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Spices for Every Occasion

Contrary to popular belief, spiced desserts can be eaten all-year round, and not just during the festive seasons. Here are five desserts to give you spice and everything nice on any occasion!

When we think about spiced desserts, the image of festive occasions often comes to mind – from Christmas to Diwali, and everything in between. We might hang freshly baked gingerbread men off tinsel-wrapped Christmas trees, eat tang yuan in ginger syrup on the day of Winter Solstice with our families, and make cardamom-infused gajar ka halwa for Diwali.

There’s no disputing the fact that spiced desserts are especially fit for lighting up these equally jazzed up times of the year. But that does not mean spice season and eating delicious desserts have to end. When there is a will, there is certainly a way. We round up five desserts to keep our celebratory seasons alive all-year round.

1. GAJAR KA HALWA

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While the West has carrot-cake topped with rich cream cheese frosting and Singapore has savoury chai tow kway, this North-Indian grated carrot dessert only adds to the vast array of delicious carrot-based (and turnip-based) dishes available. A festive sweet more commonly associated with Diwali, gajar ka halwa certainly presents itself as celebratory. Clothed in vibrant orange and spiced with cardamom, Zaffron Kitchen takes its Gajar Ka Halwa to the next level, with its smooth, velvety texture and buttery sweet flavour. You might actually forget that you are eating carrots galore!

For more information visit zaffronkitchen.com 

2. GULAB JAMUN

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For anyone with an extra sweet tooth, we say skip the waffles and ice cream and icing-glazed doughnuts and go for gulab jamun. These balls of solid milk and flour are deep fried and served in a sugar syrup infused with rose water and spices like cardamom and saffron. The Banana Leaf Apolo’s version of Gulab Jamun is no exception, with punchy cardamom, fragrant rose syrup, and a pillowy texture.

For more information visit thebananaleafapolo.com

3. KUEH LAPIS

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A familiar treat in Singapore during the festive seasons, this buttery Indonesian layered cake is a prime dessert for afternoon tea on any day. Commonly made with spekkoek blend – a mix of spices like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and cardamom – this kueh is not only pleasant in aroma but delightful in taste. As part of their signature range, Bengawan Solo’s Kueh Lapis is a forerunner in preserving the heritage of this traditional cake. Rich and delicate, the cake makes a perfect accompaniment to any teatime drink. Just beware the butterfingers!

For more information visit bengawansolo.com.sg

4. SPICED-PEAR ICE CREAM

Often cooked in cinnamon and a combination of other spices including cloves, ginger and nutmeg, spiced pear is a dessert that evokes the warmth of Christmas. And while you might be thinking a pear doused in spices does not sound like much of a dessert, the two make for an extremely versatile pairing – from spiced pear crumble and cake to cocktail and cider, and in the case of Birds of Paradise, ice cream. Honeyed with the taste of sweet pear, the shop’s Spiced Pear flavour is the perfect cold dessert for any blazing Singapore day. We recommend taking your scoop of ice cream to-go atop their signature thyme-infused cone.

For more information visit birdsofparadise.sg 

5. TANG YUAN IN GINGER SOUP

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When Winter Solstice and Chinese New Year roll around, so does tang yuan, glutinous rice balls filled with a variety of pastes made from black sesame and red bean. As round as the fullest of moons, tang yuan can also be prepared in different forms – deep-fried or dunked in syrup or soup – and presents itself in a milky white or dyed in bright colours. 75 Ah Balling’s tang yuan is soft and silky, filled and oozing with luscious sesame, red bean or peanut paste. We, of course, recommend having yours in the shop’s Ginger Soup, with the ginger’s spicy warmth mellowed by the soup’s refreshing sweetness.

For more information visit 75ahballing.com

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Rachael Koh

Editorial Intern

A lover of food and language, she writes with the hopes of combining the two. Her food adventures probably began when her grandfather paid her fifty dollars to eat a fried cricket.

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