Many of the cooks in India make a very simple puff paste.
Make a dough out of a pound of flour and sufficient water. Knead for fifteen minutes. Roll in a damp cloth and set aside.
After an hour or so knead again. Then add a spoonful of shortening at a time until the dough begins to crack and looks rough.
Roll out in a sheet, cut in four pieces, place one upon the other, roll again, cut in four pieces again. Repeat this four times, then roll it into a sheet, spread it with shortening of some kind, cut in four pieces, and place one over the other. Then roll for the last time. The advantage of this method is that it takes comparatively little shortening and is always light and flaky. It makes a delicious pastry for cheese cakes.
Place two cups of pure milk over the fire and when the milk begins to boil squeeze the juice of a lemon into it. The milk will at once curdle. Drain off the curds. To these curds add the yolks of two eggs, a tablespoonful of butter, a small cup of sugar, and a small cup of ground almonds. Walnuts, pecans, or any other nuts would do all right.
Mix all together smoothly. Line little patty pans with the paste (No. 80), and fill with the curds. Dust powdered sugar over the top and decorate with crossbars of pastry. Bake very slowly.
These cheese cakes are always much in evidence at afternoon teas, garden parties, and all social functions in India.
Boil six bananas. To boil bananas do not remove the skins. Just pour enough boiling water over them to cover them. Add a little salt to the water. As soon as the skins crack they are done. Remove and cool. When cool, take off the skins, scrape the bananas a little and split them.
Make a syrup of one cup of sugar and half a cup of fresh cocoanut and half a cup of water. Pour this over the boiled bananas and serve. This dish is much appreciated by the children.
Roselles are a fruit belonging to the sorrel family. The seed is sown in the vegetable garden every year when other seeds are sown. The plants have a vigorous growth. They grow as tall or a little taller than currant bushes. Long before the season is over the bushes are vivid with wine-red flowers. From the waxen petals of these flowers very delicious sauces, jams, chutneys, and jellies are made.
Roselles can be grown any place as easily as tomatoes or cabbage or any vegetable. It would certainly pay any one to make the experiment. The fruit is very rich in pectin, and not only gives a beautiful color when combined with any other fruit, but also adds much to the flavor. Combined with peaches or strawberries, cherries or guavas, or any other fruit that is deficient in pectin, the roselle has very satisfactory results.
When used by themselves a fine jelly is made which is far superior to currant jelly. I am sure any one will feel repaid who gives it a trial. The seeds can be purchased from any large dealer.
Remove the petals of the flower from the seed; then mince finely by running through the meat grinder. To every cup of minced petals add three cups of water. Boil quickly as the color is much better if it does not stand around. After boiling about five minutes it will be ready to strain. Strain and make as any other jelly. In flavor and appearance this jelly can not be surpassed.
Remove petals from the seed, and for every cup of petals take two cups of water. Stew gently for a few minutes, then add a cup of sugar for every cup of fruit. These two things must be remembered if one wishes to get the best results from the fruit. It must be well diluted and it must be cooked quickly, as it is apt to lose its bright color if it stands around.
Tipparees, or cape gooseberries, are also another fruit which is much neglected in this country. To many they are familiarly known as ground cherries. These are much prized in India, and they really are a fine fruit, which can be grown any place and will more than repay the little time spent in their cultivation. In India the seeds are sown annually. I think in this country it seeds itself for a few years at least, but I am sure better results would be brought about if the seeds were planted every spring.
This berry is unequaled for making jam. If any doubt it, buy ten cents' worth of seed next spring, plant it in your garden. Let the plants grow and spread and in the early fall make jam according to the following:
Husk the fruit and prick each berry. Do not add too much water, as the fruit is very juicy. Cook until fruit is tender, but not broken. For every cup of fruit allow a cup of sugar. Cook rapidly and not too much at a time. It finishes up very quickly. A good plan is to cook only partially, turn onto platters, and expose to the sun as one does any other sun preserve.
Tipparees are fine for making pies and tarts.
This marmalade can be made from oranges or lemons or grapefruit, or by combining the three, or by combining any two of them.
Either slice the fruit very thinly or run it through a meat grinder. For every cup of fruit take three cups of water. Let it stand for twenty-four hours. Then boil it in the same water until the rinds are soft. Let stand another twenty-four hours in the same water. Then measure again and for every cup of mixture take a cup of sugar. The best results are obtained if not over four cupfuls are boiled at a time. Boil rapidly. If citrus fruits are boiled slowly they are apt to grow dark and strong. If oranges are used alone for this marmalade they must be sour. A good combination is four oranges, two lemons, and half a grapefruit.
Mince the oranges, rind and all. For every cup of oranges take three of water. Let stand in water for twenty-four hours. Boil until fruit is soft and let stand again for another twenty-four hours. Up to this point the process is exactly like No. 86.
Now drain the juice from the fruit. Acidulate with lemon juice. If six oranges have been used, add the juice of two lemons. To each cup of juice take a cup of sugar. Boil about four cupfuls at a time and boil quickly. It will soon become jelly. A cup of roselle juice diluted is better to acidulate with than the lemon juice. A beautiful ruby jelly is the result.
Cut the grapefruit peel in sections. About eight pieces to a grapefruit is a good size. Prick each piece and soak for three days. If the weather is very hot, better scald the fruit instead of soaking it. Change water every morning and evening. On the morning of the fourth day boil the skins until they can be easily pierced. Remove them and squeeze them as dry as possible. Place them on a tray and sun them for several hours, or else dry them in an expiring oven. Weigh the peels, and take once and a half their weight in sugar. Make this sugar with water into a thick syrup; then add the peels and boil until they look clear. Take them out and boil the syrup until it is quite thick. Return the peels and stir around and around until the sugar candies over them. Put them to dry in the sun for a day. Orange and lemon peel, watermelon rind, green muskmelons, and almost any kind of fruit can be preserved in the same way.
Take a dozen ripe bananas, skin them, and mash them up with a cup of cream of wheat and a cup of sugar; also add a tablespoonful of butter and a little cinnamon. Cook slowly for about three hours in a double boiler. When cold cut as you would cheese. Fine for missionary functions.
Boil a pound of carrots until very tender. Then mash them perfectly smooth. Mix with them a pound of sugar, a tablespoonful of butter, and the juice of a large lemon. Also add a few cardamon seeds. Cook over a slow fire until the mixture hardens into a paste. Add a little more butter just before removing from the fire. Press into shallow pans and cut in neat squares or diamonds like fudge.
Any fruit may be made into a confection which, in India, is called "cheese." The fruit part first wants to be reduced to a pulp. Then take equal parts of fruit pulp and sugar, with as much butter as you feel you dare use. If you feel that you dare not use any, use crisco with salt. Cook down until it becomes a paste that can be cut with a knife. It must cook very slowly. Sometimes when nearly finished nuts are added. In apricot cheese the kernels are used. They must be blanched and minced. Guava cheese is perhaps the finest, as the flavor improves much with cooking.
A fool is a drink made of fruit pulp and milk. Mango fool is perhaps the most popular. Fools are always best made of tart unripe fruits. Pare, slice, and stew the fruit until it is quite soft. Strain through a fine sieve or coarse muslin. Add to the pulp as much sugar as is desired and enough water to make it pour easily. Boil for a few minutes and turn into a jug. When ready to drink it, fill the glass about half full of the fruit mixture and then fill with rich milk. Add ice. These "fools" are very nutritious and refreshing. Often in the hot weather one cares for little else.
Hindustani sweets are very sweet, very sticky, very greasy, and very dear to the heart of India's children, both old and young. We do not advise a steady diet of these, but it is well to know how some of them are made, as such knowledge always comes in handy when arranging for missionary programs, Oriental booths in bazaars, and at frequent other times.
Make a batter of one pound of flour and water. Make it just about as thick as you would for pancakes. Cover the vessel tightly and let stand for three days. Then stir in about a half a cup of thick sour milk. Pour a little of this batter into a vessel with a hole in the bottom. In India a cup made from half a cocoanut shell is made for this purpose, one of the eyes in the monkey face at the end being perforated. Fill this cup with batter and let the batter run through a little at a time into a pan of boiling fat. While the batter is running out through the hole keep the hand moving in a circle, so that the jellabies will take the form of pretzels. Fry as you would doughnuts.
In the meantime have a dish of syrup ready. Make this syrup from a pound of brown sugar and water. Cook it until it is about as thick as maple syrup. Keep this syrup in a warm place and as the jellabies fry place each one for a few minutes in the syrup. Remove and pile them on oiled paper until needed. These are sure to make a hit. Be sure and fry them until they are quite brown. If one doesn't want to bother with the batter standing around for three days, they can be made up at once by adding a teaspoonful of baking powder to the mixture and beating it well. The milk must not be too sour in that case.
Take a pound of rice flour. If one cannot obtain rice flour use common flour. Put it in a bowl. Crack into it two eggs, add a little salt, and enough cocoanut and cocoanut milk to make a soft dough. Use a ten-cent tin of Baker's fresh cocoanut for this. Knead well and cover for a little while with a damp cloth. After a while mold this dough into little balls about the size and shape of pecans. You will have to keep your fingers oiled while doing this. Fry them as you would doughnuts. Let stand until perfectly cold.
Weigh them, and for every pound take a quarter of a pound of white sugar. Make this sugar into a syrup. When thick put in the gulab jamans and stir them for a few minutes. When they are well frosted, remove. Spread out on oiled paper. These are really very nice. Any kind of little cakes and nuts can be frosted the same way. The syrup should be allowed to cool a little before the cakes are put in it.
Make a batter of one pound of cream of wheat and water. This batter should be very thick. Let stand two days. Then add a cup of grated cocoanut, a cup of small raisins, two eggs, a cup of sugar, half a cup of curds, and a little flour. Fry as you would pancakes. These are to be eaten cold. These are also very nice to serve at functions. If each one of these little cakes is made the size of a dollar, a large number could be prepared. A heavy aluminum griddle is very nice for frying these, as they would then require but little fat.
Pare and cut in very small strips a pound of sweet potatoes. Steam until a little soft, but not entirely so. Make a batter of flour, two eggs, and water. Put a tablespoonful of batter on a well-greased griddle, then a tablespoonful of the potatoes. Cover these with another tablespoonful of batter. When done on one side, turn. Eat with melted brown sugar and butter or with syrup.
Fry a cupful of cream of wheat in half a cup of butter or crisco. When it begins to have a nutty flavor and to be slightly brown, add three cups of water and one cup of sugar and a few of the small inside seeds of the cardamon. Boil slowly until it forms a thick rich paste. Press into square cake pans and sprinkle over the top minced nuts and also raisins, if desired. Cut in squares like fudge. Very good and wholesome.
Bombay hulwa is noted all over India. Soak a pound of cream of wheat in enough water to cover it. Let it stand three or four hours. Then rub it through a coarse strong cloth until you get all the starch out. To do this you must keep dipping the cloth in water again and again. Let this water stand until the starch has settled, then pour off the water. Make two pounds of white sugar into a syrup. Boil until it reaches the fondant stage, then add the cream of wheat starch, and keep boiling and stirring until it forms into a lump. Then add about half a pound of butter. Crisco will do as well if salt is used with it. Go on cooking the hulwa until it begins to get so hard that you can hardly manage it. Then add a wineglass of rose water, some blanched and shredded almonds and the little inside seeds of half a dozen cardamons. Delicious and nourishing, but rather expensive.
This popular confection is made by a similar method to No. 98, excepting gum arabic is used instead of cream of wheat starch. The right proportion is about an ounce of powdered gum arabic to two pounds of sugar. The butter also is omitted at the last, but the almond, rose water, and cardamon seed are usually added. Press into plates, cut in squares, and roll each square in powdered sugar.
There is an easier way, however, to make it. Melt gum-drops. This is easily done by adding a little water and boiling, or by keeping hot in a double boiler or fireless cooker for a while.
Add the almonds and cardamons and lemon or orange juice if desired. Dust powdered sugar in a square pan. Press in the paste, dust powdered sugar over the top. Cut in squares.
Use rather green bananas for this. Peel, slice crosswise, sprinkle lightly with salt and fry. Be careful to keep them whole and not to burn them. Allow them to get thoroughly cold, then frost as directed for gulab jamans (No. 94).
Make the paste according to No. 80. To make the mince heat a cupful of cream of wheat in a little butter. Do not fry this brown, but heat all through. Stir into this half a cup of dessicated cocoanut, two tablespoonfuls of small seedless raisins, two tablespoonfuls of almonds (blanched and sliced), and the seed of six cardamons. Cook this mixture for a few minutes, then add a cup of sugar and cook for a few minutes longer. This will not be a paste, for no water has been added; so don't think it is not right if it is very crumbly; that is the way it ought to be. Roll the paste out not too thin, cut in circles with a pound-baking-powder tin. Put as much of the sweetmeat as you think you can enclose, fold over, make as fancy as you like, and either fry or bake.
This is a favorite sweet at native weddings.
Mix dry breadcrumbs and grated cocoanut together, and a few raisins, too, if liked. Take a cup of sugar and half a cup of water, and boil. When syrup has reached the stage that it forms a hard ball in water, pour over the breadcrumb mixture. Mold as if making popcorn balls. If one likes, these may be rolled in powdered sugar afterward. These are also a very fine sweet for social and missionary functions of all kinds.
One pound of cream of wheat and one pound of sugar mixed intimately; then add half a cup of lard or crisco and knead awhile. Form into little balls and shape the balls as desired. Usually they are simply flattened out into squares. Bake a light brown. Be careful that they are not crowded in the pan.