When you walk into a Mithai (sweet) shop in India, you see rows upon rows of different types of sweets and Barfi is one of them. Any square or diamond-shaped milk sweet is called Barfi. Usually made of Khoya/ Khava, which is milk evaporated for hours in wide iron pans till you get solids. Textures are creamy to grainy, and off-white or cream. To this is added sugar, ground pistachio or almonds, or dried fruit. Hundreds of variations depending on which part of India you are in. A sweet paradise to cast your eyes on. Most often, these little squares are covered on the top with silver-leaf, and in areas where the royal families lived, famous Mithai from their kitchens were laced with gold-leaf. I procure the gold leaf now at a supplier of ingredients for top chefs & pâtisseries. This recipe is made with Alphonso mango pulp from a tin, specifically because of the intense delicious flavour profile of this mango & full-fat milk powder to replace Khoya. As the mango pulp is already sweet, I have added less sugar but if you are using fresh mango pulp, then you need to add extra sugar, just cut the mango and scoop out the pulp and blend it smooth and then add it.
You can also use the pulp of overripe Persimmons/ Kaki. My mother used the strained cooked fresh green peas (run through a rotary food mill) as a variation. You need to add saffron to Persimmon, to create a deeper taste, or cardamom powder to Peas Barfi at the end of cooking. The gold or silver leaf is just aesthetics and festive beauty, so optional.
1 Cup=225 ml / 1 TBSP=15ml / 1 tsp=5ml
|1 cup Alfonso mango pulp ( from tin)|
|2 cups full-fat milk powder - very important|
|1/4 cup sugar (1/3 cup if using fresh mango pulp or persimmon or peas pulp)|
|Finely chopped or slivered Almonds/ Pistachios for garnishing|
|Extra & optional: Silver/ gold leaf (edible) / Warakh|
|1.||Keep a shallow tin tray 22x22 cam approx./ thali 21Ø cm ready. Grease the base & sides. Or place a greased parchment paper at the base. This helps to remove the squares easily when set. Use ghee to grease the tray as well as a spatula.|
|2.||Heat a flat thick- based stainless steel/ non-stick pan on low heat with the mango pulp, add in the sugar.|
|3.||Stir it continuously for 2 mins. till the sugar dissolves.|
|4.||Add milk powder while you whisk, avoid lumps forming.|
|5.||Keep stirring continuously on low flame & keep it homogenous and smooth till the mixture starts thickening.|
|6.||When it starts thickening and leaving the sides of the pan, add the ghee to the mixture. At this point, the barfi is done.|
|7.||Tip the mixture into the greased tray, using a greased spatula spread it evenly with the spoon.|
|8.||The whole process should take around 15 to 20 mins.|
|9.||Sprinkle some chopped pistachios or almonds on it. When cool cut it into the desired shape- square cubes or diamonds.|
|10.||If using it, add the Silver/ gold leaf after you have cut the cubes.|
Dainty presentation in small papercups!