Saturday, July 21, 2012

Indian Cheesecakes in Rose Pistachio Cream, aka Ras Malai

   This hasn't been my favorite summer. With all the family stuff afoot there hasn't been a  whole lot of entertaining going on. In fact there's been a lot less than usual. The last big dinner we had was a few weeks ago when our friends were visiting from Finland. When people come from that far away one simply has to roll out the red carpet, kill the fatted whatever and break out a really special dessert. I thought about a number of possibilities. I wanted something sweet but not too sweet, rich but not too rich. The weather was hot so no frying, an no baking would be good, and I wouldn't kick "make ahead" out of bed for eating crackers.

   Ras Malai, a Bengali dessert of  small lightly poached cheese patties seemed to be perfect. Of course to be really authentic it would mean making a batch of paneer cheese, and I wasn't up for the trouble that would take. I'd read some recipes where ricotta cheese was used instead, as a sort of light, easy, substitute. Light you say? Easy? I was in. As it turned out there was a sale on Ricotta cheese. Ras Malai it was going to be.

   The idea of  trying to make anything formed out of ricotta cheese that would keep it's shape were slim to none. When I make Italian cheesecakes, usually a bit of flour is used as a binder. The Ras Malai recipes I had looked at, suggested that cream of wheat would be a good addition to the flour and help these things keep their shape during the poaching.

The last time I'd tried poaching anything, the results weren't so very pretty. There had been the Floating Island debacle of two years ago. There was that.

And that.

And yes, I know what they look like. Moving on, I decided I would not like to repeat that adventure. I wanted these little patties to hang together without looking like horse puckies. And, so they did.

Ricotta Patties In Rose Cream, Sauce

Here's What You Need:

One 15oz container of ricotta cheese
1/2 cup and 1 Tbs of sugar
1/4 cup of flour
2 cups of water
2 Tbs and 1 tsp of quick cooking cream of wheat
Seeds from 5 green cardamom
1 and 1/2 tsp of rose water
1/2 cup of whipping cream
A small handful of finely chopped pistachios

Here's What To Do:

Mix together 1 cup of sugar and 2 cups of water in a deep pan or skillet.
Stir until all the sugar is dissolved, and it comes to a boil.
Turn down the heat, put a lid on things and simmer it all for about 10 minutes.
Mix the flour, cream of wheat, and ricotta together into a dough.

Knead it for about 10 minutes.

I found that I needed to add a bit more cream of wheat to make things stick together. It didn't seem to hurt anything. Use your judgement because it's important that these cheese patties don't dissolve while they're poaching.

Roll the cheese mix into about 2 dozen small balls.
Place a single cardamom seed into the center of each ball.

Press it in and then shape the balls into patties.
I made mine on the flat side so that they'd poach through.

Poach the patties in groups in the sugar syrup, 5 minutes on one side, then flip them and cook them another 4 minutes.

As they cook, pull them out of the syrup and stick them in a serving bowl.
When all the cheese patties have been poached, turn up the heat and boil down the sugar syrup to 1 cup.
Add in the rose water.

Pour the syrup over the cheese in the bowl.

In a small pot add 1 Tbs of sugar to 1/2 cup of whipping cream.
Bring the cream to a boil then take it off the heat. Let it cool thoroughly.
Pour the cream sauce over the cheese patties.

Mix everything together so that the flavors combine and all the cheese patties are covered.
Put a lid on the bowl and keep it in the fridge overnight.
To serve it up, put 2 cheese patties in each bowl and spoon cream sauce over them.
Sprinkle pistachios over the top and serve them up!

   Cool, refreshing, aromatic, and lightly chewy, these cheese patties are just the creamy taste that's perfect after an Indian feast. This can be made 2 days ahead of whenever it's going to be served, so that's an added benefit. The way I look at it, the last thing I want to worry about the day of a dinner party is what dessert's going to be.

   Coming up next I get on the 5 minutes ice cream bandwagon. What, you've never heard of 5 minute ice cream?? Yes, it's really ice cream and yes it's really 5 minutes no kidding. Follow along on Twitter @kathygori


  1. lovely- the fresh and clean blend of flavours in the rasmalai is inviting

  2. That is a great idea to roll out the red carpet! I love that rose flavor infused here.

  3. Been looking for a rasmalai recipe for ages - every one I've made has fallen apart. Can't wait to try yours!

    1. If you try this remember you can add extra cream of wheat as I did to make it hang together

  4. Oh, so they actually have their own version of cheesecakes. I'm going to study their recipe, and I will offer them in my wholesale desserts business.



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