From artisanal ice creams to payasam and creme caramel: Give your desserts a boozy twist this winter

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While the charm of sipping on your preferred drink or cocktail on weekends is unparalleled, adding them to your desserts only elevates their taste. With constant experiments happening in the world of food and food experts and gastronomes introducing a new dish to the world every day, combining different flavours and ingredients, it’s time you tried your hand at creating a fusion of desserts and alcohol. And what better time than winters! Food connoisseurs and chefs break it down for us!

Creme Caramel with a twist, anyone?

Chef and food consultant Shailendra Kekade, who created whiskey-infused Creme Caramel, says, whiskey is strong liquor and one needs to be extremely sure of the quantity while using it for dessert. “The trick lies in the balance and keeping it subtle, so that teetotallers don’t find it too overwhelming while trying the dessert. Explaining dessert, Shailendra says, “It is a simple vegetarian dessert made with semolina, wheat, caramel, sugar and cream, Turkish figs, thyme pureed with whiskey and topped with a brown sugar creme caramel.”

The Pune-based chef says, “The alcohol is used at two levels during the preparation. Firstly the alcohol is used while making the caramel. Next, the figs are soaked in the whiskey overnight and then blended with thyme. It is used as a base on the plate and then the creme caramel is placed on the top. So when you are biting into the dessert you are eating the granular form of fig which gives the caramel some texture.” To add a more crunchy texture, the chef has also created a cage of caramel to cover the dish.

Get Tipsy with this ice cream

Priyanka and Zoravar Sachdev, the couple who own Two Mad Cookks at NIBM, have been making Tipsy Tub, boozy ice creams served in a tub. The special ice-cream is a fusion of red velvet and cream cheese ice cream mixed with vodka.


Artisanal ice-creams and sorbets
There are certain foods that actually give you better results when added with alcohol such as whiskey, vodka, rum, wines, and beers. “Boozy Christmas plum cake, eggnog, wine poached pears, vodka-soaked sponges, tiramisus, etc, they all have some kind of alcohol in them and they all taste amazing,” says Akshay Bhagwat, chef director at Eatally.

However, choosing the right kind of alcohol for your dessert is extremely important, especially, when making a dessert that has milk in it. “Just adding a random amount of alcohol isn’t going to give you the desired results. Food is chemistry and should be respected in a way. For example, ice-creams. The water present in the ice-cream is never completely frozen in an ice-cream and when you add alcohol in the mixture freezing point depresses much further and makes for much smoother ice cream, but it is difficult to set. Add in too much and your ice cream will never set!” he cautions. Chef Bhagwat suggests that Pink Champagne Sorbet is a great option to try.


Chef Bhagwat lists down desserts you can infuse alcohol with:
Rum wali tender coconut water payasam

Inspired by the classic from Kerala, renowned chef, Piyush Menon gave the dessert, which is made with tender coconut water, a Western twist by turning it into a pudding and adding some rum to it. Menon says, “This pudding has a very subtle and light texture on the palate with very few components like tender coconut water, tender coconut meat/cream/malai, milk, sugar, and a final twist which is rum. We choose the Goan liquor because it has a blend of white rum and coconut extract, which gives it a beautiful flavour profile with subtle hints of coconut. It complements the mild tender coconut flavour along with the creaminess of the tender coconut meat and the garnish of toasted coconut shavings and roasted cashews. The dessert is not much on the sweeter side in order to maintain the balance of all the mild flavours.”

It’s also important to infuse the alcohol in the right way. Explaining the recipe further, Menon continues, “In this dessert , the Goan rum- infused with the tender coconut meat and ground into a coarse paste which is then mixed with milk, sugar, tender coconut water and (China grass) mixture which has been reduced to half.”

Adding rum to the milk can be tricky and the milk can get cracked or curdled if adding to boiling milk. “The milk may crack and the heat can evaporate the alcohol and its flavour. Hence it’s important to infuse the alcohol at room temperature medium and then amalgamate it into the dessert when it’s not in the cooking process. This pudding takes a couple of hours to set and should be served or eaten chilled.

Things to keep in mind while making an alcohol-infused dessert:

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