Fudging the basics... basic ricotta fudge and applications thereof!
My initial idea was to call this post 'Eating your mistakes' but it turned out to be such a delicious deviation of intended results, I just did not have the heart to tag it as such.
It started out with the intention of making a beloved bengali dessert the 'Sandesh'. My memory cells are pretty much swamped by gustatory inputs about classics like 'Rosgolla' & Cham Cham, that I do not have many memories about the third in the triumverate of Bengali sweets. So I turned to a classic bengali food blog, The Bong Moms cookbook and sure enough, came across this elegant recipe for bhappa sandesh. Scrolling down the list of ingredients, mentally 'checking' off the ones I had on hand...Ricotta, condensed milk (check & check... YAAY I was on a roll here) & I flew off to try this out, entirely forgetting the remaining list of ingredients which I did not have on hand, or a serious look at the simple technique described. That was the end of the Sandesh attempt.. and after that I took off on my 'fudge', winging it as I went along.
The end result was a delicious concoction with 3 different applications (possibly more to come) along the way.
Basic Milk Fudge:
1 lb. Whole milk Ricotta Cheese
1 can condensed milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup confectioners (icing) sugar
3-4 pods cardamom, crushed
10-12 strands saffron + 1 tablespoon milk to dissolve it in
1 tablespoon corn flour mixed in 1/4 cup of milk
1/4 tsp Pure orange extract (optional)
In a food processor jar, combine the ricotta cheese, condensed milk and the icing sugar.
Process to a thick & smooth consistency. Add the heavy cream to the mix while keeping the appliance running.
Pour the mixture into a large non stick pan. Keeping the heat on low, (this is crucial, at no point should the bottom of the pan heat up enough to caramelize the sugar in the mixture) keep stirring the mixture frequently with a wooden or bamboo spoon.
Dissolve the saffron strands in the milk and add to the mixture along with the powdered cardamom.
When the liquid has reduced to half the original volume, dissolve the cornflour in 1/4 cup of milk and add to the mixture.
In about 60-90 minutes the mixture should have thickened enough that a spoon run across the bottom reveals the bottom of the pan for a goo couple of seconds before the liquid covers it up again.
At this point, you may terminate the procedure and freeze the mix in small bowls or kulfi molds to make an awesome creamy & rich Kulfi (application # 1).
|Disclaimer: these are miniature versions made with small amounts of the mix!|
Should you want to go further, continue heating the mix further on the same (maddeningly!) low heat (add the orange extract at this point) till the mixture gives up all its moisture (you can see the butterfat sizzling from the edges at this point). At this point pour (more like dropping) the mix onto a greased plate, and cut into squares to serve as is when cold, or simply scoop a tablespoon of the mix when cold, shape it into little spheres and roll in some toasted pistachio. Place into tiny paper baking cups. (application # 2)
The final application that I used this fudge for were these gorgeous tiny 'money bags' (yea, I know, the French call them 'beggars purses' but I beg to differ!).
Ricotta 'Money bags'
Phyllo pastry sheets
plenty of melted butter and a pastry brush for brushing it.
Preheat the oven to 300 F. Line a baking/cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Scoop about 1/2 - 1 tablespoon of the milk fudge and shape into little spheres as shown.
Thaw a packet of phyllo pastry dough as per instructions. Remove as many as you require (You'll get about 6 purses from one single sheet of dough). Keeping them moist under a wet kitchen towel, Cut them into squares (~ 5-6 inches sides).
Lay a sheet of phyllo on a stone surface and liberally brush with the melted butter. Place a sphere of fudge at the edge of the phyllo sheet as shown.
Roll the sheet over the fudge.
Gather the ends of the roll towards the center. pinch together and lightly twist the fringe over. Press the phyllo over the fudge to seal the dough.
Arrange the purses on the baking sheet,
and place in the preheated oven for ~ 10 minutes till the tips of the dough turn a golden brown color.
Remove from oven, allow to cool and serve at room temperature as a dessert confection as is, or with coffee.