One of my favorite Indian desserts is sweet milk fudge. There are a few ways of making this treat, most of which involve cooking either milk or milk powder up close and personal for quite a while. Bring a stool and some Crocs if you're planning this. The other involves the use of chenna cheese, not always an easily found commodity here in Sonoma. I prefer to make my own. The process is pretty easy and the addition of sweetener turns it into chenna cheese. However when the fudge jones hits, there's not always time or patience available to bother with making chenna cheese. Which is where I found myself the other day with friends (one of whom is gluten free) coming over for a movie night, not a whole lot of time and definitely no chenna cheese on hand. This is where internet rumor comes in.
You know those stories always circulating out there. Stuff that sends one scurrying to Snopes.com to check them out. Well there's been one around for a while now that Barfi, the delicious Indian dessert can be made easily and quickly in a microwave, and without any chenna cheese. I'd been reading versions of this technique for a while now and had been waiting for the opportunity to try it. According to internet lore, barfi could be whipped up in a microwave in about 20 minutes or less simply using ricotta cheese as a sub for chenna. It sounded impossible but I was intrigued, plus I had everything necessary for the recipe right in my pantry. It can't get easier than that.
Of course I backed myself up with all the ingredients to make ice cream just in case the rumors of perfect instant barfi were about as real as the End of the Mayan Calendar. The rumors I'm happy to report, turned out to be correct. Barfi can be made fast and easily.
Almond Pistachio Barfi
Here's What You Need:
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1 16 oz container of ricotta
1/2 tsp of rose water
1/4 tsp of ground cardamom
2 Tbs finely chopped pistachios
2 Tbs finely chopped almonds
Here's What To Do:
Mix the ricotta and condensed milk together well.
Pour the mixture into a microwave safe bowl.
Cook the mixture in the microwave uncovered for 5 minutes.
While it's cooking, chop the pistachios and almonds and set them aside.
When the 5 minutes have passed, take the ricotta and condensed milk out and mix it up well.
Pop it back in the microwave for 3 minutes uncovered.
Whip it up again.
Pop it back in for another 2 minutes covered.
Whip it some more.
It will start to darken and thicken as you whip it.
Put it back in for another 2 minutes partially covering the bowl.
Whip it up again.
Micowave it for another 6 minutes.
Take it out of the microwave every 3 minutes, give at a good stirring then pop it back in again.
When it's finished, give it another good stirring, and add in the 1/4 tsp of ground cardamom and 1/2 tsp of rose water. Mix them in well.
Pour the mixture into a lightly buttered square pan.
Press it down well and flatten it.
Sprinkle the top with the ground pistachios and almonds.
Press them in well.
Cover the pan and either chill it in the fridge for a hour to set, or set it out on a counter for a few hours.
When you are ready to serve cut it into squares.
Serve it with a nice cup of chai.
So how does the barfi made in a microwave stack up next to conventionally made barfi? Besides being fast, and easy? It tasted just as good and was a perfect dessert to whip up in a hurry. As long as you can get your pie-hooks on some ricotta and sweetened condensed milk, you're golden. I'm definitely going to be doing this again, with experimenting with different flavors and nuts.
Now I have to add here that we had another feature after the film and before the dessert. Our friend Chip brought over a selection of artisanal liquors.
This is when he acquired the hooch. The Hooker's House Corn Liquor in the jar also known as White Lightening is from a small local company called Prohibition Spirits and was a gift from us. He wanted to share this bounty with his friends, so he brought it all over to our house. Shots were poured, and people sampled. I was an observer.
Chip said he would demonstrate the purity of the Corn Liquor. The next thing I knew he was pouring it into the jar lid and and setting it on fire on my dining room table.
I felt as though I had stepped into a scene from Lawless.
It seems the old saying is true. You can take the boy out of The Holler but you can't take The Holler out of the boy.
Finally, if you want a chance to win a Masala Dabba (spice box) from GitaDiniUSA
The spice box they sent me is very cool and I think anyone who enjoys cooking would love it.
Just follow me on Twitter @kathygori and them @GitaDiniUSA and leave a comment letting me know. I'll be drawing a winner on Jan 31st. Coming up next, a quick soup and treats for Superbowl Sunday and Oscar crowds.