My undying love for Nolen Gur (Date Palm Jaggery) is widely known in my circle. I can devour nolen gur with astonishing impunity on any given day, at any given time of the year. But sadly for all my love and obsession, nolen gur raises its head only in peak winter (‘Peak’ is a funny choice of word when you’re talking about Calcutta winters!). So my frantic consumption of nolen gur in every form becomes rampant in the months of December and January — Nolen Gurer Shondesh, Roshogolla, Makha Shondesh, Paatishapta, Ice cream, Mousse, Souffle and what have you! I have made the occasional Paayesh using nolen gur in the past but never had I used it in full-fledged cooking/baking.
With my ongoing Christmas series a Gingerbread was an absolute must. Truth be told, I’m not much of a ginger fan, especially in desserts. I find the taste too overpowering for my liking. I have always consciously steered clear of ginger-based sweet treats, which have not surprisingly included gingerbreads. I don’t even know how an authentic gingerbread should taste like and I was sure if I made a big batch of gingerbread, a large chunk of it might go waste. So I decided to fusion-bake it with a generous doze of nolen gur. That way I would be able to relish my share of nolen gur and not get offended by the gingery-ness of the gingerbreads. And I’ll tell you what? These turned out to be absolutely mind-boggling. Again, I’m not claiming authenticity but this version of the hit of ginger being blended by the smoothness of the jaggery suited my palate to the hilt.
Makes 12 slices
Flour: 1 1/3 cup
Butter, roughly cut into small cubes: 4 tbsp
Brown sugar: 1/2 cup
Boiling water: 3/4 cup
Nolen Gur : 2/3 cup (You can also use any kind of molasses)
Ginger powder: 2 tsp
Cinnamon powder: 1 tsp
Baking powder: 1 tsp
Baking soda: 3/4 tsp
Salt: 1/2 tsp
1 In a bowl sift the flour, salt and baking powder and soda. Add the ginger and cinnamon powder, mix and set aside.
2 In another bigger bowl, add butter, brown sugar and nolen gur. Pour boiling water over it and mix thoroughly till the butter melts and sugar and gur disslove. Once the mixture is lukewarm, whisk in the egg.
3. Now gradually add the dry ingredients in the liquid mixture and fold in till well incorporated. Do it in 3 rounds preferably.
4. In the meantime, preheat oven to 180°C and line a square baking tray with parchment and butter the sides.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 32-35 minutes till golden on top and a tester comes out clean.
6 Allow it to cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes before unmoulding it. Slice into squares and serve warm. You can serve a little bit of molten nolen gur on the side, but it really doesn’t need any accompaniment. It’s brilliant as it is!
Kickstarting Christmas: Day 6