Mangoes are perhaps the most loved and awaited fruit, at least in this country. And much before they start appearing, we are ready with a list of desserts to be tried during the season. From the very common but beloved aamras and puris to exotic, layered, set desserts, from the luxurious mango mascarpone cakes to the diet friendly froyos we want to try them all. Oh, why did this so very delicious fruit have to be seasonal? Perhaps, nature's way of helping us keep our (over)weight in check? :) The surprise but very welcome showers here are a great relief from the heat, but when did rains ever take the pleasure out of enjoying ice creams and cold desserts?
Saffron is worth its weight in gold, pretty much a rich man's pantry ingredient, this luxury spice has been traditionally used in Indian cuisine since ages . Probably one of the few spices sold in packs of as less as a gram, saffron gives a wonderful aroma and rich color to food. I would have loved to use more of this and more often if not for the prohibitive price. Come to think of it, good quality saffron is not very commonly available either. So when Maitreyee Ghosh of VAV Sciences sent me an email asking if I would like to try their saffron extract (something really new to me), could I really refuse?
Kulfi is an all time favorite, being the easiest, fuss free and quickest in the ice-cream category. With the mangoes in season and with the saffron extract waiting to be used, it had to be Saffron Mango kulfi of course! With a half used tin of condensed milk and a bit of fresh cream to be quickly finished, this recipe seemed to be the one to try! The kulfi turned out to be creamy and dense and delicious of course, making this a recipe to be tried again.
Recipe adapted from Tarla Dalal . I have used fresh cream in place of milk powder and reduced the sugar. In the original recipe, all ingredients (except the mango pulp) are combined and simmered for 10 minutes, then the pulp is whisked in, cooled. I have simmered and reduced the mixture, then carried on with the recipe.
Ingredients ( to make about 6 kulfis)
Milk - 500 ml / 2 cups plus 4 teaspoons to be precise!
Fresh cream - 1/4 cup ( I have used 25%, Amul)
Sweetened condensed milk - 1/2 cup / 120 ml
Unsweetened thick mango pulp - 1 cup ( I used fresh)
Powdered sugar - 2 to 4 tablespoons ( vary to taste and sweetness of mangoes)
Saffron extract - scant 1/2 teaspoon ( please read note)
Toasted sliced almonds - 1/4 cup (optional)
Procedure: Take the milk in a heavy bottomed pan and boil on low heat till it is reduced to 1 1/2 cups. (Approximately 15-20 minutes, depending on the heat given). Whisk in the condensed milk and cream. Simmer for another 5 minutes. Take off the heat. Cool completely. Whisk in the saffron extract and the mango pulp. Taste and add powdered sugar if needed, remember kulfi will taste slightly less sweeter when frozen. Whisk till it is homogenous. I whizzed it in the mixer for half a minute just to make sure the pulp is mixed well. Stir in the nuts if using. Pour into moulds and freeze till set and firm. Mine took about 5 hours.
To serve, dip a kitchen towel in hot water and wipe the mould with it for a few seconds. Invert and tap it sharply on the plate. Let stand for about 5 minutes if you like your kulfi slightly creamy when you dig in!
Please note: Hubby felt that the saffron flavor was a wee bit more, probably because of this, the mango flavor was relatively less. I will add less of saffron next time. Make sure you use good quality ripe mangoes for maximum flavor. Use cardamom and / or saffron for flavoring or omit the saffron and cardamom altogether. You could also add 2-3 tablespoons of unsweetened khoya/mawa when you simmer the milk mixture if you wish.
For more details on the saffron extract please get in touch with Maitreyee Ghosh at logistics at vav dot in