Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Where I Go Coconut Burfi Crazy


I should know better by now. I shouldn't look at tempting food blogs after a certain hour of the evening. Mainly, before I go to bed. I see something that makes my mouth water and then all night long I'm tossing and turning and thinking about whatever delectable thing has paraded itself across my computer screen. What am I talking about specifically...well, Sanjana and her Burfi.
It all started with a simply insane description of all sorts of tasty desserts she enjoyed at a restaurant in London. I'm talking big melting color close ups of mind bending food porn! I had to have it, like now!
The good thing about having a well stocked larder is that I have almost everything on hand. I've made Burfi before, but not for a while.
So, what is Burfi? Well, it's a sort of Indian fudge is what it is. And this Indian classic is about as simple, straightforward and easy to make as that American classic. I'd made burfi before, and almost always the recipe that I'd used involved powdered dry milk.However I was after something different here, and I've got to confess that the main reason was..I was out of powdered dry milk. Yes, the woman who bragged about her well stocked pantry, was out of powdered dry milk. And to be perfectly frank here, ok I wasn't exactly out. I had the dry milk, but it was really really really really old. Tell me you can't relate.
So why didn't I just go out and buy more. It was raining hard all day yesterday and I was too lazy. But, I still wanted my burfi. Where to find a burfi recipe that didn't involve dry milk? The internets were full of them. In fact, none of the many basic coconut burfi recipes that I came across involved any dried milk at all. Just water, sugar, coconut and cardamom. Check, check, and double check. I had all that!
One issue for me is I have terrible luck combining sugar and water. Caramelizing and I just don't get along. I had a really unfortunate experience with a Bangalor style sweet that I won't even discuss here. My friend Paula Wolfert told me that my problem was a lack of copper cookware. Turns out that copper is essential in heating sugar and water and getting a proper texture. Paula was good enough to lend me a copper pot that she wasn't using and I was off to the soft ball sugar races.

The first thing that I did was heat :
1.) 1 cup of sugar
2.) 1/2 cup of water
I whisked it well to blend it in, then kept it on a medium heat till the mixture thickened and reached what they call the "soft-ball" stage. This entire process took about 20 minutes or so.
Then I added in :
3.) 2 cups of grated dried unsweetened coconut and
4.) 1/2 tsp of ground cardamom
I stirred it all up until it pulled away from the sides of the pot and got stiff. Then I poured it all into a pyrex dish that I had lined with buttered foil. I buttered the foil so that I wouldn't have messy clean up after. When the Burfi has cooled, cut it into squares and put the squares into an airtight container for storage. Or, you can do what we did, which was pig out.

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