Kulfi time - and some more mango!
See, I said last year, I am going to experiment with mango this year, and I did! Although I did not remember saying specifically that I would, it sort of just happened. Its difficult not to experiment when the summer fruit is calling you from every fruit selling cart and shop on the road, and yet its difficult to experiment. Why? Because, why would you want to change the fresh fruit into something else? I'll just leave it at that, or this explanation is never going to end.
And what did I make? Kulfi.
Here's Why - I had gone to this shop, and simply could not resist buying a packet of the fresh Alphonso mango pulp (simple and uninteresting, that's it). And then I wondered, why would a sane person buy packaged pulp when the fresh fruit was available right outside? But sanity doesn't really play a role when I am shopping. So I decided to draw up a list of ways to use it.
a. Store it
b. Eat it plain (Ha!)
c. Cake (??)
d. I cant remember
e. Give to Mom - tell her to make something.
f. MAKE SOMETHING!
And so the packet kept sitting in the fridge. I used to look at it, write up list, then scratch the ideas. Inspiration struck when I saw kulfi recipe in a book I was surfing through - Wonderful Desserts (my solution to boredom - dreaming about making some fancy, over the top, complicated recipes) which used Mango Pulp. Aha! Kulfi it was!
What's Kulfi - Kulfi is a frozen milk based dessert - very similar to ice cream. Except, you do not need an Ice cream churner, and is not made with eggs. The concept is heating milk until the water starts evaporating, and the quantity is reduced to half. Half? Yes, it takes a longer time (took me 1/2 hour), but it's well worth the effort. Some people add Cornstarch but I didn't find it in my recipe. So that's up to you. The reducing gives the Kulfi a very rich caramel like flavour. The key is getting out as much water as you can - so that it doesn't form ice crystals. The stand out feature of a Kulfi for me is the way it is served. It's usually never scooped. Its always set in the way you want to serve it, Round, Square, Cone. Then come the variations. There's the tri-coloured Kulfi, Kulfi in Falooda, Kesar, Pista, Mango, Malai... For generations, street carts with huge earthen pots covered with wet cloth and a bell sell Kulfi in the summers. Now of course you'll find it in every 'star' restaurant, some trying to recreate the 'street like' feel even. Every Kulfi tastes different - which I suppose originates from the way it is made - since there's no standardized timing or even ingredients.
Here's How -
To make Mango Kulfi, you will need -
(Adapted from Wonderful Desserts)
Kulfi Moulds - 6-10
1 litre Milk
1/2 cup sugar (adjust it to your taste, I used much less)
200 gms mango pulp (use fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup cream (optional, for the diet conscious - use full fat milk instead)
To Make the Kulfi
Heat the milk on low heat and reduce it until it is half its original quantity. This takes around half an hour (half is an approximate measure - ).
Add the sugar and stir until it is dissolved.
Remove from the heat and stir in the mango pulp and fresh cream. Whisk it for about a minute with a hand blender (I tried a whisk, but preferred the hand blender). This is important to remove all the lumps from the liquid mixture - those forming when you heat the milk.
Fill your Kulfi moulds (or alternatively you can use an aluminium box or an ice tray), add saffron to each helping as desired. and leave them to set in the freezer for 2 hours.
When serving dip the Kulfi moulds into slightly warm water and remove onto a plate. Cut it into pieces, and garnish with almonds, pistachios or fresh mango.