Who remembers Masala Doodh when you were little? Masala doodh is essentially milk, which is boiled with almonds, pistachios, cardamom, nutmeg, sugar and saffron to create this really heavenly concoction, that really warms your soul and gives you that homey feeling, like a tight hug! My mom made this milk for us as an after dinner dessert, served cold, it was made when my brother and I were studying for our school exams, to give us energy and strength to go on studying into the wee hours of the night, it was served cold to guest who would visit us anytime of the day. It serves well hot or cold. All the nuts, spices and sugar are added to whole milk and the milk is boiled and simmered to assimilate all the flavors. This drink is truly an energy booster and I remember many a nights having this drink and feeling energized to continue studying into the night even though I was so tired from the day. Every household in India has their own version of this drink.
I made a Masala Milk powder, by grinding all the ingredients, such as almonds, pistachios, cashews, cardamom, nutmeg, saffron and I store it in a glass jar in a cool place for upto 3 months, to preserve maximum freshness from the nuts. Nuts tend to go rancid, so I would not recommend keeping it for more than 3 months. This masala milk powder is so versatile.
Just add 2 tablespoons of the mixture into milk of your choice, can be plant based milk as well, bring it to a boil once, and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Steep the mixture by covering it with a lid, for another 20 minutes, and you have delicious masala milk ready!
My mom would actually make the Masala Doodh with shredded slivers of almonds and pistachios in it, she would chop each nut finely with her thumb and first finger, and a sharp knife. It was a meticulous process. Each nut shredded so beautifully, that when you have the masala doodh, you get those bits in your mouth with some coarse bits of cardamom too. It gives such great taste and texture to the simple Masala Doodh.
I love making Mini Cheesecakes, cheesecake in itself is quite heavy to eat, and a little bit goes a long way. Mini Cheesecakes is a perfect way to indulge but yet in small portions, and savor the flavors in your mouth. Also minis are always perfect for get togethers, and in this pandemic, and these times, it is great to have these minis to celebrate the occasion of Diwali with a close group of friends, and end the night with the perfect mini Cheesecake desserts! Cheesecakes are seriously one of my favorite desserts, ofcourse apart from ice creams! I love the texture, sourness, creaminess of cheesecakes. It is like a blank canvas, and you can decorate it however you want, with whatever flavors you want, it will adapt really well to any unique flavors.
WHAT PAN DID I USE FOR MINI CHEESECAKES?!
I used these mini cheesecake pans, available on Amazon, It is linked here. These mini cheesecake pans are super convenient. Ofcourse, you can use a cupcake pan as well with cupcake liners. But I love the clean look of these mini cheesecake pans and they look legit cute! I was quite happy with this pan and with how EASY THIS RECIPE IS, I know I will be making different variations of this cheesecake very often! Cause NOW I do not have to make a big cheesecake and eat it for days. I can make minis, that my kids enjoyed too, and LET’s FACE IT! They are just more fun to eat! GET YOUR PAN NOW so you can make these cuties!
My recipe is eggless. The crust is made with digestive biscuits, sugar, melted butter and a bit of cardamom. The crust is baked for 10 minutes for it to set, and then the batter is added on top of it. It uses a bit of cornstarch and Greek yogurt to set the cheesecake, once it is baked in the oven. I use a bit less sugar, because that is the way I like it. I loved that these mini cheesecakes were not overtly sweet. The batter came together really very quickly. I added the Masala Milk Powder into the batter, and it gets a beautiful slight orange color from the pretty saffron. You can inhale the fragrance of the cardamom and nutmeg from the batter. The mini cheesecakes are baked just for 16-18 minutes to the max. Do not overbake else it will crack and the texture will not be right. Let them cool completely, and then let them get cold in the fridge.
I topped them with a colorful rainbow whipped cream, signifying the wonderful Rangoli colors that are present in this time, with a touch of edible gold leaf to make it look extra festive! Diwali is all about color, lights, happiness, new beginnings, and these mini cheesecakes that actually look like pretty diyas, signify just that and so much more! These cheesecakes would be a hit at any small gathering and bring joy to your peoples! My family loved this so much, it got over pretty much in 2 days! They are small and poppable and adorable!
I hope you get to make these cute cheesecakes, and that it brings joy to your home, as it did to mine. Stay safe, healthy and happy this Diwali! Wishing you and your families a wonderful Diwali and Saal Mubarak!
All my love,
Masala Doodh Mini Cheesecakes
MASALA MILK POWDER:
- ½ cup (70 gms) raw unsalted almonds
- ½ cup (70 gms) raw unsalted cashews
- 1/4 cup (35 gms) raw unsalted pistachios
- 8 cardamom pods
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 heaped teaspoon saffron
MASALA MILK MINI CHEESECAKES:
- 6 digestive biscuits (90 gms)
- 1/4 cup (57 gms) unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
- ¼ to ½ tsp ground cardamom
- 2 tbsp (25 gms) granulated sugar
- A pinch of salt
Cream cheese mixture:
- 12 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup (57 gms) Greek yogurt
- 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp (82.5 gms) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (55 gms) heavy cream
- 1 tbsp (8 gms) cornstarch
- 1 tbsp warm water
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp almond extract
- 3 tbsp (24 gms) masala milk powder
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- ¾ cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tbsp powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp milk powder
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- Different americolor food gel colors
- Toothpicks for different colors
- 1M Wilton Pipping Tip
- 12 inch pastry bag
- Edible gold leaf for decoration
MASALA MILK POWDER:
- 1. Grind all the ingredients in a high speed blender until fine. Remove contents into a glass jar and store for upto 3 months.
MASALA MILK MINI CHEESECAKES:
Preparing the crust:
- 1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- 2. Using a food processor, add in the digestive biscuits, granulated sugar, a pinch of salt and the ground cardamom and process until it forms a powder, about a minute.
- 3. Add in the unsalted melted butter and mix again until combined.
- 4. Put about a heapful tablespoon in each of the 12 cavities of the cheesecake pan. Distribute it equally. Using the tablespoon, press the mixture down to seal it tight.
- 5. Put the pan into the oven for 10 minutes for it to set. Remove and let cool.
Cream Cheese mixture:
- 6. In a small bowl add in the 1 tbsp water and cornstarch, mix it well until combined and set it aside.
- 7. In a medium bowl, add in the Greek yogurt, heavy cream, vanilla extract, almond extract, lemon juice, masala milk powder, combine well until smooth and set it aside.
- 8. In the bowl of a stand mixture, with a paddle attachment, add in cream cheese and whip for a minute, until it softens. Add in the granulated sugar and whip again for 30 seconds. Add in the Greek yogurt mixture into the cream cheese, and whip again for a minute. Using a rubber spatula, scrap the batter off the sides of the bowl into the center. Add in the cornstarch mixture as well, and whisk again to combine, till well incorporated.
- 9. Distribute the mixture evenly amongst all the 12 cavities of the cheesecake pan. Tap it gently for the mixture to even out.
- 10. Put it into the preheated oven at 350 degrees for exactly 16-18 minutes. NO MORE, else the cheesecake will crack and not be soft when ready to eat. It should be slightly jiggly in the center.
- 11. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
- 12. Put the cheesecake pan into the fridge for 2 hours for it to set further and get cold.
- 13. Release the cheesecake by lightly running a sharp knife around each cavity. Remove them gently from the bottom of the cheesecake pan, such as not to break the mini cheesecakes. Place them on a plate.
- 1. In a medium to large bowl, add in the heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, milk powder, vanilla extract. Using a hand held mixture, whip for 2 minutes until you get soft peaks. In a 12 inch pastry bag, cut the end off and put in the pipping tip. Secure it. Now open up the bag, and put it into a tall glass. Using a tooth pick, dip it into the food gel and line the inside of the pastry bag from bottom to the top. Repeat with different tooth picks and different food gels, all around the pipping bag. All colors should be more or less equidistant from each other.
- 2. Add in the whipped cream into the pipping bag. Slowly twist the top, push down the whipped cream. Test with a few whips on how you want to decorate your mini cheesecakes. I simply placed the pipping bag at a 90 degree angle above the mini cheesecake, and pipping it straight down to form ruffles. Lower the pressure as you come up slightly to get a fine tip on top of the cheesecake. You will see the colored streaks all around the whipped cream. Add a bit of gold leaf to each cheesecake on the whipped cream. Serve cold!
- Store in the fridge for upto a week, in an air tight container!