drop by then.

But this is my birthday post and that calls for something sweet, so let me present another dessert I made last weekend with some of that same home-made mascarpone.

Why home-made mascarpone?
There are many ingredients and food items used in baking and desserts which are easily available in many countries but not here in India, and mascarpone is one of them. Mascarpone is so easy to make if you have cream and lemon juice as Deeba pointed out to me.
There are any number of sources on the net telling one how to make it. Heat the cream, add the lemon juice, stir it some, leave it to drain it overnight in the fridge and ta-daaaa! You've got yourself some thick, creamy gorgeous cheese.

Now back to that dessert.
It's one of those desserts that can be done ahead of time and are very easy to make. I was inspired by these parfaits from My Recipes and though mine don't look as pretty they were good.
I halved the recipe, used sweeter apples and added some spice with cinnamon and garam masala. This recipe is supposed to make 3 servings (and my glasses are small even though they don't seem so in the picture), but I found a single serving pretty filling so you could consider using slightly smaller glasses and making 4 servings instead.
Here's my version.


1/2 tbsp butter

3 apples (cored, peeled and sliced =approx. 2 cups) +1 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp golden raisins

1/4 cup packed brown sugar (reduce if apples are very sweet)

2 tbsp water

1/2 tsp grated dried ginger

1/2 tsp garam masala

1/4 tsp cinnamon powder

1/2 cup low fat crumbled paneer (or cottage cheese if you can find it)

1/2 cup mascarpone (I made mine with 25% fat cream)

2 tbsp white sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract


In a pan, melt the butter. Add the apples with the lemon juice, raisins, brown sugar and water. Mix well and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer the mixture till the apple is cooked, soft and almost dry.
Use your spoon to break up the apple pieces a bit while they're cooking.
Add the ginger, garam masala and cinnamon powders and mix well. Cook for another minute and take the pan off the heat. Allow the mixture to cool.

In the meanwhile, run the crumbled paneer (or cottage cheese) with the sugar in your processor or mixer/ blender jar until it is smooth. Add the mascarpone and vanilla extract and run everything together just till very smooth.

To assemble the parfaits, take three glasses and put in about 2 tbsp of the apple mixture into each. Cover this with about 2 tbsp of the cheese mixture. Again layer another 2 tbsp of apple mixture and top with the remaining cheese mixture.
You can use a spoon to layer the cheese mixture or pipe it using a pastry tip. Chill the parfaits for at least 3 hours.
Decorate with grated chocolate or nut brittle and serve.

This recipe makes 3 parfaits.

Print this recipe


ABowlOfMush said...

This sounds lovely! Very Elegant. Love the flavors in this, really interesting!

MeetaK said...

garam masala with apples now i thought i was being exotic with that in my tomato apricot chutney but this is awesome. HAPPY BIRTHDAY again Aparna! It's been great getting to know you through Twitter lately!

Veena said...

Yummo!!! Have some apples that I was wondering what to do with - now I know. Question for you though, Sis - would a substitution of the garam masala with chai masala work? Made an apple pie last weekend from scratch (would make you proud!)and used chai masala in it, so wondering if I could use that same trick here?

Happy cook said...

I love love the idea of adding garam masala to this ( new to me)
You are likemy sis , she make for everybody"'s b'day cake except for hers.
Love the pic.

Mishmash ! said...

My belated b'day wishes :)

Pari said...

Wow. garam masala in parfeits...this only you could think aparna, I hope you had a great birthday with the payasam.

Vrunda said...

your parafaits looks yummy. you are so good with unusual combinations. and, belated birthday wishes.

Sunshinemom said...

This sounds so delicious, Aparna! It is a sin that you have left me to gape at the pictures, but, this being your birthday post - chalo maaf kiya!! Happy Birthday:)

Ambika said...

Hey Aparna, Belated Happy Birthday!!! I love the use of ginger and garam masala in this parfait..I'm waiting for the chocolate mascarpone mousse recipe!

♥♥♥Ria♥♥♥ said...

I know who sang for you over twitter!! ;) You actually remembered it? How sweet! :)

As said over twitter, I am waiting to see your DB version of the challenge!

Apple parfait looks delicious! Loved those small glasses.

I am impatiently waiting for the mousse & 'the other' recipe :D

Cham said...

Belated Birthday wishes Aparna!

Sushma Mallya said...

supurb,,just lovely pic....

Parita said...

Belated Happy Birthday Aparna!! the dessert looks lovely, excellent blend of flavors!

Palidor said...

Happy Birthday, my dear!! I hope you had a great day. The apple parfait is so scrumptious! I'd much rather have that than cake.

Superchef said...

Happy Birthday, Aparna!! Hope you had a great day! the parfaits look just awesome...the dried ginger n garam masala mustve added the punch!

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

I am so excited about apple season. We have an orchard not too far, and are picking up a bushel or so on the weekend.
The parfaits look lovely, I am looking forward to trying my hand at mascarpone soon.

Soma said...

Happy Birthday dear Aparna! I have used cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom.. so why not garam masala.. sounds really good. Mascarpone chocolate mousse sounds absolutely divine. I need to take all of your inspiration & try making my own at home.

Indhu said...

Happy Birthday :)
and you really made me yearn for the chocolate mousse picture and then there was no picture :(
parfait looks delicious.. love the addition of garam masala

Madhuli said...

Belated birthday wishes Aparna and the dessert looks yummy.

Vibaas said...

Belated birthday wishes, aparna and wish you many more to come :-)
Garam masala in parfait?! I have never thought of it, but you are a pro so it has to be good. Parfait looks perfect! Can't wait for your DB post :-)

Shwetha said...

Hi Aparna,

I'd love to know how you make home made mascarpone? And sorry for asking - is there a post of for the lovely chocolate mascarpone mousse already? :)

sra said...

Where I live, a tub of imported mascarpone costs Rs 500. This is so easy!

Aparna said...

Thanks for all the birthday wishes (even though I had to tell you all it was!) :-)
And the recipe for the chocolate mascarpone mousse will be posted in another couple of days.

Same here, Meeta. See we have a lot more in common. :)

Good to see you pop up, Veena. :)
Apple pie with chai masala? Sounds pretty good but what I want to know is when are we getting to eat it?
Sure use chai masala, if you like it. Those spices should work.
I used garam masala because I felt that the spices were stroner and warmer and would go well with apple and cinnamon.

F, its new to me too. Just experimented and it worked for us.

Makes me relieved to know I'm forgiven, Harini. :)
Well, all you've got to do is come down.

Thanks Ria. There was you and one other blogger who also sang me some wishes.
Promise I shall post those soon.:)

Natashya, picking my own apples is something I look forward to some day.

You should, Soma. It's so easy its almost unbelieavble.

I have mentioned it in my post. About 1 1/2 tbsp of lemon juice for about 400ml cream will work. Just google for "home-made mascarpone" and you'll get lots of recipes.

Sra, where I live you can't even find the thing. And if I could I probably couldn't afford it. :)

jayasree said...

Looks delicious.. Glad to note you had a lovely day.

Priya said...

Belated Birthday wishes Aparna, gorgeous parfait...

Priya Narasimhan said...

belated b'day wishes aparna..and many more happy returns of the day. :-)

lata raja said...

Belated birthday wishes Aparna and many more happy returns.Loved that more talking was done than working!birthdays are special.

s said...

hey wow...looks great...must try to make mascpne at home one day..
Happy Birthday to you..Mine's tomorrow..we have a lot in common dont u think:)

Pavithra said...

Oh sweety my belated wishes to u... And the parfait is real treat and looks perfect..yummy.

Ivy said...

Happy belated birthday wishes dear Aparna and your dessert sounds perfect.

Curry Leaf said...

AWESOME.PERFECT PARFAIT APARNA.I know you had a wonderful day and a delicious dessert. Yummmmmmmmmmyyy :P

~~louise~~ said...

Happy belated Birthday Aparna! I'm thinking I would much prefer these parfaits rather than a cake for my birthday. They look heavenly!!!

We're celebrating Johnny Appleseed Day here in the states. I'm saving this recipe to my someday file:) Thanks for sharing...

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Happy belated Birthday! That dessert looks so scrumptious!



radha said...

Belated greetings. And a great recipe

Manggy said...

Happy birthday Aparna! :)

Aparna said...

Thanks for all your wishes.

S, happy birthday to you. We probably have a lot in common. :)

Know of Johnny Aplleseed but didn't know there was a day dedicated to him, Louise.

Divya Kudua said...

Belated birthday wishes to you Aparna..I seem to have missed reading so many of your posts while I was away..:)Let me catch up..:)

Hope you had a great birthday:)