My sincere apologies for delaying this post for so long. Only when I checked it now to read the email, did I realize so many months have simply passed away and I thought it was just few months!
Pratibha Jain wrote me to many months ago about a cookbook that she compiled for Indu Bokaria. The cookbook, “Recipes from a Diary” by Indu Bokaria, the Sandesh Artist, is a collection of Indian recipes showcasing her artistically prepared Sandesh and its different forms.. The book has some amazing Sandesh on display.
I am not very fond of sweets and even very less when it comes to Bengali sweets. Infact I started eating them only when I made Ras Malai. That led to many other explorations, all of which we enjoyed.
Bengali sweet. Basic sandesh can be prepared by rolling fresh crumbly
paneer with sugar into balls. With this basic recipe, one can quickly
adapt to many different forms and ingredients to make it into an
elaborate festive dish.
Sandesh Artist. So when I was reading the book, and checking out the
recipes, I decided I should make a sandesh from the book. I finalized on
the baked version as it called for ingredients that I had on
hand right away.
Baked Sandesh is very rich as well as it packs paneer with nuts. Hubby dear almost said the baked version tasted like
Junnu or kharvas. Since I have never tasted Junnu, I couldn’t comment, however I enjoyed this dessert. Though I had this in refrigerator, I preferred the warm one. So I MW for 30 secs before serving.
I have not received any compensation in doing this review. I have
received a copy of the printed book and all copyright lies with the
author, Indu Bokaria. The recipe is reproduced here, though in my own
words, with the permission.
Homemade paneer made from 1 and 1/2 liter of Milk
Almonds – 20 nos
Dry Nuts – Mix of Pistas, Almonds, and Cashews – 1 cup
Sweetened Condensed Milk – 1/2 cup (adjust to your sweet preference)
Roasted Peanuts – 2 tsp
Fresh grated Coconut – 2 tbsp (recipe calls for desiccated Coconut)
Cardamon powder a pinch
Milk Biscuit crumbs – 2 tsp
How to make the Baked Sandesh
Soak the almonds overnight to peel off the skin and grind to a smooth paste with few tbsp of milk. Keep it aside.
Make fresh paneer at home and if using lemon, run it in water to remove the citrus flavour. Let it drain to remove whey.
Finely chop the nuts and power to fine.
The recipe also calls for desiccated Coconut. I could have easily dried it in MW, however I didn’t think it would affect the final taste, so used fresh coconut. See notes*
In a bowl, take the coconut, almond paste, the crumbled paneer along with nuts powder (save some for topping). Mix everything well.
Slowly add the condensed milk. Check for sweetness and add cardamon powder.
In the dish you are going to bake, fill with the paneer mix. Next layer it with roasted peanut powder. Next with nuts powder.
Finally with milk biscuit crumbs.
Pre heat the oven at 185 C. Bake for 10 mins.
The sweet is quite firm after baking.
The grated coconut since it was fresh dominated the
taste. Like my Amma, if one likes the coconut, they will enjoy the taste
much. Still the sandesh is surely a topper!
Other than the coconut, everything is perfect with this version.