The Grand Milk Cake

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Ekadasi
Cook: 
Kurma

Proper equipment will help cut the time you spend stirring this large quantity of milk as it condenses and solidifies. If you have a heavy 8-quart saucepan, that's the best; otherwise, condense the milk in two phases in a standard 5- or 6-quart saucepan. The finished result is an extraordinarily rich, stately cake with a divine flavor and texture. Cut it in small wedges for serving. Makes a cake about five inches in diameter and three inches high. It is especially respected by those who know the time that goes into the condensing and stirring.

12 cups fresh whole milk
1 teaspoon citric acid crystals
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds, crushed to a powder a buttered stainless-steel bowl 4 inches to 5 inches in diameter or a 2 1/2 cup decorative mold
1 sheet edible gold or silver decorative foil, if available
1 tablespoon blanched, raw pistachio nuts, sliced fine

1. Condense the milk by following either procedure A or B:

 
(A) Pour all the milk into a heavy 8-quart saucepan (nonstick cookware is ideal) and place it over a high flame. Stirring constantly with a wide wooden spatula, bring the milk to a full boil. Stir and boil the milk vigorously until it comes down to about 6 cups.
 
(B) Pour 6 cups of the milk into a heavy 5- or 6-quart saucepan and place it over a high flame. Stirring constantly with a wide wooden spatula, bring the milk to a full boil. Stir and boil the milk vigorously until it comes down to 3 cups. Put aside the 3 cups of condensed milk. Pour the remaining 6 cups of milk into the saucepan and cook until it comes down to about 3 cups. Pour in the other 3 cups of condensed milk.
 
2. Place the condensed milk over a moderate to medium-high flame and boil while stirring constantly. Very slowly, at about 3-minute intervals, sprinkle in dry, separate crystals of citric acid, adding from 1/8 to 1/3 teaspoon at a time until small granules form in the milk. If the grains of citric acid fall into the milk in clumps or become moist and stick together, there is every chance that undesirable small lumps of cheese will form. Continue to stir, boil, and condense the milk until it reaches the consistency of heavy cream. Then reduce the flame to medium to prevent the bottom of the pan from scorching.
 
3. Add the sugar, and while stirring rhythmically, methodically, and vigorously, condense the milk until it becomes a thick paste. Regulate the flame so that you can condense the milk as quickly as possible without scorching or burning it. When the milk is somewhat dry and almost thick enough to pull into a mass, remove the pan from the flame and pour the milk into the buttered bowl or mold. Cover securely. Allow the preparation to sit for about 12 hours.
 
4. To remove the cake from the mold, first loosen the cake by partially submerging the mold in a container of boiling water. Then gently run a spatula or butter knife down the walls of the mold. Now invert the cake onto a small decorative serving tray or platter.
 
5. Garnish the surface of the cake with edible gold or silver foil (optional) or a sprinkle of slivered pistachio nuts. Cut the cake into small delicate wedges before offering to Krishna

Comments

Regarding the shiny work done on the sweets

Hare Krishna,

The recipes are very nice and because of you we have got to see many dishes that we can cook at home. But I would like to know why you have shown the shiny work done on the sweets whereas I have heard that this is not veg.

Please explain.

Awaiting your reply.

Hare Krishna Aarti, It is

Hare Krishna Aarti,
It is true that many varieties of this shiny work (vark/varakh)are not vegetarian/vegan due to animal products used in the manufacturing process. There are however some varieties that are veg and careful inquiry and shopping around will yield vegetarian results :D Another thing to watch for is that some manufacturers of vark/varakh use aluminium instead of silver so be sure of your supplier.
Pishima.

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