It was a happy day indeed!
My 16 month old nephew, Aviloo (his older brother calls him that, so we do too!), looked at a picture of me & said “Maasi” (maternal aunt in my native Gujarati)!! He has just about started talking & after saying “Mama”, “Papa”, “Bird”, & “Ball”… it’s “Maasi“! Of course Mimima (his grandmother & my mum), Nana (his grandfather & my dad) & Maasa (my husband) are extremely upset 😉
The best thing in the world is to have a sister! I’ve always wanted an older brother too, but I wouldn’t trade my sister for all the chocolate in the universe! She’s been my pillar, my all time-go-to, my best friend! So then the worst thing about having a sister is that it’s so very, very difficult if she lives far away from you! And especially if she has 2 little boys you love the most!
Her older son, Ahaan, is 3 & at that magical age when everything is about stories & questions & drama & discoveries & tantrums… a very entertaining age if you are the doting aunt waiting for daily updates about “What did Ahaan say / do today?” Not so sure if you are the Mom or Dad being constantly bombarded with Whys, Hows, Whats & of course the NOs!
And little Ahir or Aviloo who is in his own quiet way lighting up our lives with bright dimpled smiles, cuddles, squeals of delight & wonder at everything, wanting to explore, do things his brother does. When Nandini called to tell me he said “Maasi”, I was super excited & very moved. I haven’t been around the tot or spoken to him as much as I did with his brother & yet he called my name!
How I wish I was with them! I miss them so much!
Silly as it may sound, I wanted to make something to celebrate & also in a way bridge the geographical distance.
My sister, my brother-in-law & my nephews are vegetarian. She complains constantly that I don’t post enough vegetarian & egg-free dishes. So here is a dessert I have been meaning to try my hand at, using the one ingredient the boys can’t get enough of… Yogurt!
Since I am on a health trip & attempting to make desserts that are not only delicious but healthy too, I will not make this one an exception. Almost all the recipes I looked at needed condensed milk. Sneaking spoonfuls of sweet condensed milk & Nutella from the fridge late at night… is a very comforting childhood memory. I love it! And it’s been years since had some. But tempting as it was to use the real thing, I looked for a healthy substitute. I’m so proud of my restraint!
I decided to make condensed milk at home!I found a recipe that seemed the simplest & most hassle-free. And no, I did not substitute the sugar! That would be asking for too much! I just cut down the quantity of sugar 🙂
Ingredients for Condensed Milk
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons Instant Powdered Milk
- 1/2 cup Warm Water
- 3/4 cup Sugar
Note: I thought 3/4 cups Sugar was too much so I used 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon Brown Sugar + 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract. The next time, I may use 1/2 cup or less.
- Mix the powdered milk & warm water in a bowl.
- Set the bowl in a pan of hot water & stir in sugar & vanilla extract until dissolved.
- You may want to set it in the refrigerator or use it once it reaches room temperature.
This recipe makes 1 1/4 Cups
I have adapted the following recipe from Meatless Monday’s Apricot Pistachio Baked Yogurt
Ingredients for Baked Yogurt
- 2 cups Low Fat Yogurt
- 1 1/4 cup Home-made Condensed Milk
- 2 Figs
- 1 tablespoon Honey
- 2 tablespoons Water
- 2 Star Anise
- 2-3 Cloves
- Tightly bind the yogurt in a muslin cloth, place it on a sieve over a bowl & keep aside in the refrigerator for about 30-40 minutes.
- Once the water has drained out & the yogurt is thick & creamy, combine it with the condensed milk until smooth.
- Pour the mixture into a medium sized baking dish or individual ramekins & place in roasting pan filled with water & bake in a pre-heated oven for 30 minutes
- Meanwhile heat water with star anise, cloves & honey & add the figs.
- Turn the heat off after a few minutes & let the figs stew for a bit in the spice infused honeyed water.
- Pour the fruit over the baked yogurt & serve warm or chilled.
The boys will surely love this but I think I too, may have discovered one of my favourite non-chocolate desserts! It is light, creamy, a bit like caramel custard in texture. The star anise & cloves cut through the sweetness of the figs & honey & add another dimension to the flavour.
This recipe serves 4-6 people