In the plate: Sinful Barfi &
Fuits of Physalis for those, who do not want to indulge :)
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
250 g. Mascarpone cheese
1 cup sunflower seeds
2 tbsp unsalted, shelled pistachios
4 tbsp soft brown sugar (White sugar should be fine too.)
Seeds from 20 cardamom pods
1 tsp cinnamon powder (I used store-bought.)
Some butter to grease the dish
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
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.
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.
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...)