Once again, Ramadan is here, a treasured month that millions across the globe look forward to so eagerly. It is not merely a month about abstaining from food and drink; it is also meant to be a time of fasting for the soul, the eyes and ears. It is meant to teach us to be mindful of all our different senses – what we expose them to and how we use them. Ramadan is meant to remind us of the blessings we have in order for us to be more grateful people, as well as to allow us to empathise with those who aren’t as fortunate. It is humbling and teaches us to rethink our actions. The month of Ramadan is about being able to carry on with your everyday life with the additional pressure of fasting so that you can learn to be patient. It is normal to be tired and even get irritable when you are deprived of sustenance, but the aim should be to keep your cool and show respect to your family, friends and co-workers. Fasting is not meant to be an excuse for any shortcomings during the Holy Month. And fasting for 15 hours in this part of the world to fasting from 17 to 20 hours in others is no easy task, somehow miraculously the days seem to just cruise by. What’s amazing is, not only the adults do this, but some as small as 3 & 4 year olds carry the fasts. Thats the magic of Ramadan, doing what otherwise seems unfathomable to do.
And after a long day of fasting, whatever ideas you had of eating healthy, eating smart, eating light … goes right out of the window, and all you want are the lovely sinful snacks. Stuff that you would steer away from in everyday life, or atleast eat in controlled portions. And I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with that ! You did kind of deserve it, and there’s nothing wrong in indulging in a few good things. I’m not promoting gluttony but as long as you know when to stop, everthing is good, and you can enjoy it guilt free. The first two days we usually start with a light clear soup followed with something grilled or panfried, but soon enough day 3 – 4 on I’m usually heading right for the little fried delicacies, that are crunchy and packed with flavour ( home prepared stuff i.e. – the outside is way too oily ) and of course thinking about whats going to follow for dessert. By the way do hop over to my dear friend Lubna Karim’s Blog, she hosts this lovely event every Ramadan, Joy From Fasing to Feasting, shares some lovely recipes that makes the task of Menu deciding easier in these days.
Cheesecakes for me are actually a no brainer. Just pour, whip, pour and set. I can’t remember the last time I pulled out a measuring scale for this dessert. Yet somehow it always turns out right and looking glamorous. Measured eating portions and easy to pass around, the ideal thing to make for Iftar parties. How sweet & rich you make them is totally upto you. I do quite like a cheesey cheesecake which is why I’ve use 3 packages of Philadelphia cream cheese in just 18 little tea /shot glasses. I’ve also added some sea salt to the cheese, to give it that perfect balance between sweet n a touch of savoury. The layers of mango jelly cut though the richness of the plain flavoured cheesecake & give it that freshness. It is the Mango Mousse that makes this one fancy. Cream whipped with mango puree and set with some gelatine, piped over the cheesecake and dusted with edible gold dust. I’m pretty sure you won’t be able to resist one.
( makes 18 tea glasses full )
For the Base
100 gms Digestive Biscuits crushed
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons caster sugar
Mix all 3 ingredients with your hand and fill a spoonful in every glass pressing the mix to the bottom. Refrigerate for about 30 mins.
For the Cheesecake.
(you can change the ratio of the cream cheese : whipped cream to your taste )
3 packs (200 gms) Philadelphia Cheesecake – room temperature
300 ml whipping cream
a generous grinding of sea salt
6-8 tablespoons caster sugar
In a stand mixer, soften the cream cheese, add the sugar and salt mixing well, and then the whipping cream, making sure everything combines well. Beat it on slow for about a minute and on medium till it just about starts whipping up. Stop at this point, you don’t want to whip it too much.
Fill up half the glasses with the cheesecake mix and return to the fridge .
600 – 800 gms Mango Pulp ( you’ll need about that much pulp between the jelly and mousse )
1tsp gelatin powder (X2)
3 tablespoons hot water
You need to make these in two batches. First take about 300 gms of the mango pulp, to it add the its of gelatine softened in hot water. Fill a layer of it over the cheesecake in the glasses and return to the fridge till just about set.
Top with another layer of cream cheese and then repeat the step for the Mango jelly.
Let the whole thing set for about an hour.
For the Mango Mousse
200 ml whipping cream
2 tablespoons caster sugar
100 ml mango pulp
11/2 tsp gelatin dissolved in hot water.
Start with adding the dissolved gelatine to the mango pulp. In a stand mixer, start whipping up the cream with the caster sugar and then add the mango pulp to it. Stand patiently and let the machine whip up the cream till it forms soft peaks. Fill in piping bag and finish off the tops of the cheesecake glasses. Once they’ve set, gently garnish some edible gold dust to if you like just drizzle some mango puree over.