Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Instant Ricotta Rasmalai

Ricotta is an Italian whey cheese made from sheep (or cow, goat, or Italian water buffalo) milk whey left over from the production of cheese. Ricotta is creamy white in appearance, and slightly sweet in taste. The fat content changes depending on the brand and the type of milk used. In this form, it is somewhat similar in texture to some cottage cheese variants, though considerably lighter. Ricotta is also commonly used in savory dishes, including pasta, calzone, stromboli, pizza, manicotti, lasagne, and ravioli. It also is used as a mayonnaise substitute in traditional egg salad and as a sauce thickener. It is often used as a substitute for paneer in the Indian desserts. Studies suggest that supplementation with whey protein improves blood pressure and vascular function in overweight and obese individuals.





Rossomalai popularly known as Rasmalai is a sweetmeat consumed mainly in India, as well as in Pakistan and Bangladesh. The name ras malai comes from two words in Hindi: ras, meaning juice, and malai, meaning cream. It has been described as "a rich cheesecake without a crust. This dish was invented by the Bengali sweetmeat confectioner and businessman K.C. Das in the year 1930. 

Ras malai consists of sugary white cream, or yellow-coloured (flattened) balls of chena soaked in malai (clotted cream) flavoured with cardamom. It is cooked in sugar syrup and milk with saffron pistachios and kheer as stuffing.Homemade ras malai is usually made from powdered milk, all-purpose flour, baking powder and oil, which are kneaded to form a dough, moulded into balls, and dropped into simmering milk cream.




This recipe is a much shorter and easier one than the one described above. It uses one important ingredient, ricotta cheese to substitute the powdered milk, APF, baking powder and oil! Just add sugar to the ricotta and flavor it with cardamom. Bake the discs to form cooked cheese. Boil milk and sugar in a pan, flavor with saffron and dry fruits and drop the ricotta discs in it. Rasmalai anyone?? In under an hour from start to finish. The recipe is not that of a traditional rasmalai, the taste is really great though. Follow the recipe and do not forget to share your thoughts below and on my facebook page.


Ingredients


Ricotta Cheese 1 can, 15 oz.
Sugar 1/4 cup and 1/2 cup
Cardamom 3-4
Milk (whole or 2%) 3 cups
Almonds, Cashew Nut, Pistachios 
Saffron a pinch
Silver Varak (optional)



Method

To make the ricotta cheese discs, first remove the ricotta in a bowl and mix well. If the cheese has water content in it, microwave for a minute. This will yield a little dry ricotta making it easy to work with. Powder 1/4 cup sugar and crush the cardamom seeds. Add the powdered sugar and cardamom powder to the ricotta cheese and mix well. Preheat the oven to 350 F/ 180 C. Using a muffin pan, divide the ricotta sugar mixture in all the cavities. With a can of 15 oz, I got exactly 12 discs. 

Place the muffin pan in the oven and bake the discs for 35-40 minutes, till the edges move away from the sides of the pan. Using a toothpick, check for the cooked discs and remove the muffin and let them cool completely. Do not try to remove them while hot else they will crack. 

To make the milk syrup, add 2 cups of milk in a heavy bottom pan. Heat the milk on medium flame till it boils. Once the milk comes to a boil, add 1/2 cup sugar and mix well. Add the saffron and let the milk become colored and sweet. Once the milk and sugar mixes well, turn down the heat and let it cool. Add the chopped almonds, cashew nuts and pistachios and mix well. Let the milk cool completely.

Once the milk as well as the ricotta discs cool completely, add the ricotta discs and garnish with some more almonds, cashew nuts, pistachios and silver varak. You may choose to eat them right away or cool them further in the refrigerator before serving.





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