A dessert trail

A dessert trail

While Bangladeshi desserts and sweets are predominantly served at the end of a meal, some cultures believe in serving sweets at the beginning, and then there are cultures that lack the concept of desserts completely — some just like to top off with light fruits, instead of rich sweets.

Sweets are considered auspicious, and as traditionally, we still uphold that marriage is a somewhat sacred affair, every rendezvous related to wedding matters are complemented with desserts on the side. There are matters that may not involve an elaborate dinner, but one simply cannot do without desserts!

It is easy to buy sweetmeats from renowned stores, but the following recipes will add that personal touch to the events, and gracefully show how much you care.

 

SHUFTA

A traditional Kashmiri dessert, Shufta is especially made during festivals, and marriage ceremonies.

Ingredients

½ cup almonds

½ cup cashew nuts

½ cup raisins

½ cup pistachios

½ cup walnuts

10-12 dry dates

½ cup dry coconut, cut into thin slices

½ cup cottage cheese, cut into small pieces

½ cup ghee

2 cups sugar

½ tsp cinnamon powder

½ tsp cardamom powder

½ tsp dry ginger powder

Good pinch of Saffron

2 tbsp dried rose petals

Method

Soak almonds, cashew nuts, raisins, pistachio and walnuts in enough water for 30 minutes. Soak dry dates in another bowl. Cut the soaked dates into small pieces and remove the seeds. Heat ghee in a pan. Fry the coconut till slightly browned. Remove in a plate. Fry cottage cheese pieces in the same ghee till slightly browned. Drain the water from the dry fruits and add them in the pan. Add the fried coconut. Add sugar, cinnamon powder, cardamom powder, saffron, dry ginger powder and rose petals in the pan. Cook till sugar is dissolved. Serve immediately. If making it for later use, re-heat before serving.

BEBINCA

Bebinca is a classic traditional Goan dessert, essentially a seven layered one —a pudding made with flour, eggs, sugar, coconut milk, and cardamom-nutmeg powder.

The cooking process is somewhat elaborate, but certainly worth the effort.

Ingredients

250ml thick coconut milk (first extract of coconut milk)

6 egg yolks

175g refined flour

½ cup ghee at room temperature

200g sugar

¼ tsp nutmeg powder

½ tsp cardamom powder

Few almonds, flaked

1 tsp vanilla essence

A pinch of salt

Method

Preheat oven to 180° Celsius, exactly ten minutes before baking. Grease a round pan or loaf pan with 2 tbsp ghee. Take a mixture vessel, combine coconut milk and sugar. With the help of an electric beater, beat until sugar dissolves. Add one egg yolk at a time and beat until they all mix nicely.

Now add flour, 1 tablespoon ghee, and salt. Beat everything nicely. In a baking pan, pour ½ cup batter and bake for 25 minutes. Now spread some ghee over it with the help of a brush.

Sprinkle some cardamom powder and vanilla essence. Bake again for 15 minutes. Again spread ghee, cardamom powder and vanilla essence. Continue greasing and baking with ½ cup batter until all batter is finished. Bake each layer for 15 minutes.

For the last batter spread ghee, sprinkle cardamom, nutmeg and vanilla essence. Add almonds, flaked. Bake the last layer for 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely. Remove from pan. Slice bibinca and serve warm or cold with a dollop of ice cream.

 

LOKMA

This is a Turkish fried sweet dough, covered in simple syrup. Simple!

Ingredients

1½ cup warm water

1 tbsp sugar

1 tsp active dry yeast

2 cups all purpose flour

2 tablespoons

1 tsp salt

Vegetable oil, for frying

For the syrup

3 cups sugar

1½ cups water

2 tbsp lemon juice

Method

In a cup, add yeast and sugar to warm water. Stir until dissolved. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes. In a bowl, combine flour and salt. Add yeast water and stir with oiled wooden spoon until a dough like consistency form. Cover and place in warm area and allow to rise for 1½ hours, or until doubled. Heat oil in a pan. Spoon dough by the tablespoon into vegetable oil and allow to cook for about two minutes on each side, until each side is a golden brown. Repeat with remaining dough. Drain on paper towels.

For the syrup 

Make it about 20 minutes prior to frying the dough. Mix all the ingredients in a pan until sugar is dissolved on medium heat. Bring to a boil, then allow to simmer on low heat for about 10-15 minutes. Drizzle syrup over fried dough and serve immediately.

MAWA KACHURI

Mawa kachuri is an exotic dessert from the state of Rajasthan.

Ingredients

250g flour

50g ghee, for making dough

Water as required

½ kg sugar, 1 pinch saffron

200g sweet mawa

20g chopped pistachio

20g chopped almonds

¼ tsp cardamom powder

Ghee, for frying

Method

Make dough with flour, ghee, and water. Leave it for 30 minutes. Mix mawa, nuts and cardamom powder. Set aside. Divide the dough into balls. Roll each ball into 2-inch diameter. Take one of the rolled dough in your palm and, place about 1 tablespoon of filling in the centre. Pull the edges of the dough to wrap the filling and proceed to make a ball. Heat ghee in a pan. Fry in ghee till golden brown.

Make sugar syrup by heating water, sugar, saffron and cardamom powder till the sugar syrup is about one thread or on a candy thermometer.

Set aside. Just before serving, drizzle the fried kachuris with hot sugar syrup. Garnish them with leftover filling or sliced pistachios. Mawa kachuris can also be served without the syrup.

 

Photo: Collected

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