Sunday, January 11, 2009

Creamy Naughtiness

I would be considered a nightmare of a sweet’s person. It is well known I do not eat chocolate; find fruit tarts too messy and my patriotism has been questioned due to my refusal to eat pie. However, give me a white cake simply frosted with an Italian buttercream or carrot cake with my Mom’s secret gook, and I am inhaling fork loads.

I have discovered that I am rather fond of the sweets of a people it did not meet until well into my adult-life. I find myself drawn to Indian sweet shops sampling the milky, nutty and incredibly sugary confections they produce. There is not a chocolate coated-anything to disrupt my selection or glazed fruit desperately trying to maintain a sense of freshness. Then I started to try and make my own – it began with my need for an elusive concoction called ras malai, which is a sweetened cheese ball that is poached in milk. I could, and should have started with something simpler. It took two days to achieve satisfaction.

When I have a craving for sweet I want it satiated immediately, and so I have laid to rest the making of sweetened curds, and turned my attention to crafting creamy little squares. These little nibbles are inspired by but would never be seen in my favorite sweets shop.

Cashew-White Chocolate Squares
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
8 ounces white chocolate – chopped
1-cup cashew butter
2-teaspoons vanilla extract
1-teaspoon rose water
1/2-cup slivered almonds

In a work bowl combine the condensed milk and white chocolate. Over simmering water melt in white chocolate in the milk. Once the chocolate has melted remove from the heat, and whisk in the cashew butter, vanilla and rose water until very smooth. Then beat in the almonds.

Transfer the mixture into a 4x7 pan that has been lined with enough plastic wrap that it hangs over the sides. Make sure that the cashew mixture is evenly spread out, and you gently pat it out to remove any air bubble. Fold the excess plastic wrap over the top of the cashew, and refrigerate for 4 to 24 hours. Flip the now set cashew mixture onto a cutting board, and cut it into 1-inch squares. Store in airtight containers in the refrigerator for about a week.

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