I just read this article in Saveur “15 Indian desserts that give you a tour of the country “. Indian sweets are anything but boring. I totally agree with the editors. The sweets can be dry or dripping with syrup, milk or flour based, a vegetable or fruit can be the star ingredient, most of them are even eggless, respecting the vegetarians.
Did you know that sweets can be coated by gold or silver leaf? If you have come across some pictures of Indian movies or festivals, I bet you have noticed that we like the “Bling”. This affinity is so strong that we even like our food “Blinged”? Yup. You heard that right.
Festivals are incomplete without dessert. Coating the desserts with a silver leaf also known as “Vark”, is quite common. This is what I tried for Diwali this year. Cashew fudges covered with edible silver foil. Kept in an airtight container it will safely store for two weeks. Make ahead recipes always come handy wouldn’t you agree?
Recipe: Adapted from In house recipes.
Made about 30-35 pieces.
Raw, unsalted Cashews 2 cups ground fine
Sugar 1 cup
Water 1/3 cup
Cardamom powder 1/2 tsp
Vark ( optional ) Two sheets, about 6 cms squared
Take the sugar, water and cardamom powder in a nonstick pan on high heat, till it comes to a boil. Crank the heat down to medium and let the syrup thicken, about 3 minutes. Turn the gas down to low now. Add the cashew powder. Keep stirring so that it is lump free, doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan and start leaving the sides of the pan, about 3 minutes. Turn the gas off.
Pour this mixture on a greased wax paper. Take another greased wax paper and put it on top of the mixture. Put the palm of your hand on the second wax paper and flatten it. Gently use a rolling pin to spread it out, preferably to a square shape about 1/3 rd centimetre thick. Remove the top wax sheet. Take a Pizza cutter or sharp knife and cut it in diamond shape.
Carry the “Vark” on the paper it came with and drop it gently on this spread. Press the “Vark” softly on to this mixture to help stick. Take a sharp knife and gently run the cuts over the Vark again. Tease out the pieces and enjoy.
Vark or edible silver foil is available through Amazon.com.
You can cover all the pieces with the Vark, I have used for a few only.