Friday, January 14, 2011

Firni,The Most Delicious Dessert You've Never Heard Of.

    Every now and then I get obsessed with a recipe. Usually it's something I've heard about, fantasized about and of course... never made before. Like the Floating Island adventure..
   I still have to return to the Floating Island of Lost Souls. Someday. Soon. I promise. Right now though, I'm hooked on firni. Firni is a creamy Indian dessert that I first discovered in one of the old Indian cookbooks that Paula Wolfert gave me a few weeks ago. It's a cross between a kheer, or rice pudding, and a type of pot de creme. It is also a dessert with a lot of variations.
   I started doing my research and found there were almost as many ways to make firni as there are families that make firni. After a few days of reading, my head was ready to explode. Which recipe? They all looked so good, light and flavorful, the perfect dessert after a spicy Indian dinner, plus... wait for it,  it can be made in about 30 minutes (always a plus in my book). In researching firni recipes I decided to go for one that I was totally prepped for. In other words, I already had all the ingredients in my larder. No shop, no sweat. I was in.

Almond Cream Pudding

   Here's how to do it.
 Mix 2/3 cup of unsweetened almond milk with
 5 Tbs of white rice flour.
 Make sure this mixes together well, otherwise (take it from me) you'll get lumps.
Set this aside.
 In a pot or saucepan mix together:
 1 and 1/3 cup of milk
 2 cups of cream
 10 Tbs of sugar
 Mix it well together. Bring the mixture to a boil, and keep stirring so nothing sticks.
As soon as it comes to a boil turn the heat down.
 Give the almond milk and rice flour mix another stir... remember the lumps! Add it into the milk mixture stirring as you go.
Keep cooking the mixture until it thickens a bit and begins to coat the spoon.
Then keep cooking the firni a bit longer, about another 5 minutes.
Now, leave the mixture to cool. As it gets cooler it will thicken up a bit more.
Once it's cooled through add in:
 2 tsps of rose water
Pour it into individual little serving dishes and pop it into the fridge to chill.
When you are ready to serve, chop a few almond and pistachios together and sprinkle them over the top. Add a few pomegranate arils to the top of the firni and serve it up.
   Now, here's the skinny on this dessert. It's creamy. It will develop a skin on the top but it has more of a soupy kheer texture. I've made this recipe several times and that's what it is. Did I mention it's delicious??? It is. There are other types of firni with other ingredients and I'll be showing you something special (I hope) coming up next. Meanwhile I've been making this dessert all week, and of course eating it. Somebody has to do it, there are times when you've just got to eat one... or two... or three, for the team.


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