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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Cashew Pistachio Rolls - Kaju Pista Barfi

This is a decadent sweet. Made from just two ingredients, nuts and sugar, it highlights the rich taste of the cashews and pistachios. I had always bought it till now, however since I had made Kaju Katli in the past, which is a Cashew sweet, I thought I would try my hand at this decadent dessert. Now, to be honest, it did take quite a lot of time and a lot of elbow grease but the end result was so good, that I don't think I can go back to eating the store bought version anymore. I also bought some edible silver leaf (warak in Hindi) and was able to give a very professional look to the sweet. Even my parents thought that it was store bought when I shared the photo with them.

With the festive season starting soon, give this sweet a try and let me know how it turns out.

1 cup raw cashewnuts
1 cup raw, unsalted pistachios
powdered sugar

Soak the cashews and pistachios in separate containers with enough water to cover them completely. Soak these for atleast 4-5 hours, overnight would be best. Then drain the water and remove any peels that may have been on the nuts and then rinse them out. Process the cashews to make a fine paste. Add just a little water when you make the paste, just enough to let your grinder function properly. Then, measure an equal quantity of powdered sugar. Carry out the same process with the pistachios and grind to make a fine paste.  Measure the cashew paste and pistachio paste separately. Then, measure an equal quantity of powdered sugar for each nut. If you get one cup of cashew paste then add 1 cup of powdered sugar to it. Do the same for the pistachio paste. In this example we will end up using a total of 2 cups of powdered sugar.  Mix the cashew paste and sugar and start heating it in a open pan. Then mix the pistachio paste and sugar and start heating it in a separate pan.

Keep stirring these mixtures and let them cook. Keep the temperature at a very low level while cooking to avoid any browning. Make sure to keep stirring the two mixtures so that they don't stick to the base of the pan and brown. As the mixture starts thickening, it will get more difficult to stir it around as it gets heavy and sticky. However, it is crucial that at this stage you stir it and do not let it stick to the base and brown. At this stage, test the consistency of the mixture. Take a small drop (it will be hot so be careful) and roll it between your fingers. If you can mould it into a ball (it will be like molten wax) and it retains its shape, then you can take it off the heat. Make sure that the ball is not at all sticky. If it sticks to your fingers even a little, cook it a little longer.

Let the mixture cool to a temperature where you can handle it. At this stage, knead the two mixtures separately into two balls like you would knead dough till they are smooth. If you want, then you can deepen the green color of the pistachio by adding a couple of drops of green food coloring.

Then roll out the pistachio dough into long cylindrical rolls about 2 cms in diameter. Then roll out the cashew dough into a sheet which is about  half a centimeter in thickness. Then, place the pistachio roll on top of this cashew sheet and roll the cashew sheet around it, such that you get a circular cylinder covering the entire pistachio roll. Cut off the excess dough.  Then, using a serrated knife cut these long cylindrical rolls into small rolls. I cut some in two inch long pieces and some much small.

Garnish with silver foil if available.

You can store it in an airtight container for a couple of weeks. It lasts in the refrigerator for upto a month.

If you add a lot of water when you grind the paste, then the sugar proportion will be off. Also, since you need to cook it down to a dough consistency, it will take much longer to cook it. The nut paste must be very fine and there shouldn't be any grainy texture. If you are in doubt, use 1 cup of powdered sugar for 1 cup of nuts and if it is granulated, use 3/4 cup of sugar. Granulated sugar will take much longer to melt, and if you process it in the grinder, you can turn it into powdered sugar and use that.

Use a large pan so that the evaporation rate is faster and that will make the cooking process faster. Use a non stick pan so that the mixture will not stick while cooking. The color should not change. Also, as the sugar melts, the mixture will start getting sticky and as the the cooking process comes closer to completion, it will get more difficult to stir it around. If you are cooking a large quantity, then it is advisable to take turns with someone else to stir it. Grease your hands with some ghee/clarified butter before you knead the cashew mixture to keep it from sticking to your hands.

Instead of a roll, you can also roll both out into sheets and then place on top of each other and cut into diamonds or squares as a variation.


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