A few days ago, Chotto-ma and I were talking about stuff like we do, and I said something about a person being 'mature'. We might've been talking about girls traveling solo, I forget. The only thing I remember is her question:
"Ma, I know mature cheese. But what's a mature person?"
So, yes, we definitely got the right baby back from hospital! Also right - in a perfectly corny kind of way - is that the conversation should occur on the day I was writing this post for Baked Sandesh, which involves cheese, and I needed some anecdotal serendipity. Or is it 'serendipitous anecdote'? I don't know, both are a mouthful.
For better mouthfuls, I suggest following recipe below.
Chotto-ma and I baked together last afternoon. (She did all the mixing and baking - it's that easy - while I took the photographs.)
I'd shared the recipe on Facebook a while back, but I've tweaked it since. It's better in balance and texture now, and still takes all of 10 minutes to prepare.
500 gms ricotta (if no ricotta, homemade chhana is perfect - recipe here, from an earlier post)
1/2 cup ground almonds / almond flour
Can of condensed milk
2 pods of cardamom
2 tbsps soured cream or creme fraiche
A pinch of saffron strands
1/3 cup milk
Pistachios or almonds, coarsely chopped
In a bowl, mix ricotta, ground almonds, soured cream, and 4 tbsps of condensed milk to start with. Taste. Add more condensed, till you have the sweetness you want.
Take cardamom seeds out of one pod, and crush to powder. Mix into ricotta.
Put mix into baking dish. A medium-sized dish, so the mix is not too thinly spread. (Should be about 2 inches thick.) Pat even.
Warm a bit of milk, and stir a few saffron strands in. Spoon this over the ricotta, sprinkle with chopped pistachios or almonds, and bake in oven at 180 degrees C for about 30 minutes or till lightly browned.
It might be wobbly when you take it out, but will set as it cools. Serve slightly warm, or at room-temperature.
You can read my Facebook post with the judge's comment, which is gloriously generous, here.