Friday, August 25, 2006

Barfi with Mascarpone Cheese & Sunflower Seeds

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In the plate: Sinful Barfi &
Fuits of Physalis for those, who do not want to indulge :)

When Katherine of Toast Point announced 'Improved Indian Dessert' as the theme for this month's FMR, I knew that I wanted to make this Barfi. I came across this recipe at the German Maggi website way back in April, and was looking for a good opportunity to try it out since then. I actually even thought of adding mango pulp to it for the first JFI event. Somehow I never came around to doing it. Now when I come to think of it, it seems to be a recipe tailor-made only for this event, because
a) the concept of this dessert (Barfi) is Indian,
b) although it is prepared with a non-traditional technique as well as non-traditional ingredients.
c) I am sure it will appeal to the western palate, or at least the German palate, because the main spice in it is cinnamon, which Germans like
d) and it has seeds & nuts, which Germans just looooooove.

I don't think, I could have come up with a more fitting entry for this event. (Ok, ok, we get the point.) I must make it clear, though, that I have used the original recipe almost unchanged. Only that I have translated it in English here, and also that I converted the measurements from 'weight' to 'cups'. It is common for every German household to have kitchen weighing scales, and hence most of the recipes on German websites and in German books are in grams. It can be rather irritating in the beginning, but the best way to tackle the issue is to buy kitchen scales. :)

Anyway, without further blah blah, let me give you the recipe for

Barfi with Mascarpone Cheese & Sunflower Seeds. (I wish I could write 'Improved' in a yellow oval with serrated edges here. The way they do on shampoo bottles, for example. :))

Makes at least 20 pieces of 0.5 cms thickness, measuring 4.5 cms x 3.5 cms

Ingredients:

250 g. Mascarpone cheese
1 cup sunflower seeds
2 tbsp unsalted, shelled pistachios
4 tbsp soft brown sugar (White sugar should be fine too.)
13 cloves
Seeds from 20 cardamom pods
1 tsp cinnamon powder (I used store-bought.)

Some butter to grease the dish

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Top row (Blue bowls) L to R: pistachios, soft brown sugar, sunflower seeds
In the plate (Clockwise from top): cinnamon sticks, cloves, cardamom
Below: Mascarpone Cheese

Method:

1. Grind the cardamom and cloves along with some of the sugar to a fine powder. Coarsely chop the pistachios.
2. Grease a shallow (preferably rectuangular) ceramic/glass dish. (The picture below might give you an idea.) Keep it aside.
3. Toast the sunflower seeds in a heavy-bottomed pan. (I used non-stick.) Once a few of them get light brown spots, add the Mascarpone cheese. Keep the heat low.
4. Add the sugar and ground spices. Stir the mixture every now and then.
5. The mixture is ready, when it moves as one mass as you try to stir it. It takes about 5 minutes to come to this stage.
6. Now pour this mixture into the prepared ceramic/glass dish. Sprinkle the chopped pistachios on it. Press the surface flat with the back of a bowl.

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Mascarpone Barfi almost ready
Needs to be pressed flat and refrigerated yet

7. Let it cool to room temperature. Then cover the dish with aluminium foil/cling film and refrigerate to set for about two hours.

After two hours, the Barfi will be set and ready to be relished. Cut it into square or any desired shapes. Serve them cool or at room temperature as dessert. I think, this Barfi should also make an interesting base for vanilla ice-cream. The way they sell ice-cream with chocolate/date fudge at restaurants in India. (Haven't seen it here in Europe.)

By the way, that reminds me of something. If you have ever been to Lonavala, the hill-station between Pune and Mumbai, and if you have eaten the fudges and chikkis there, it will help you imagine the taste and texture of this dessert. It is somewhere between the two.
80% fudge + 20% chikki = 100% satisfaction. Hehehehe....

Before we part, I'd like to pen down (but wait, I thought I was typing!) a few notes, which will also help me in future.

Notes:
1. Using sunflower seeds in a dessert was new to me. Quite exciting too. Also, I wanted to keep that 'should please the western palate' aspect in mind. However, if I am preparing this Barfi for a pucca Indian crowd next time, I'd use chopped cashews, almonds or mixed nuts instead of the seeds.
2. Also, I'd reduce the quantity of cinnamon by half and increase that of the cardamom by double.

Let me rush a mail to Katherine now...before my heavy eyelids stop me from writing any further. Bye. (Yaaaawwwn...)

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38 comments:

shammi said...

Vaish,that's BRILLIANT! I'm gonna make it, but probably with pistachip nuts :)

Cooking Memoir said...

Looks yummy and color so chocolaty. I remember trying sometime back milk burfi with ricotta chesse and it was delicious. Will dig in for the recipe and post it sometime.

You got a nice blog going.

~Usha

Cooking Memoir said...

Me again...forgot to add those chikkis used to be yum from lonavala, i have had it several times in train from Chennai to Mumbai, not sure if they differ from the ones sold in stores.

Priya said...

Barfi with mascarpone looks delicious.
Iam sure it will appeal to western tastes. Even the Americans just love cinnamon and all the nut that u have used.
what are those pretty looking orange fruits/flowers in tha plate ??

Linda said...

Oh my goodness Vaishali -- I have to leave before I copy this recipe down and make it right now. I'm just stopping long enough to beg for a teeny piece :)

payal said...

I love the ingredients in this barfi, Vaishali! So how did it taste? I'm going to have to make this soon!

shammi - what are pistachip nuts?

Madhuli said...

hey Vaishali..that's really delicious..just wanted to clarify whether I can substitute mascarpone cheese with cottage cheese..it's difficult to get mascarpone here in India...I am not even sure how it tastes :)
and I have to try this recipe so need an alternative!!
thanks for sharing this recipe.

Menu Today said...

Hi Vaishali,
I can immagine the taste by seeing it.It must be good!!! Thanks for sharing.

Vaishali said...

Shammi, I'm sure it will taste great with pistachios. Please don't forget to send me a few squares, if you make it. ;-)

Hey Usha, I too have one recipe for Barfi with Ricotta cheese. Maybe both of us have the same recipe?
And I too looooove Chikkis from Lonavala; especially the one with whole cashewnuts...mmmmmmmm. Although I have stopped eating it for a while now, because I am scared that the sticky caramel in it will pull out the numerous fillings in my teeth. :) :)

Priya, those orange ones are fruits of Physalis. I think, I'll add a link in my post too.

Linda, why just a teeny piece? Drop in at my place and I'll give you the whole batch. :)

Payal, the Barfi tasted very 'Barfi-like' with a rich, gooey, Malaidar texture. I hope you know what I mean. :)

Madhuli, I don't know what substitute we can use for Mascarpone, as the cheese itself is substitute for the Malai that they use for making Malai Barfi.
I really don't know. I hope, one of the readers can help.

The taste is indeed good, MT. I wish I could share it with you. :)

shammi said...

I see I've invented a new kind of nut here - "pistachip" *lol* Darn these typos!

Krithika said...

Vaishali, what a great recipe this is ! I love mascarpone cheese and I love burfi. What a combination ! Like Shammi I too might try it with Pistachios. Thank you so much for sharing this.

Anonymous said...

That's a delicious recipe,Vaishali.I will substitute sunflower seeds with cashews/pistachios & try it out soon for Ganesh Chaturthi.Thanks a lot for this wonderful recipe.
Kamakshi

Linda said...

The whole batch! I'll be right along... btw have you checked your email today, dear? :)

Prema Sundar said...

Using sunflower seeds in a barfi is different and nice. The recipe sounds easy to make... thanks for the recipe

Foodie's Hope said...

HAPPY GANESHA CHATHURTHI !!

Vineela said...

Hi VAISHALI,
I mean that i have taken shell of the pistachio nuts with hand but i used hot water to remove the outerlayer of the pistachio (it will be in light biscuit color) once we remove the shell.
Thanks for visiting.
Happy vINAYAKA CHAVITHI TO you and your family.
vineela

CPG said...

Hey awesome recipie ! Wunderbar ;)I`m an Indian too living in Germany,but kinnda new to the blog-o-sphere..thinking of starting my own blog !!! Exciting !!! I quite agree with you in the taste of cinnamon,these Germans use it very freely in any of their desserts espcially with Apfel..mm...the tags below your recipie was quite useful, I mean the variations for Indian/German crowd.Thanks for sharing the wonderful and innovative recipie.

Vaishali said...

Krithika, I'll feel honoured, if you try it out. :)

Did you make it for Ganesh Chaturthi, Kamakshi?

You are welcome, Prema.

To you too, Asha.

Thanks a ton for getting back on that, Vineela. I know what you mean now. Hope I can make the Doodh Peda soon.

Thanks for dropping by and letting me know about your blog, CPG. I'll check it out right away.

mandira said...

Vaishali- barfi with marcarpone cheese is something new for me... it looks so good and it has been so long since I had malai barfi... :)

Anita said...

That link for mascarpone is helpful for those like us who cannot get it here...But we can feel better overall in the mithai dept., since we can get khoya!
That barfi browned beautifully and looks rich and yummy!

Nandita said...

Hey Vaishali,
Lovely recipe...mascarpone cheese costs a BOMB here even it is STALE...so despite my wanting to make that stuff...i think I'll have to be happy just watching your pic!

Anonymous said...

Yes,I tried ur version of burfi.Results were awesome.I am sure Ganpati bappa must be pleased too.
Kamakshi

Vaishali said...

Mandira, staying away from India can really leave you *starved* in the sweets department, right? :)

Thanks for the nice words, Anita. This Barfi is indeed rich. And it grows on you. You like it more after 2-3 days.

Nandita, I thought you'd prefer just staring at the picture. With so much fat in it...

Thanks for coming back on that, Kamakshi. I am glad to hear that you like it.

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