This month I was assigned to The Big Sweet Tooth blog. The brainchild behind the food, recipes and writing is Rafeeda. Rafeeda is a wife, a mother of 2 sweet and feisty girls, who pours her heart and soul into the food she prepares for her family. She features a plethora of recipes on her blog from some desserts featuring the all-time favorite Nutella, to recipes that pull from her cultural background. I perused several interesting and delicious recipes before I finally settled on what I wanted to make this month.
Ultimately I decided to make basundi. Why? Well, because I've never heard of it let alone ever had it. So, why not? Right?
Now, I'm sure you all are thinking the same thing I did when I came across this recipe. What the heck is basundi? Well, it is a thick sweetened milk that is flavored with cardamom and/or saffron then garnished with chopped or crushed nuts. Traditional basundi is a special Indian dessert that is typically prepared during festivals in the western part of India. Typically basundi is prepared using khoya (mawa), condensed milk, cream and even evaporated milk powder. Aside from the traditional flavorings of cardamom and saffron, it can be flavored with strawberries, custard, apples, oranges and even mangos.
Since this was my first time ever experiencing this Indian treat I decided to stick to the traditional version using cardamom and saffron and sprinkling with chopped almonds. It was delicious and packed full of those fragrant spices. And, like Rafeeda said it was hard to allow to chill, so I did try it at room temperature, as well as chilled and it was amazing both ways. I can't wait to try other flavor variations, fresh strawberries would be truly amazing!
2 Cups + 2 Tbsp whole milk
2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 Tsp ground cardamom
Pinch ground nutmeg
5-6 Strands saffron
2 Tbsp chopped or crushed nuts (almonds, pistachios, or cashews)
Pour milk in a heavy saucepan and place over medium-low heat, simmer until it's reduced by half. Stir the milk consistently to prevent burning or sticking to the bottom. (Scraping the sides of the pan will collect the cream and combine it back into the milk to create a richer base) This entire process will take approximately 30 minutes.
Once the mixture has reduced, add the sugar, saffron, cardamom and nutmeg and stir to combine. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes, or until the saffron has begun to release some of its color.
Remove the mixture from heat, add the nuts and allow to cool.
This dessert can be eaten at room temperature or chilled.
Drizzle with honey before serving, if desired.
Recipe source: The Big Sweet Tooth