Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Kesar pista sandesh- saffron scented cheese fudge

I am back with another sweet treat!! This is my third recipe in a row with Saffron. This is a definite Hat trick. Isn't it?

Sandesh or Sondesh is a soft melt in the mouth fudge made of fresh cheese. This cheese fudge is a gift from Bengal, the Eastern state of India. Unlike the Sweets of the western parts of India, Bengali sweets are made with curdled milk or chenna. For Bengalis, no celebration is complete without Shondesh. I recently read that, this sweet treat is also called as the "Pranhaara" which means the heart stealer. 

The word "Sandesh" has a clear meaning. It means news. As this fudge is an integral part of the Bengali festivities and jubilation, Sandesh became the bearer of good news creating an atmosphere of merriment and celebration in all Bengali households.

I would be lying if I said that I grew up eating Sandesh. As a matter of fact, I tasted Sandesh only a couple of months back. And that too by accident. It was an unusually hot day and I found myself with a large quantity of curdled milk. I usually end up making Paneer when something like this happens. But I was in an adventurous mood on that day and I decided to try Sandesh. And the cheese fudge was ready before I knew it. After that, I decided that I would make this delightful fudge for Dassehra. I did make it as well. But then I couldn't post it because of my unexpected trip to India. It's sad that I couldn't post the recipe for Dassehra or Diwali. However, this fudge doesn't need any special occasion. For Sandesh can turn any occasion a special one.

Kesar pista Sandesh:
Preparation time: 25min+draining time
Cooking time- 10-15min
Makes- 15-20pieces

Milk- 2ltrs
Juice of two lime
Confectioners sugar-1/2 cup
Saffron-10-15 strands soaked in 1/2 a teaspoon of milk
Cardamom- 6-7 pods finely powdered.
Ghee- a teaspoon for greasing.
Shelled pistachios: 8-10, sliced

  • Heat milk in a thick bottomed pan and bring to a boil. Keep stirring the milk so that the milk doesn'the burn. Allow the milk to simmer for a minute before taking off the heat.
  • Let the milk to cool for two to three minutes before adding the lime juice gradually a teaspoon at a time. Once the milk is curdled, you will see the milk solids and the whey separate.
  • Line a colander with two layers of cheese cloth and set it down in the kitchen sink. Pour the curdled milk into the cheese cloth lined colander. Gather the edges of the cloth in your hands and squeeze out the whey. 
  • Gently rinse the milk solids under running water so that the sour taste from the lemon juice is removed. Tie the ends of the cheese cloth to the kitchen faucet and allow the cheese to drain for about 30mins to an hour.
  • Unwrap the drained chenna and transfer it to a clean plate/tray or a work surface. Knead the chenna with the heal of your palms for 10-12min or till smooth. Add the sugar, saffron mixture and the cardamom powder and knead for 3-4mins more.
  • Transfer the chenna mixture to a thick bottomed pan or wok and cook over low heat while mixing continuously. 
  • Continue mixing till you see the chenna leaving the sides of the pan. This will take abut 10-12mins. Ensure that the mixture is not completely dry. The mixture should be a little moist.
  • Take the chenna mixture off the heat and allow it to cool slightly. Divide the mixture into 15-20 portions. Grease your hands with a little ghee and shape each portion into a ball and flatten it slightly with your palms. 
  • Garnish with sliced pistachios and serve immediately or Store in an airtight container and refrigerate and consume within two days of making it.


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