Two Delicious Desserts Inspired By Heirloom Recipes

Equal parts inventive and dependable, a great recipe can evoke cherished memories or transport you to somewhere new and thrilling with just a handful of familiar ingredients. And some of the best recipes are those family favourites that are kept close and passed down, unchanged, from generation to generation. 
With this in mind, we asked two food enthusiasts to look at their beloved family recipes with fresh eyes, and update them with a modern twist to create standout new desserts that will comfort and delight — because we can all use more of both right now.
Here are two sweet recipes, made with fresh Ontario dairy, and the remarkable stories behind them.

Fijian-Style Mint Chip Ras Malai

by Phelisha Cassup
For as long as she can remember, Phelisha Cassup’s Nani (her maternal grandmother) has been making homemade ras malai, an Indian chilled dessert made with whole milk, for special occasions. “My family's from Fiji, but we are Indian Fijian so a lot of the food that we make was brought from India to Fiji,” says Cassup, a Toronto-based beauty and lifestyle blogger.  
According to Cassup, the cold, milky treat is traditionally served at celebratory events like weddings and large family gatherings. “Ras malai is very complicated to make, so it's a treat when we do have it,” she explains. “It is one of my favourite desserts, one of my mom's favourite desserts, and one of my Nani's favourite desserts as well.”
Mint Chip Ras Malai, Cassup’s adaptation of her Nani’s classic recipe, uses mint syrup and grated dark chocolate in place of saffron and pistachio to create a “mint chip ras malai” that deliciously combines her favourite Western ice-cream flavour with the sweet-milk dessert’s dreamy texture. 
Like the original, this is not a recipe that can be rushed. But the results will be worth the effort, and are sure to become the highlight of a memorable meal. “In my family's culture, things are cooked slowly, we eat together, and food is not just about eating, it's about a whole experience,” says Cassup. 


Dark Chocolate
Clotted Cheese:
4 L of Full Fat Milk
1-2 Tbsp Lemon juice
Sugar Syrup:
5 Cups Water
1 Cup Brown sugar
¼ Tsp Mint (or to taste)
Milk Syrup:
½ Condensed milk
1 Can Evaporated milk
4 Tsp Sugar syrup


1. For the clotted cheese, boil 4 L of milk, bring it to a bubbling boil (the milk and water will start to separate).
2. Turn it to low heat and add lemon juice.
3. The cheese will start to curdle, when you start seeing clumps take it off the stove
4. Strain the cheese curdles in cheesecloth and a bowl of very cold water.
5. Wash it in the cold water so it doesn’t taste like lemon.
6. For the sugar syrup, boil the water and sugar until the sugar is dissolved, add mint to taste.
7. Soak the cheese curds in the sugar syrup, for a few hours or over night.
8. For the milk syrup, mix ½ can of condensed milk and 1 can of evaporated milk with a few teaspoons of the sugar syrup (however sweet you want it.
9. Soak the cheese curds in the milk syrup, overnight.
10. Top with shredded dark chocolate.

Dark Chocolate Fudge Pudding with Sea Salt

by Dee Thomson
Dee Thomson, a travel and lifestyle blogger who lives in Stoney Creek, ON, has kept a photo of her Nana’s fudge pudding cake recipe on every phone she’s had over the last 10 years — the original recipe card is with her father in Costa Rica. 
“This recipe has been in my family for years,” says Thomson, who loves to bake and has many fond memories of the decadent, chocolatey dessert from her childhood. “It was a treat that I would get to make with my dad whenever it was a special event, or we just wanted to do a little something special after dinner.” 
For her modern take on Nana’s pudding cake, Thomson wanted to create a dessert even more indulgent, but slightly less sweet, than the original. “I wanted to add dark chocolate to keep away from the real sugary sweetness [of cocoa], and to add a rich, almost molten lava cake feel to the dish,” says Thomson. “I also added a little sea salt for a bit of a twist on the flavour, and some whipped cream on top to really finish it off.” 
Don’t have any whipped cream handy? You can also simply top off this dark chocolate fudge pudding with a refreshing layer of milk. “That's kind of the finishing touch that we always did growing up,” recalls Thomson. “We would actually pour a little cold milk right over the cake, just to cool everything down and make it a beautiful mess.”


Chocolate Fudge Pudding:
1 Cup All purpose flour
2 Tsp Baking powder
½ Cup sugar
¼ Tsp Salt
2 Tbsp Cocoa
2/3 Cup Milk
2 Tbsp Vegetable oil
½ Tsp Vanilla extract
½ Cup Dark chocolate, chopped
¾ Cup Brown sugar
1 ¾ Cups Boiling water
Sea salt (for topping)
Fresh Whipped Cream:
1 Cup Cold whipping cream
2 Tbsp Sugar
½ Tsp Vanilla extract


1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
2. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and 2 tbsp of cocoa.
3. Make a well in the middle and add milk, oil and vanilla. Mix well with dry ingredients. Add in dark chocolate and stir to combine, then spread evenly in an 8 x 8 square pan.
4. Combine brown sugar and ½ cup of cocoa and sprinkle over batter. 6The 5. Carefully pour boiling water on top, using a large spoon to deflect the water from hitting the batter directly.
6. Bake for 45 minutes or until cake springs back when touched. Do not cook it all the way through; there should be some runny pudding underneath. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly (you’ll be serving it warm).
7. While baking, prepare whipped cream. Combine whipping cream, 2 tbsp of sugar and vanilla extract. Use a hand or stand mixer to whip this on medium-high speed until soft peaks form (about 3-4 minutes). Cover and store in the fridge.
8. Serve in small bowls or ramekins. Top with a pinch of sea salt and a dollop of whipped cream before serving.


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