Monday, August 31, 2020

Sweet Potato Bebinca from Season by Nik Sharma

I thought I was done with this cookbook (Season by Nik Sharma) but every time I see someone in the Rainy Day Bites Cookbook Club (in Instagram) try another recipe from it, I am drawn back in to the other recipes I've marked. I baked the sweet potatoes for this before realizing I didn't have coconut milk, so this recipe was made over the period of a week. See beneath the recipe for a link to the cookbook as well as how I simplified the recipe process.

This is a take on a traditional Goan custard, but I found it to be more firm than I was expecting. To me the firmness was an asset. It makes it easier to cut, serve, store, and more. The flavor is divine. If any people actually gather for Thanksgiving, I volunteer to bring this! It's the flavors of a sweet potato dessert but easier than pie, and I think I like it better than pie texture. It could be dressed up with whipped cream and nuts or something but I don't think it needs it.


Sweet Potato Bebinca

(recipe is from Season by Nik Sharma but I'm taking this from the New York Times, which you should visit for more contextual info and a picture of a greater smooth texture than I achieved)


  • 2 to 3 medium to large sweet potatoes (1 1/4 pounds total)
  • 6 tablespoons/85 grams unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the pan
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup/200 grams grated jaggery, muscovado, panela or dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup/60 milliliters maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 (13.5-ounce/400-milliliter) can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup/130 grams all-purpose flour


  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Rinse the sweet potatoes to remove any dirt, pat them dry with paper towels and poke several holes in them with a fork. Put the potatoes in a baking dish or on baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Roast until completely tender, 35 to 45 minutes. Cool completely before handling. Peel the sweet potatoes, discard the skins, and purée the flesh in a food processor. Measure out 1 2/3 cups/400 grams and set aside, saving the rest for another purpose. (The sweet potatoes may be roasted 1 day ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.)
  2. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
  3. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round baking pan with 2-inch sides with parchment paper and grease lightly with butter. Put the pan on a baking sheet. In a large bowl, whisk together the cooled sweet potato purée, melted butter, eggs, sugar, maple syrup, nutmeg, turmeric and salt until smooth. Add the coconut milk and flour and whisk until the mixture is smooth, with no visible streaks of flour.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and put the pan, still on the baking sheet, in the oven. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through. The pudding should be firm to the touch in the center and light golden brown around the edges. Remove from the oven and cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Wrap the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate to set for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.
  5. Once the bebinca has set, run a sharp knife around the sides of the pan, flip the pan onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and tap gently to release. Peel the parchment off the top. Invert onto a serving dish, and peel off the second sheet of parchment paper.
  6. To serve, use a sharp serrated knife to cut the chilled bebinca into wedges. Store the leftover bebinca, wrapped in plastic wrap, in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Notes from JennyBakes

 I have no idea why the directions don't use a springform pan - half the steps described are unnecessary if you just use a springform pan. I guess there's a little bit of a ledge that forms on the bottom outside, but it's so much simpler! That's the only change I made. (This is also true about his chai masala apple cake which I made the day I'm writing this post - made the same change for that one, and it didn't sag on the edge at all.

I used brown sugar, just light, because that's what I have. I did some looking for jaggery and decided I didn't need to buy it when it wasn't required.

The recipe says to just use a whisk but my sweet potato was still pretty chunky and didn't completely incorporate, which you can really see in the second picture. This had little effect on end result or flavor but the full blend of the cookbook picture and the NYT photo does look slightly more impressive. Next time I'd either run the mixture through the food processor (not the blender or mixer as I don't think it would be wise to introduce more air into it necessarily) or better puree the sweet potato. I bet if you take it directly from the oven and it hadn't been in the fridge a few days, this may not be a problem.


Monday, August 24, 2020

Bombay Frittata from Season by Nik Sharma

I decided this baked egg dish belonged on JennyBakes because it is so delicious! It's actually the first thing I made from Season by Nik Sharma, the cookbook I mentioned last week for the Margherita Naan Pizza. It was the perfect light dinner with massive flavor.

Bombay Frittata

12 large eggs
1/2 cup (100 g) Crème Fráiche*
1/2 cup (70 g) finely chopped red onion*
2 scallions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 Tbsp fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp dried red chili flakes
2 Tbsp Ghee or vegetable oil
1/4 cup (30 g) crumbled Paneer or feta*

Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C).

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, crème fráiche, onion, scallions, garlic, cilantro, garam masala, salt, pepper, turmeric, and chili flakes and beat with a whisk or fork; do not overbeat. 

Heat the ghee in a 12 in (30.5 cm) ovenproof skillet, such as cast iron, over medium-high heat, tilting the skillet to coat evenly with the fat. When the ghee bubbles, pour the eggs into the center of the skillet, shaking to distribute evenly. Cook, undisturbed, until the frittata starts to firm up on the bottom and along the sides but is still slightly jiggly on top, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the paneer and transfer the skillet to the oven. Cook until golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Serve warm.

*Notes from JennyBakes: I used sour cream instead of crème fráiche and it worked just fine. I had shallots so used those in place of red onion, and feta for the paneer. I actually sauteed the onions and garlic a bit before adding the eggs because I didn't want them to have the "sharp bite" the cookbook author enjoys.

Season by Nik Sharma

Other recipes I have marked to try:

-Toasted Cumin and Lime Cucumber Salad (after seeing it on Deborah Balint's Instagram! Yum!)
-Cocoa-Spiced Bean and Lentil Soup
-Eggplant Pilaf
-Sweet Potato Bebinca
-Apple Masala Chai Cake
-Rhubarb, Cardamom, and Rose Water Sharbat
-Salted Tarragon Lassi
-Spiced Mango Milkshake

Recipes I've already made:

-Margherita Naan Pizza
-Egg Salad with Toasted Coriander
-Cardamom Iced Coffee with Coconut Milk

Monday, August 17, 2020

Margherita Naan Pizza from Season by Nik Sharma

 I invited myself along to the Rainy Day Bites Cookbook Club in Instagram and the August cookbook is Season by Nik Sharma. The recipes are Indian with some traditional elements and some spins on traditional recipes. The default is always from scratch and as fresh as possible, from roasting and grinding your own spices to making your own naan. That's what I did for this recipe, a week late or so, but I finally did it! I'll include the naan recipe but not the full pizza recipe; please see the cookbook for that! 

Naan pizza

I never feel quite comfortable with pizza. My stove isn't gas, I don't have a pizza stone, and I can't get quite to the crispness I would like. However I thought the end result was tasty flavor-wise. I ended up just making the two pizzas from the dough rather than making half into garlic naan, which was my original inclination.

(from Season, with far more directions and narrative and photos)

1/2 cup (120 ml) whole milk, heated to 105 to 115 F (41 to 46 C)
1 large egg
2 Tbsp plain full-fat Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp fine sea salt
1 Tbsp active dry yeast
2 cups (280 g) all-purpose flour or whole-wheat pastry flour, plus more for rolling out the naans

Using a fork, whisk the milk, egg, yogurt, butter, and salt in a small bowl. Sprinkle with the yeast and let it sit for 5 minutes. The mixture should be bubbly on the surface.

Put the flour in a large bowl or mound on a clean work surface and make a well in the center. Pour the yeast mixture into the middle of the well.* Using clean hands or a large wooden spoon, gradually mix the flour from the inside wall of the well into the liquid to form a sticky dough. Knead well for 4-5 minutes.

Fold the dough by grabbing it from the underside and stretching it and folding it back over itself. Rotate a quarter of a turn and repeat three or four times. Brush a large bowl with a little oil and put the dough in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a dark, warm place until doubled in size, about 4 hours.

Divide the dough into four equal parts and shape into balls. On a clean, lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin to roll out the balls of dough, one at a time, into circles about 1/8 in (4 mm) thick and about 6 in (15 cm) in diameter.

To cook the naan, heat a large skillet with a lid over medium-high heat. Slap a circle of dough into the hot skillet and cover the pan to trap the steam. Cook for 3-4 minutes, flip the dough, and turn the ehat to low. Cook, covered, until the naan blisters, with a few big bubbles, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and wrap in a clean kitchen towel. Repeat with the remaining three circles of dough.

*If you are an amateur bread or pasta maker, this well concept might not be as easy as it sounds. I had a break in my wall and ended up with less of the flour and less of the yeast mixture than I started with. What a mess! I wish I'd used a bowl. 

Season by Nik Sharma

Other recipes I have marked to try:

-Toasted Cumin and Lime Cucumber Salad (after seeing it on Deborah Balint's Instagram! Yum!)
-Cocoa-Spiced Bean and Lentil Soup
-Eggplant Pilaf
-Bombay Frittata
-Sweet Potato Bebinca
-Apple Masala Chai Cake
-Rhubarb, Cardamom, and Rose Water Sharbat
-Salted Tarragon Lassi
-Spiced Mango Milkshake

Recipes I've already made:

-Egg Salad with Toasted Coriander
-Cardamom Iced Coffee with Coconut Milk

Monday, August 10, 2020

Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffins Made with Coconut Flour

I'm always on the hunt for the best blueberry muffin recipe that fits with the way we eat. I found one on King Arthur Flour that only used coconut flour, which was great because for a few weeks there I couldn't buy all-purpose flour or almond flour.

Thank goodness for companies like King Arthur Flour and Bob's Red Mill who make all these great alternative flours and then provide recipes as well. Coconut flour is really tricky and has to be handled differently. These were rather moist, but I may have been exuberant with my blueberry measuring. I usually have the opposite problem with coconut flour as it absorbs a considerable amount of liquid. I'd like to try this same base recipe again with chocolate chips or nuts.

Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffins Made with Coconut Flour
(from King Arthur Flour)

  • 1/4 cup (32g) coconut flour, sifted after measuring
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons (43g) butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons (64g) honey*
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract*
  • 1/2 cup (85g) blueberries (make sure they're thoroughly dry)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease six wells of a standard muffin pan, or line them with lightly greased muffin papers.
  2. Sift together the coconut flour and baking powder, and mix until well blended.
  3. Stir together the eggs, butter, honey, salt, and vanilla and almond extracts until smooth.
  4. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until there are no lumps. Gently fold the blueberries into the batter until evenly incorporated.
  5. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each about half full.
  6. Bake the muffins for about 16 to 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let them cool for about 5 minutes in the pan, then transfer them to a rack to cool.
 *I did not use any almond extract, and subbed coconut sugar for the honey (and still they were very moist.)

The day I made these, it was an impulse Second Breakfast kind of bake. I had been looking through a cookbook I had for review called Good Drinks: Alcohol-Free Recipes for When You're Not Drinking for Whatever Reason by Julia Bainbridge. It comes out from Ten Speed Press on October 6, 2020. This adult version (but not too adult, as there is no alcohol, obviously) of an Orange Julius was easy and delicious - I actually left out the simple syrup so it just contained the sweetness of the orange juice and that was good enough!

Monday, August 03, 2020

Blueberry Hand Pies (grain-free)

I found this recipe when I went looking for blueberry recipes, and I was so intrigued by the technique in Ashley's Blueberry and Goat Cheese Hand Pies that I could not let it go, and made a version of them not long after. I didn't have any goat cheese on hand so went more in the direction of cooking down the blueberries a bit and adding cinnamon and coconut sugar.  But these really do crisp up and this technique would work well for all sorts of fillings. They are definitely best the day they are made. I've made little pie pasties before with pie crust and this technique is completely different from that. It might be helpful to watch her video with the peach version to see how she does it. It really does work.

Blueberry and Goat Cheese Hand Pies
(from Ashley at my heart beets)

Handheld Pie Crust:
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • ½ cup tapioca flour
  • 1 cup coconut milk, canned and full fat
  • egg wash
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries
  • 4 ounces chèvre
  • Drizzle of honey (or sweetener of choice)

  1. In a bowl combine almond flour, tapioca flour, and coconut milk to form a batter.
  2. Pour ¼ cup of the batter onto a pre-heated non-stick pan over medium heat.
  3. Let the batter cook until the bottom of the flatbread is firm enough to move.
  4. Using a spatula, lift the bread and move it onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, flipping it over so that the sticky side is down.
  5. Repeat this until the batter is done – for a total of six hand pies.
  6. Spread goat cheese on one side of the flatbread, then add about 1 tablespoon of blueberries in the middle of the bread (or as many as will fit). Drizzle honey on top, then seal the pie shut with egg wash. Pinch the dough closed.
  7. Brush egg wash on the pie and repeat about five more times.
  8. Place baking sheet in oven at 350F for 30-40 minutes or until crispy outside.