Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Cottage cheese and Ricotta Cheese Fudge ( Sondesh )



I was not a dessert loving person, till I left Bengal after marriage. I started missing sweets in Bangalore, because there were not many sweet shops. Every weekend we had to go to famous KC Das to get sweets or desserts. But at least one great shop was there. In San Diego, we don’t find Bengali sweets in hundred miles radius. So there is only one way – make your own sweets at home and so my journey of experiments with desserts starts.

Nowadays whenever I invite somebody for lunch or dinner, I have to make at least two dessert dishes. I love to make them because every time it comes out so perfect and makes me more confident to try something different next time. Today I will share recipe of Sondesh which I learnt at the very initial days of my journey with dessert.






Sondesh is cottage cheese fudge, a very popular sweet of Bengal, most likely second most recognized sweet after Rasogolla. There are many types of Sondesh. I made this special type by using home-made cottage cheese and ricotta cheese, flavored with date palm jaggery. It’s a kind of jaggery that made of raw juice or syrup, collected from Date palm tree. It is usually available in winter season. You can add your own flavor, if this is not available. Sometimes I add some cocoa powder to get chocolate flavor or vanilla essence.







Also there are two distinct groups of Sondesh. One is soft or 'Narom Pak-r Sondesh' and other type is harder variety of Sondesh, called 'Koda Pak-r Sondesh' where Cottage Cheese / Chhana / Chhena is cooked for a longer time to make it hard. On the other hand, 'Narom Pak Sondesh' is stirred gently at low heat for few minutes. The recipe that I'm going to share today belongs to this 'Narom Pak' group.





Recipe of Cottage cheese and Ricotta cheese fudge : for 10 pieces.

Ingredients:

1. Cottage Cheese or Home made Chhena - 1 cup
2. Ricotta cheese - 1 cup
3. Date Palm jaggery or Sugar : as per taste
4. Vanilla essence - few drops. ( if you are using sugar)
5. Butter - half tea spoon.
6. pistachio - a handful chopped

Method:

How to make Chhena or Cottage cheese at home :

     Milk - 1 liter of whole milk.
     Lemon juice - a big lime and mix it with 2 tsp of water

1.   Boil the milk in a pan, stir continuously. Once the milk starts boiling, lower the flame. Pour the lemon juice. Stir the milk. Once the milk starts curdling and changes into chhana  (cottage cheese) and greenish water, remove the pan from heat.

2     Leave the chhana / cottage cheese in this condition for 5-7 mins.

3.     Put it over a soft cotton cloth / or a cheese cloth (if you have any). Let all the water drain away.

4.      Now put this cloth with the chhana ( cottage Cheese) under cold running water for 2-3 minutes. This will help to remove the smell of lemon.

5.      Hang the chhana along with the cloth on the kitchen tap / faucet for 45 minutes to 1 hr.

6.       Now once again squeeze the cloth if there is any extra water. Try to get rid of as much water as possible but note that the chhana(cottage cheese) should not get too dry.


How to make Cottage Cheese and Ricotta Cheese Fudge :

1. Take the chhena ( cottage cheese), Ricotta cheese, sugar/ date palm jaggery chopped pistachio and vanilla essence ( if you use date palm jaggery, don't need to add vanilla essence) in a big bowl. Mix them nicely with your palm or put it in a food processor.
2. Grease an oven proof bowl with butter and put all the cheese mixture into it.
3. Cook it in the Microwave for 8 minutes or so, till it looks like (Sondesh) fudge. After 5 minutes of cooking check it in every 2 minute and stir it.
4. Let it cool down. The keep it in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours.
5. Give them desired shape and serve it cold.







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