It’s no fun being under the weather, particularly during this time of year. Especially when you’d rather be elbow deep in the kitchen surrounded by flour , spices , candied peels and all the other delicious things that bring so much seasonal cheer.
Just because the baking didn’t happen according to schedule doesn’t mean we don’t have friends and family stopping by ! And if they’re stopping by to admire your tree and to notice the other efforts taken to pretty up your home,by all means they must be treated to some good old fashioned goodies. So that’s exactly what I did. I needed to look no further than one of C town’s oldest establishments, Balaaji bakery situated at Town Hall.
I love to go back to simple goodies that light up one’s memory banks and add much cheer and comfort. Isn’t that what home baked treats do? So too do the array of timeless treats like tea cakes,rose cookies,kalkals and ginger bread. There’s one other confection that I love which we call the ‘swiss roll’. The Yule log , the peppermint swirls , the cinnamon snails are all extended versions of these jam roly polys. The well made ones are not really easy to come by, mind you. Either the sponge is too dry,the jam is too sweet or it has an unpleasant after taste of strong artificial essence.So,last week I bought a dozen of these swiss rolls for my friends to feast on.
I still remember how I literally erupted with joy when I found these perfect looking swiss rolls many months ago during our first food walk and I think I even stepped over a friend’s foot in my eagerness of getting to the counter. They were arranged in neat rows in a large glass counter at this bakery that is always full of customers every day of the week.
Not only did it look good but the sponge was so light and best of all the jam actually tasted of fruit. It was tart with the right amount of sweetness and we devoured it in minutes. So many of our childhood memories were kindled as we stared in disbelief at trays filled with forgotten treats. Apple cakes , Pale green butter bean cakes , cream horns , Japanese cakes , all made fresh every day. Over the years we’ve requested old time bakers to make these traditional cakes only to be told that it involved a great deal of time and skill which they didn’t think was worth getting into for a small order. And all this time we had been none the wiser that this place has quietly been churning out these very same confections for decades !
I also enjoy the idea of adding one’s own personal touches to store bought products. Nothing too dramatic but just enough to make it that teeny bit more special. I personally love to offset the sweetness in cakes and pastries with something that adds a refreshing burst of flavor. Fruit often fits that brief and also makes it instantly more appealing.
During this time of the year the lure of juicy, plump strawberries is hard to resist. Not just for the festive cheer brought on by that deep red colour but also because it’s a great addition to anything sweet. It seemed the perfect topping for the swirly sponge. The melt in the mouth softness of the cake along with the bits of texture from the dessicated coconut on the outer rim offered a welcoming contrast to the fresh berries. Since the intention was to delight my guests I gave a final dusting of half a tea spoon of icing sugar,to minimize the sour edge that strawberries tend to impart. The soft sprinkles of the sifted fine sugar crystals ended up looking like a pretty dusting of snowfall on the plate and coated the edges of the cut fruit perfectly.
I would have liked to dot a few mint leaves about to add to the look and taste but I’d already spent too long admiring the plate .Time flies when you’re having fun and before I knew it my doorbell announced that my merry bunch had arrived!
Here’s looking forward to creating more Christmas memories. Hope to end 2016 on a positive note and have that thought process continue as we ring in the New Year !
Wishing you all peace , happiness , prosperity and a little more love and tolerance to those with whom we share space with on this planet ! Cheers all. Stay blessed
Shri Balaaji and Co Bakery
1206 big Bazaar Street,
Phone nr :2394507.