Another Year Comes To An End In The Bitter-sweet Of Covid Times:
Can’t believe it’s November already! As another year with Covid restrictions nears it’s end, I’m reminded of so many blessings and good things that still happened midst all the anxiety and isolation. We still didn’t get to meet our daughter, stuck abroad for educational purposes. But I’m grateful that my family and friends stayed safe wherever they are, I was able to spend some much-needed quality time with my husband and younger daughter as the life slowed down, we had good food on our table and we even had a few opportunities to explore the outdoors in a new and adventurous way as we went glamping for the first time.
Some Morale Boosters:
One of the really amazing things that happened was that I had time on my hands to experiment more in the kitchen and take part in two wonderful international recipe competitions that were held online. Yours truly managed to win the first prize in both! That turned out to be a huge morale booster for me as a home chef and food blogger. One of the competitions was curated by Jasmina Brozovik and Foodies Picks , where my recipe for Breakfast Pita Pizza won the first prize and received amazing gifts from Foodies Picks. You can check their super cute products on their website.
2020 Ended On the Sweet Note Of Sweet Samosas Win:
Already encouraged by the previous win, I excitedly entered another competitions, hosted by Indrani Sen in collaboration with FBAI and the theme was to develop a dessert with oranges, highlighting the main ingredient in as many ways as possible in the recipe. With my thinking cap on, I started putting together the idea for Sweet Samosas Stuffed with Orange Marmalade and Cream Cheese.
The Sweet Rewards Of Sweet Samosas Win:
- Cooking Italian For Beginners – a basic Italian cooking course, treasure for a lifetime, by Azlin.
- South Indian Breakfast – collection of simple & healthy recipes to start your day right by Jayashree.
- Beyond the Cake – an irresistible collection of dessert recipes and stories designed to help parents and grandparents involve kids in the kitchen by Jasmina .
Building The Sweet Samosas Platter:
Now I knew, delicious as they may sound, just the Sweet Samosas wouldn’t be enough to wow the esteemed judges from around the globe. I needed to add more oomph to the dish. Immediately the sweet, sour and spicy Orange Dip was added to the equation. Having grown up, eating aloo samosas, I knew a Samosa recipe can’t be complete without a lip-smacking-good dip.
Taking Sweet Samosas To Next Level Yum!
The platter needed to look good, like gourmet level good! I needed the Sweet Samosas to sit over something yummy and relevant. I thought what could be better than a golden and crunchy bed of Orange Spun Sugar shards! I had tried my hand a few times at making spun sugar but with mixed results. So I got busy perfecting my spun sugar game before making the Sweet Samosas.
Little Things Matter!
Now competition or not, food has to be fun for me. And little details matter a lot. So I created a few more, candy-like- toppings to make the flavours and textures pop. Candied orange peels and candied walnuts did the job perfectly. As the dish was coming together, my excitement level was rising with it. I didn’t know then if I would win or not but, by the time I was clicking the pictures, I was very happy with the final outcome.
Tips & Cheats:
Since I was creating this recipe for a contest, I made all the components of this dish from scratch. If you decide to make everything, the good news is, you can make most of the different parts ahead and then just fry the samosas and assemble the platter right before serving. But you don’t have to do that. You can do a little cheating and get ready to fold samosa pastry, bottled marmalade and other little bits. Or you can choose to make just the samosas and dip, and skip the rest. Though I would strongly suggest to try making your own orange marmalade with recipe as you won’t find any bottled version this delicious. My version has deep flavor from cloves that reminds of Christmas desserts.
Ingredients For Sweet Samosas:
For Samosa Crust:
- 1+1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons ghee or softened butter
- cold water to knead the dough
- Vegetable oil for deep frying
Method For Samosa Crust:
In a big bowl, mix flour and salt. Rub in ghee or butter a little at a time, with your fingers till the mixture resembles wet sand.
Make a hollow in the middle of the bowl, add cold water one tablespoon at a time, knead softly just till the dough comes together, do not over work the dough.
Wrap in a plastic sheet and leave to rest for atleast 15-20 minutes so that the flour can begin to release its gluten.
Ingredients For Orange Marmalade:
- 5 oranges
- 4 cloves
- peel of 1 orange
- 3 tablespoons orange juice
- 2+1/2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2+1/2 cups water
Method For Orange Marmalade:
Peel oranges, remove pips and white pith. Remove orange flesh from skins. Tie the pips, pith and skins in a cheese cloth to make a bouquet garni.
Roughly chop the flesh.
Save the peel of one orange. Scrape away white pith from it with the tip of a teaspoon or vegetable peeler. Cut the zest into thin fine strips.
Add the orange pulp and water to a sauce pan. Add the remaining ingredients and the bouquet garni of pips and pith. Bring to a boil. The pips and pith will release pectin into the marmalade, essential for fresher fruit flavour and shoetened cooking time.
Reduce heat to a simmer and leave it to bubble away for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes the marmalade resembles bubbling hot lava. Don’t thicken it too much in the pan or it will become very thick and hard after cooling down.
To do the consistency test of marmalade, place a small plate to chill in the freezer for a few minutes. Pour a teaspoonful of hot marmalade over it and leave it to set for a minute. Make a streak in the middle of marmalade with your finger, if it maintains it’s shape, it’s ready to be stored in a clean airtight jar. If it’s still runny, cook some more and repeat the consistency test.
To Make Sweet Samosas:
Flour a work surface very lightly. Divide dough into 8 equal balls, flatten them with your hand on the floured surface.
Roll out a slightly long circle with a dough ball. Cut in the middle into two half circles. Wet the edges. Bring the cut side edges together to make a cone shape. Fill the cone with 1 heaped teaspoon cream cheese and 1 heaped teaspoon marmalade. Seal the samosa.
Repeat with all dough balls.
Cover and refrigerate till you need to fry them.
Ingredients For Orange Chilli Sauce:
- 2 cups Orange juice
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon red chilli flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
- 1 tablespoon cornflour, diluted in 1/4 cup water
Method For Orange Chilli Sauce:
Add orange juice, sugar, salt, paprika, red chilli flakes and ginger powder to a saucepan. Cook till the sugar dissolves and the juice is slightly reduced.
Add corn flour slurry. Stir continuously till the sauce thickens to a honey like consistency.
Remove from heat and let it cool.
Ingredients For Candied Orange Peel:
- peel from 1 orange
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 1/2 cup orange juice
Method For Candied Orange Peel:
Remove peel of one orange with a vegetable peeler.
Cut into thin trips.
Cover with water and boil in a saucepan. Strain. Repeat.
Add 1/2 cup sugar, orange juice and orange peels to a small heavy bottom frying pan. Let simmer in sugar till tender and coated completely.
Remove them from syrup.
Dust a baking sheet with remaining sugar.
Spread out orange peels over baking and toss to coat with sugar and leave to dry for at least 8 hours, best for 24 hours.
Ingredients For Candied Walnuts:
- 1 cup walnuts, halved
- 4 tablespoons maple syrup
- a pinch salt
Method For Candied Walnuts:
Preheat a heavy bottom frying pan over medium heat. Add the walnuts, maple syrup and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until syrup is caramelized and nuts are completely coated in it. Takes only 2-3 minutes. Spread on a baking sheet and allow to cool.
Ingredients For Orange Spun Sugar:
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- A few drops orange food colour(optional)
Method For Orange Spun Sugar:
In a clean dry pan add sugar and orange juice.
Cook it over medium high heat till the sugar melts and begins to change colour.
Add a few drops orange food colour.
Do not stir or the sugar will crystallize.
When the sugar syrup is thick enough to make a thread when picked up with a fork, remove from heat.
Let it cool for a few minutes so that the spun sugar can hold its form.
Spread an old newspaper over your work top to avoid messy cleaning afterwards.
Spread a baking sheet over the news paper.
Dip a fork in the caramel syrup. With swift movements of arm, drop stretched threads of caramel over baking sheet.
Let it cool off for 5-10 minutes. Shouldn’t be exposed to moisture or heat meanwhile.
Carefully pickup the spun sugar from paper when dry. Break into desired sized pieces or gather in a nest form. Store in an airtight container in fridge.
Caramelised Orange Slices:
- 2 oranges, peeled and cut into 1/8 inch thick slices
- 2 tablespoons sugar
Method For Caramelised Orange Slices:
Add sugar to a pan over medium high heat.
Place orange slices over it in a single layer.
Let sugar melt and caramelise, leaving the ornage slices with slightly charred faces.
remove from heat. Set aside.
To Assemble the Dessert:
If you have made ahead most components of the dish, it will not take more than 30 minutes to assemble 8 individual servings.
Deep fry samosas on low heat till evenly golden and crisp.
Remove from oil and set aside.
In a clean plate, place a caremalized orange slice. Make a tiny heap of orange spun chards close to it. Prop two Samosas over it. Decorate the surroundings with mint leaves, marigold petals, candied walnuts and orange peel. And serve with chilli orange sauce.
Repeat for all the servings.
(If you don’t want to go all gourmet on your samosas, you can simply serve the warm Samosas with orange chilli sauce as well).