I cant believe it's already nearly two weeks into the new year - how time flies! I've been browing all my favourite food blogs and discovering more and more new ones... most of them with the most delightful, perfect photographs. Blogging about food has certainly awakened the latent photographer in many, many people, methinks. It's all good!
I dont have any new food blog resolutions - no statements of intent whatsoever, because I've found from experience that making any such statements is the most foolproof way of ensuring that I NEVER do what I intended to. So, no resolutions. I resolve never to make any resolutions. That should be an easy one to keep! :)
Babble aside, my first post of 2007 is going to be ricotta rasmalai.
I've been meaning to make this for the longest time, and I managed it just before Christmas, as my contribution to the festivities. I did make a proper Christmas cake too, of course... in fact, that was done in mid-November sometime and kept getting fed weekly with cherry brandy until Christmas Day. That was one BOOZY cake!
But Christmas cake is not what I am going to post about. It's ricotta rasmalai. Quite contrary to expectations, it turned out surprisingly well. Unfortunately Pete is not a fan of milk-based sweets or anything even vaguely eggy or custard-y. Yes folks, the man doesnt like caramel custard - even just hearing the words turns him green. Well, all the more for me, if and when I make caramel custard again.
Hm, caramel custard is not what I was going to post about, either. (Good thing that I didnt make any new year resolutions about waffling less and writing more to-the-point - I would have broken that resolution with my very first post!)
So, the rasmalai.
I had about 350gm (generous cup and a half, I guess, very roughly in volume) of ricotta cheese to which I added a pinch of finely powdered cardamom seeds and 1/2 cup of powdered sugar. I baked this in the oven for about an hour till it was done and "set". For the "ras" (or the milky sauce), I used about 3 cups of whole milk and a can of evaporated (because we dont get half-and-half here).
I'm afraid I cant be any more precise about quantities because I WASNT precise when I poured in the milk. This, simmered until thick, was the "sauce" for the baked ricotta. Of course I added some more cardamom powder to the milk for that heavenly fragrance and flavour. I suppose one reason I was surprised that it turned out so well is that I was so completely vague about the quantities required. All I had in mind was that the ricotta needed to be drained, beaten smooth and baked. After that it was all "andaza" (approximation).
The only trouble was that since there was only me to eat the rasmalai, I had it over an entire week until I was tired of the very sight of the little ricotta squares! Mind, it was excellent rasmalai of the untraditional kind, but I think I might just have cured myself of any craving for it for a verrrrrrry long time! It's true, you CAN have too much of a good thing.
Recipe for: Ricotta rasmalai
2 small tubs ricotta cheese (200gm each)
3/4 litre whole milk
1 can unsweetened non-fat evaporated milk
1 cup sugar (or to taste)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
1/4 cup pistachio nuts, slivered, for garnish
1. Drain any water out of the ricotta cheese, transfer to a mixing bowl.
2. Add a pinch of cardamom powder and 1/2 cup powdered sugar and beat until really smooth.
3. Transfer to a baking dish and bake it at 180C for about an hour (or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean). The cheese will have drawn away from the edges of the dish and acquired golden brown patches here and there.
4. Turn out the baked ricotta on a plate. (Mine fell out upside down, so I left it that way!)
5. Cut it into little squares (or whatever shape you like).
6. While the ricotta is baking, put the whole milk, evaporated milk and sugar to taste in a heavy-based saucepan.
7. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-high and let it cook, stirring frequently, until it is reduced in volume by at least half. If you want the sauce to be thicker, continue till it reaches the consistency you wish.
8. Let the milk syrup/sauce cool for about 5 minutes, then add the ricotta pieces to it. Once it is cool, place the rasmalai in the refrigerator for a few hours.
9. Serve chilled, garnished generously with pistachio slivers.