Most celebrations in India aren't complete without some kind of burfi or pedha. Both are different kinds of fudge, generally flavored with fruits, nuts, chocolate etc. - burfi in the form of cubes, while pedha as little balls. One of my favorites is malai burfi, especially the one we used to get from a store near our home called ‘Jagruti Sweets’. The fresh burfi used to be so soft that we couldn't cut it into pieces, and had to eat with a spoon….yummm. I've experimented a lot to get the same taste and texture using ricotta cheese and milk powder, but the best result I've got is using paneer! Paneer is a type of curd cheese very common in Indian cuisine. It is easily available at any Indian grocery store or can be made at home by curdling hot milk using lemon juice, yogurt or vinegar. Here's the quick and easy recipe for this delicious dessert.
~400g. sweetened condensed milk (1 can)
1/3 cup milk
250g. finely grated paneer (Fresh homemade paneer works best since its super soft, but I’ve used store bought frozen paneer as well and got good results)
1 tsp ghee or clarified butter (optional) – can be found in Indian grocery stores.
1 tsp cardamom powder
saffron strands, chopped almonds and pistachios for garnishing (optional)
1. Combine the sweetened condensed milk, grated paneer and milk in a non-stick pan.
2. Bring to a boil while stirring continuously on medium-high heat.
3. Once the mixture starts to thicken (~10 minutes), add ghee (if using) along the sides of the pan.
4. Add cardamom powder, saffron strands and chopped nuts.
5. Keep stirring until the mixture starts to move as one mass.
6. Take the pan off the heat and transfer the mixture to a tray/container. Press lightly to flatten. Garnish with more saffron strands and nuts.
No refrigeration is required for the burfi to set, however let it cool for a half hour if you’re trying to cut a piece. I usually just dig in with a spoon :). If you have leftover burfi for the next day, store it in the refrigerator.