Burfi is an easily made Indian sweet, something like fudge, but a million times better. There are no crystals of sugar to grate in your mouth, just a creamy smoothness that will float you up to heaven. Although it has an outrageous amount of butter, the other ingredients are reasonably healthy, so the guilt factor is more than halved when comparing this sweet to actual fudge, which is lacklustre in comparison.
This recipe takes less than half an hour to make, and another couple of hours to chill in the fridge. This amount makes about 48 pieces. It is rich, very rich, so keep the pieces small. But just try to resist having more than one!
1 cup butter
4 green cardamom pods
1 cup besan (chick pea) flour (available in Indian aisle of big groceries, and Indian groceries)
1 tin (almost 2 cups) plain evaporated milk (not the sweet stuff!)
1 ½ cups jaggery powder, or any available raw brown sugar
½ cup good quality white chocolate chunks
2 to 3 drops rosewater
¼ cup same white chocolate chunks and ¼ cup almonds for topping
|Leave some identifiable chunks of almond and chocolate.|
Before starting to cook, put the topping ingredients into a blender and whir to a combo of finely and fairly finely chopped. You still want to see some pieces of almond and chocolate, and not have just an unidentifiable powder. Also line a 9x9 inch pan with parchment paper. Have all of your ingredients ready and on standby. Once you start cooking, you must stay with the pot, so organization is critical here!
In a large, heavy pot, begin melting butter on medium heat. This is the only point in the recipe when you can turn aside and quickly perform the next step of husking and grinding the cardamom pods. If you can’t do it fast, do it before hand!
The pods must be ground to a fine powder. You can buy ground cardamom powder, but it won’t taste as heavenly, so invest in a mortar and pestle if you don’t yet have one. This recipe alone makes buying one well worth it.
Add the cardamom powder to the butter and stir with a big wooden spoon. At this point you could slightly brown the butter for extra nutty flavour, but it’s not necessary.
|When the milky besan thickens up, add sugar.|
Add the besan flour all at once and start stirring. This is the kind of recipe you can’t wander away from, or the besan will scorch. Cleaning scorched besan is a task, so focus! Keep stirring!
The besan and butter mixture will slightly darken after about five minutes of continuous stirring. Add the tinned plain milk. Now you really can’t wander off. You must stay and stir till the mixture thickens, much like Jello pudding would do. Thick and bubbly. This will take another three or four minutes.
Stir in the jaggery powder or raw sugar, whatever is on hand. For one batch I used jaggery, for several others I used the raw, organic coconut sugar sold at a certain giant big box store. Stirring remains the focus of the remainder of your time with this dessert.
|Not alive yet...|
After about seven minutes, the confection will start to feel almost alive, clinging to the wooden spoon. You will see the butter just beginning to separate. Keep stirring, till like in the famous Frankenstein movie, you, as the creator, want to cry out “It’s alive!” The mass will become almost rubbery, and determined to lovingly cling to your wooden spoon, cringing as it fears the sides of the pot. Take it off the heat and stir in the white chocolate and rosewater drops. The chocolate will melt and become invisible, but the taste and silkiness will remain.
Plop it into the parchment lined pan. It’s still very hot, so use a knife or spatula to spread it.
Sprinkle the white chocolate and almond pieces over the top and gingerly start pressing the topping into the now warm burfi. As you press the pieces into the top, you can smooth it out as much as you like.
Refrigerate for a couple of hours, lift out by the parchment, and slice into pretty pieces.
The buttery smoothness, the flavourful silkiness, the fragrant sweetness, oh my. Oh my. I’ll confess to eating entirely too much of this, rationalizing all the while that it is made out of chick peas and raw, organic sugar. Let's see if you can resist!
|Cut into about 48 little pieces to discourage greediness. Ha! Go ahead and eat all of them.|
Recipe adapted fromycooks.com/basan-ki-barfi