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25 October, 2014

Kalakand: Milk Cake

Posted in : Drinks & Desserts on by : Ratna

 

kalakand

We  didn’t  say  “trick  or  treat”  or  dress up  in  scary  costume.  The  days  after  Durga  Pujo  were  for  visiting  all  our  neighbours  and  showing  them  Pranam  ( respect ).  Just  doing  that  would  mean  we  would  be  treated  with  delicious  snacks  or  dessert  or  even  a  full  meal.  It  was  not  just  an  evening  either.  You  had  about  a  whole  week  for  that.  It  was  no  surprise  that  we  played  our  cards  right.  We  would  sit  down  with  our  friends  to  make  a  fool  proof  plan.  We  divided  the  neighbourhood  houses  into  different  zones.  A  couple  in  the  morning  a  couple  in  the  evening.  Any  ‘insider  information’  on  the  nature  of  snack  offered  in  a  particular  house  could  alter  our  plan  accordingly.  How  I  remember  those  fun  filled  days…

kalakand-2

Durga  Puja  is  celebrated  in  India   around  September  or  October.  Godess  Durga  is  Shakti  ( power).  She  emerges  victorious  after  her  fights  with  the  demon  Mahishashur.  Now  that  is  a  reason  to  celebrate.  The  festivities  goes  on  for  nine  days.  New  clothes,  no  studies,  fasting  and  feasting  are  the  hallmark  of  Durgapujo.  Even  the  weather  cooperates  with  mild  temperatures  making  it  a  magical  time  of the year.

Nobody  made  sweets  like  Bowneer  Thakuma  (  Bownee’s  Granma ).  Be  it   one   dunked  in  syrup  or  just  dry  Barfi   (  fudge  ).  Her  house  was  on  our  ‘priority  list.’  Oma  dekhi  kawto  bawro  holi,  O  my  look  how  much  you’ve  grown,  she  said  adjusting  the  end  of  her  sari  which  had  a  bunch  of  keys  tied  to  it.  Always  in  crisp  white  sari  with  no  border  she  savoured  the  moments  as  she  watched  us  savour  her  sweets.  Too  young  to  worry  about   why  she  wore  only  crisp  white,  we  licked  our  plates  clean.  It  was much  later  that  I  found  out  that  it  was  the  societies  requirement  that  she  be  dressed  in  a  particular  way  or  change  her  eating  habits  just  because  her  husband  was  no  more.  How  this  cruel  societal  bias   could  never  take  away  the  smile  from  her  crinkly  face,  the  love  to  go  through  the  elaborate  cooking  to  see  others  happy,  amazed  me.

Kalakand  or  milk  fudge is  usually  done  from whole  milk  in  India.  It  usually  takes  hours  over  slow  flame  to  get  it  right.  Thanks  to  Ricotta  cheese,  making  Kalakand  can  be  a  breeze  now.

Recipe:

 

Ingredients;

Ricotta  cheese                         Saputo  light  500gm  tub.

Condensed  milk                       Eagle  brand  300  ml  tin.

Pistachio  nuts                           Handful  Chopped.

Cardamom  powder                  One  eighth  tsp

Method;

Empty  the  cheese  in  a cheese  cloth  and  let  it drain for  about  half  hour.  Now  mix  this  cheese  and  condensed  milk  in  a  microwave  safe  deep  bowl.  Cover  and  cook  for  5  minutes  on  high.  Stir  and  let  it  sit  for  two minutes.  Repeat  the  process  again   for  5  minutes. Stir  and  let  it  sit  for  two  minutes.  This  time  cook  for  one  minute  intervals,  stirring  in  between  for  a  total  10  minutes.  Add  the  cardamom  powder.  Mix  well.

Transfer  this  to  a  greased  square  pan.  Make  square  cuts  so  that  the  pieces  are  about  an  inch  square. Refrigerate  for  half  hour.  Garnish  with  chopped  pistachio  nuts  and  serve.

Inside  Scoop

The  aim  of  the  above  procedure  is  to  achieve  a  soft  dough.  The  time  of  cooking  can  be  used  as  a  guide,  depending  on  the  humidity,  brand  of  cheese,  it  may  need  to  be  tweaked  a  bit.

The  mixture  tends  to  sputter,  so  cover  it  with  a  microwave  cover  with  vents.

The  final  result  is  a  granular  texture  as  shown  in  the  picture,  not  creamy  and  smooth.

Traditionally  Kalakand  is  not  too  sweet.  It  is  ok  to  play  with   the   amount  of  condensed  milk  in  the  recipe.

I  wouldn’t   slack  on  stirring  as  it  prevents  the  milk  solids  from  sticking  to  the  pan.

By  Ratna

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