Nolen Gurer Cake + Burnt Caramel Ice Cream

There comes a point when the rigours of everyday life engulf you so much that you barely have the time and energy to indulge in things that really make you happy. And there comes a time when, even though you have the said time and energy, external circumstances are too compelling for you to do so. Either way, you end up cursing and cribbing and almost always vowing that tomorrow is going to be the day things would turn around. My life too has been going on a similar route. I have too many things on my plate to devote as much time as I would like to cooking, shooting and blogging. There are nights I stay awake, pensively lamenting that Guilt Free is no longer an integral part of my being. Trust me when I tell you, I really, really want to blog more, but for some inexplicable reason, I just can't. It's a gut-wrenching feeling actually. There have been so many times I've thought of calling it a day, so many instances when I've gone to my Blogger home page and contemplated on clicking the 'delete' button. But every single time one thought flashes in my mind and I pause. That I am doing it for myself. I don't earn a penny from developing recipes, cooking, shooting, editing photographs and writing thesis to go with it. For something that is essentially free, food blogging is too much work (or so I have been told). And every time I battle with that logic, I get the inevitable answer. I would never do it if I looked upon it as "work". Labouring for my blog is not a chore for me, it's something that I love. On days I don't love it, I don't do it. I have gone for months without posting a thing. Because I was uninspired. And there have been months when I've posted two recipes a day. Because my zeal knew no bounds. So there's really no rule, no compulsion. I know I can abandon this space forever but still come back to it and embrace it like we have never been apart. And that's the reason why I don't click that delete button.
I may cook once in 10 days, shoot once in 60 days and publish a post once in 90, but I can never ever let go of Guilt Free. It may never bring home any money, but it brings happiness, it brings peace, it brings contentment. And you know that the love is really deep when it's not material enrichment that you're running after, but only emotional bliss.

Nolen Gurer Cake + Burnt Caramel Ice Cream

Serves: 8


For the cake:
Butter, room temperature: 70 gm
All purpose flour: 150 gm
Eggs: 2
Nolen Gur, melted: 1 cup (adjust according to sweetness)
Baking powder: 1.5 tsp
Baking soda: 0.5 tsp
Milk: 3-4 tbsp
Makha shondesh, crumbled: 3/4 cup (optional, I used storebought)

For the Ice Cream:
Heavy cream: 500 ml
Full fat milk: 200 ml
Nolen Gur: 350 gm (adjust according to sweetness)
Makha shondesh, crumbled: 3/4 cup

First make the ice cream:

1. On parallel gas ovens, place two heavy bottomed pans. Melt the jaggery in one and in the other bring the cream to a light boil. Reduce heat, add the milk and stir well.

2. When the jaggery is completely melted, continue to let it bubble for another minute or so. Just as it lets off a slightly burning smell, switch off the gas. You need to be extremely vigilant during this time, never for once leaving the pan on its own. The whole thing may get completely burnt in no time!

3. Now gradually add the melted jaggery to the to cream, stirring continuously. Let it bubble away for 4-5 min more before switching the gas off.

4. Once the ice cream base is cooled completely, fold in the crumbled makha shondesh. Transfer it to the freezer.

5. After every 2-3 hours, bring out the ice cream base from the freezer and whip with a hand blender (freeze the whisks at least half an hour before you do this. My whisks are perpetually frozen!) till thick and fluffy. Do this at least twice.

6. Now transfer the ice cream to a metal container (a loaf pan is perfect) and cover it with a cling film. Leave to freeze overnight.

While the ice cream is freezing, get ahead with the cake:

1. Preheat oven to 180 degree C. Grease a round 8-inch baking pans and line the base with a baking parchment and butter the sides. Set aside.

2. In a small bowl, melt the butter (I microwaved it for 1 min, in 30-sec intervals). In another bowl, beat the eggs. Set aside.

3. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a big bowl.

4. Add the eggs, butter and melted gur to the dry ingredients and mix well. Add the milk bit by bit till the batter is smooth. Add half of the crumbled makha shondesh and fold in.

5. Pour the batter in the prepared cake tin and sprinkle the remaining makh shondesh on top. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a tester inserted at the centre comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 20 min or so before unmoulding.

6. Serve warm with the chilled ice cream. Don't forget to lace it with some jhola gur on top!


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