Creme de la Creme

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Ekadasi

This creamy, moist milk dish is always served chilled. Whether taken as is or mixed with diced fruits such as ripe mangoes, papayas, or bananas, it is served in individual shallow bowls or cups. It may be sipped or eaten with a spoon.

4 cups fresh whole milk
4 tablespoons or mild-flavored, light-colored honey
1/4 teaspoons whole cardamom seeds, slightly crushed
4 drops of kewra essence or 1 tablespoon rosewater, if available
1 1/2 tablespoons blanched raw almonds, sliced into paper-thin round slivers for garnishing

Equipment:
10-inch to 14-inch karhai or wok (bowl-shaped pan)
large wooden stirring spoon
another wooden spoon
8-inch by 10-inch piece of heavy cardboard to use as a fan

  1. Pour the milk into a clean bowl-shaped pan and place it over a high flame. While stirring the milk constantly, bring it to a full boil. Boil briskly for about five minutes.
  2. Reduce the flame to medium, and, without stirring, allow the milk to boil gently. While fanning the surface of the milk with the left hand, pull a wooden spoon across the surface to collect the thin "skins" of cream that form from time to time. Pull them up the side of the pan above the surface of the milk and collect them all around the top sloping edges of the pan. Stir the bottom of the pan occasionally to keep the milk from sticking. As the milk condenses, the stirring is more frequent. Continue fanning and collecting the "skins" of cream until only about ¼ of the milk remains. Add the sweetener and cardamom seeds and let the milk simmer for about 4 or 5 minutes more.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat, cool, and scrape all the layers of cream from the sides of the pan into the sweetened condensed milk. Mix well. Cool the mixture to room temperature, stir in the essences, and refrigerate until cold. Before offering to Krsna, garnish the servings with sprinkles of almonds and pistachios.

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