Cardamom, Rosewater and Pistachio Kulfi
Kulfi is a popular frozen dessert from India and I got to try it for the very first time exactly two years ago when two of my best friends FINALLY got married, after 10 years together. I was so fortunate to be a part of one of their ceremonies and also get to sit back and watch their incredible Indian wedding ceremony and get to try all this amazing Indian food, like butter chicken and kulfi. I had no idea what it was before and as soon as I took one spoonful I was amazed at the flavor and texture. This post is sponsored by Cost Plus World Market.
Kulfi is traditionally made by slow cooking milk to a thickened caramelized texture – basically a cross between homemade evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk. Its denser and creamier than traditional ice cream.
I decided to cheat a little. While I wanted to make a slow cooked milk condensed down to the creamy caramelly texture and flavor of traditional kulfi – the process states continuous stirring so it doesn’t burn. The idea is amazing – but I have a very needy dog, and two needy daughters who like to interrupt constantly ( and their needs and wants almost always come first unless its the 900th snack request of the day from my 4 year old) so I knew standing at the stove stirring non stop for hours wasn’t really doable.
Enter the semi-homemade method. Using canned evaporated milk and canned sweetened condensed.
Traditional Kulfi flavors are cardamom, rosewater, pistachio, mango and saffron. The kulfi I had at my friends wedding was rosewater and pistachio so I wanted to recreate it. I also added in a little cardamom to enhance the flavor just a little more and because I love cardamom in desserts.
I decided to slowly heat the sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk together with 8 cardamom pods and a pinch of salt to slightly offset the super sweetness of the condensed milk. I then let it cool completely to let the pods steep some flavor into the milk mixture. Once cooled I combined that with heavy cream and the rosewater.
Kulfi is traditionally poured into specialty cone shaped molds or a shallow tray to be cut into squares. I didn’t have the molds so anything from an espresso cup, to a dixie cup to a small bowl will work. The Kulfi I had at the wedding was on a big tray and served in small squares. I didn’t know that it was an ice cream like dessert at first since it wasn’t really melty. Since Kulfi is denser than ice cream it takes longer to melt.
Once the kulfi has set up it gets unmolded from the cups, molds or bowls and set on a plate. Garnish with more chopped pistachios – I use roasted and salted since I love salt – and a little pinch of cardamom. Also, did you know that you can open those barely cracked open pistachio shells by using another shell half? Just insert into the slit and twist and it pops right open. No more bags of barely opened pistachios left in the back of the pantry. At least not in my pantry anymore.
This recipe was inspired by the movie and my good friend’s wedding. To see another recipe inspired by their wedding along with the elephant that was there ( Yes, you read that right, an elephant) check out my post HERE