Its Day 3 of the Diwali Dessert week! Today’s recipe is inspired by one of my grandmother’s signature desserts – cashewnut ‘burfi’ or squares. But because of all the ghee and nuts that she used, she’d only make it for special occasions such as my birthday! After the ground cashews and melted sugar are cooked together, the dough is flattened out onto a plate and left to cool before cutting into diamonds. But I could never wait till the squares were formed and I’d get a small cup of the smooth and gooey dough. And then I’d eat it one spoon at a time slowly savoring its rich feel on my tongue. Eating the squares was just as tasty but a different experience entirely.
When I finished making this today, the light was already fading fast. The squares hadn’t fully formed yet but I had to shoot the pictures. I regretted not having cooked the cashew dough a while longer. But then I remembered that I preferred it this way.
Traditionally, the ingredients for this dessert, also called kaju katli, are cashews, sugar, ghee and either milk or water. Instead of milk and most of the sugar, I added spiced applesauce. This was one of the suggestions made when I asked for what local / seasonal ingredients you’d like to see featured. I’ll confess that I wasn’t sure at all if the slight acidity of applesauce and the nuttiness of cashews would go together. But I loved it. It was surprisingly good. I was relieved as I didn’t have a back-up.
- 1 cup of raw cashews, roughly ground (you could also buy cashew meal)
- 1/3 cup applesauce
- 2 inch piece cinnamon (I used ceylon cinnamon, cassia cinnamon is fine too)
- 1 clove
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon ghee
Lightly toast the cashew meal for 2-3 minutes on medium low. Simmer the applesauce with the cinnamon, clove and sugar in a thick bottomed pot. Do this for about 8 minutes on medium heat or till the sauce has gone slightly past bubbling to leaving the sides of the pot.
Add the cashew meal and ghee and reduce the heat to medium-low. Stir constantly for 5 minutes while incorporating into a dough. If you can take a small amount of the dough and make into a ball, it is ready to cool.
Smoothen out in a quarter inch layer on a plate. Leave to cool for 2-3 hours in the fridge before cutting into squares or diamonds. Or if you’re like me, just scoop some out into a bowl and dig in right away.