Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Maple Yogurt Pannacotta with Orange Blossom Syrup and Crushed Pistachios - A GUEST POST BY RUCHIRA-BLOGGER OF THE MONTH

I started cooking only after marriage out of necessity and hence have always been in awe of people who are fearless in kitchen. One among them is the blogger I profile for this month's Blogger of the Month . She is someone who truly loves food ; her cooking escapades started at a tender age of 7 and by the time she was 11, the young gal was already in to baking lamingtons and brownies. I am talking about Ruchira of the Cookaroo Blog fame. That her space is only 6 months old is a surprise as her list of recipes is an interesting and creative tease to the palette. Besides her restaurant or product reviews holds you in spell as she delightfully weaves magic with the words. And why not ? She is a journalist by profession. 

Presenting Ruchira

I can’t remember when I started cooking.  But I do remember why.  I must have been seven years old, when my mother went back to work. There was lunch always ready when we’d come back, but more often than not, I’d be bored by it. So I’d rummage through the fridge find something, I like, slap it together into a sandwich and well, be satisfied for a bit.

In a year or so I’d learnt how to use the gas lighter, and I think that led me to cook my first meal – grill cheese on a griddle, use a spoon to scrape off the melty goo and share it with my sister. As the weeks passed, I also was bold enough to grill slices of bread to make a tawa toast dripping in butter – slathered with some honey or just stuffed with some cheese.

Soon after I tried my hand at the oven. I figured if I’d watch it like a hawk, I wouldn’t put it on fire. Trust me, the trick worked. I made lamingtons, brownies, cakes all by the time I was 11. But my favourite meal, still remains this club sandwich that I learnt from reading the back of a bag of chips (Uncle Chipps Spicy Treat).

The recipe was pretty simple. Make coleslaw, fry an egg, take a piece of cold cut and bung in the chips. A sandwhich required four slices of toasted bread and a double-side fried, fried egg.  Quite a lot for a 11 and 8 year old to try and finish between the two.  We’d split the sandwich. Mine bigger than hers. And my sister would always appreciate my effort.

I think that’s when I realized I loved making food for others. For the next 20 odd years, that’s exactly what I’ve done – feed people. I love cooking, I love experimenting but most of all I love feeding and sharing food with people I love.

I don’t mind going that extra mile to get the best ingredients, I don’t mind spending nights dreaming of meals I am going to cook and I don’t mind spending time just executing all the things in my head. Actually, scrap that – I love doing all the above.

Which actually brings me to blogging. As a blogger I am merely six months old, but as a cook I’m about 24 (as a human being I am 32, but that’s another story). I didn’t realize that it would become one of the things I would love doing. I didn’t realize this for two reasons – one because I never had the time ( I am a journalist otherwise) and two because I have always (and still am) petrified by the camera.

My friends urged me for years to blog. My sister too. But it wasn't until I realized that blogging was another way to share the food I created, that I actually sat down and began my blog.  And what a journey it’s been! I've learnt to take better photographs, have a drawer full of props for the food , am constantly demanding from friends and family to get me special ingredients from all over the world and meeting some great people virtually such as Priya. Plus I am sharing food that makes me happy.

This recipe too of the Maple Yogurt Pannacotta with Orange Blossom Syrup and Pistachios is made from ingredients that my husband’s brought back from a recent trip. It’s extremely fiddlable. I’ve given both the vegetarian and the non-vegetarian version for it (gelatin/agar agar) and the syrup can be made with  a whole lot of other fruits such as mangoes, berries and even espresso. You can add whatever nuts you have in your pantry, you can add any kind of flavoring to the pannacotta as well. Omit maple, add honey or just plain sugar or even jaggery – really the world is your oyster.

But having said that, I must tell you that this combination is very heady and really light and lovely. The pannacotta isn’t very rich, it’s creamy and delectable and syrup has a fragrance that will transport you to the middle-east. And the crunch and saltiness of the pistachios work well against this delectable creamy dessert.  In other words, not right it off just yet :) 

Maple Yogurt Pannacotta with Orange Blossom Syrup and Crushed Pistachios
(Serves 4)


For the pannacotta
  • Hung yogurt or greek yogurt - 200 grams
  • Low fat cream - 200 ml
  • Maple syrup - 1/2 cup
  • Orange blossom water - 3 tsp
  • Orange zest - 1/2 tsp
  • 2 sheets of gelatin or 1 and a half tsp gelatin or 4 tsp agar agar/ china grass
  • Water for the gelatin to bloom
For the orange syrup
  • 1 cup orange juice (I used the one out of a box)
  • 1 small fruit - orange/ sathukudi peeled and deseeded fruited
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp orange blossom water
  • Crushed pistachios
Method :-

For the pannacotta

1.  Put your gelatin to bloom.

2.  Boil the cream and maple syrup together for five minutes. Put in the orange zest. Set aside. If you’re using the agar agar put it in now to dissolve.

3.  Mix the yogurt with the orange blossom water together. To the cream mix add the gelatin (if not using agar agar). Strain and pour into the yogurt mix. 

4. Mix together. Pour into ramekins. And let it set overnight. 

For the Orange Blossom syrup

1. Put the sugar and the orange juice in a saucepan to boil. Let it simmer down to half.

 2. Meanwhile peel the orange. Deseed and remove the veins. Keep the fruity bits.

  3. When the orange juice mix reaches half, add the fruits and the orange blossom syrup. Let it cook for 5 more minutes. 

Remove from fire and cool before serving. Spoon some of the orange blossom syrup on the pannacotta and top with crushed pistachios. Serve immediately. 



  1. Cooking since 7!! Amazing!! :)
    It's nice to note that you are so passionate about cooking!!
    And this dessert is so mouth-watering... wanna have it right now!! :D
    Loved the blue decorative plate too :)

  2. From 7... gal u must be great... The dessert looks so silky n yum

  3. Omg, wat an irresistible and delectable pannacotta, i'll happily have it rite now.

  4. Oh My God she started at the age of 7 n baked cake at 11..... Simply amazing.... Great going...

    Event: Dish name starts with O

  5. Post from a passionate cook !!
    good to know her...
    Mouthwatering sweet dish...

  6. so yummy! And its got yogurt... this one I gotta try

  7. My god! Thank you you guys, didn't realise the post raked in so many comments. Thank you Priya. How lovely this feels.

  8. awesome ..join me in Fast food - Pasta , Know your Sweetness - honey and Know your Flours -Corn flour event in my blog.

  9. This is a sweet treat I would like to indulge in :) Ruchira, I enjoyed your post - it's wonderful to read about people's journeys into chef land and Priya thanks for continuing this wonderful series diligently:)