Somehow all festivals all over the world are never quite complete sans something sweet, purely as a tradition. If not a treat! And who am I to flout norms. Not me. I don’t want to end up in Hell. By the way, read some bumper sticker the other day – Heaven is a punishment for good deeds!
Busy festive days need ridiculously easy dessert recipes, you’d agree! I am sharing with you your Mom’s star recipe of Pistachio Kulfis. Yes, your Mom and my Mum all make it the same way back home in India. Its these modern spice goddesses (pun most definitely intended!) who mix and mash milk, banana and bread (apparently for texture and thickness) and then call it Kulfi!
But be warned this recipe and the reason (to make it) may give sharp rise in desire to get all the ingredients together and make it just this weekend!
Ingredients for Pistachio Kulfi are:
1 liter half and half cream (or you can use full cream milk in India)
1 can of sweetened condense milk (Mum always uses Milkmaid in India)
Handful of unshelled Pistachios + some for garnish
7-8 almonds, skin off
Seeds from 5-6 green cardamoms
Start with a heavy bottom pan from your kitchen. Heat the cream on medium heat and keep an eye on it.
In a blender, add the pistachios and almonds and “pulse” it, not more than 10-15 seconds. Stop. Shake all the coarsely crushed and powdered nuts into the milk along with the cardamom seeds. Stir again. I remember a Bengali Home Science teacher from school always said – Staar the milk!
Slowly add the condense milk and mix well. I do not add any sugar, as the sweetened condense milk I use here balances the sweetness. At this point, you can do your own taste test and see if your mixture needs any more sugar. Then add some.
Keep cooking the milk on low heat and see it change color. Just like the rabri you make for Ras Malai. It works if you keep a ladle dipped in the work-in-progress milk, that way the milk doesn't quickly boil over.
When the milk and cream are reduced to about less than half the original quantity, cut the heat off. By now it would have attained the coveted texture of raw silk and a color of ivory-brown! The ground pistachio and almonds give you the perfect texture, exactly what a Pistachio Kulfi should have.
Let it cool. You will notice a thick skin on the milk when it cools down, stir that in too. That’s where all the important taste lies.
Pour the mixture in Kulfi moulds, seal cap and freeze overnight. If you don’t have Kulfi moulds, use popsicle moulds or tall shot glasses. You can also stick in a bamboo stirrer/popsicle stick after about 30 minutes into freezing time in the shot glasses. That way you will have a Kulfi on a stick for grown ups who are still children at heart!
We had our Kulfis listening to this music and watching some creamy candles flicker in the darkness. Sometimes sweet memories are made of no words…