Steve and I visited a gold leaf workshop in Mandalay when were in Burma last year. The gold is pounded using brute strength until it is a fraction of a millimetre thick - finer than a piece of tissue paper. As a result it is safe to be eaten and is often used in Indian cooking for decorating celebration dishes.
Having bought some gold leaf in Mandalay, I thought I would make an incredibly simple traditional Indian sweet called burfi for Diwali. I generally find Indian sweets cloying and so my recipe below is significantly less sweet than the shop bought variety and is covered with a good quality chocolate ganache to give it a luxurious quality. As I have used cream instead of ghee, you should store the burfi in the fridge and eat it within a few days.
Serves 6 - 10 as petit fours
- 25 grams ground almonds
- 170 grams milk powder (I buy this from Indian grocery stores)
- 150 millilitres thick single cream
- 30 grams granulated sugar
- butter for greasing a baking tray
- 50 grams 70% chocolate
- 75 grams double cream
- Edible gold leaf (optional)
- Place the ground almonds, milk powder and single cream in a mixing bowl and combine. The mixture will take on a thick consistency.
- Compress the mixture using the back of your spoon.
- Cover the mixing bowl and leave to stand for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile place the sugar in a small saucepan and add 250 millilitres cold water.
- Bring the sugar and water to a boil over a medium heat, stirring regularly.
- Then reduce the heat to low and stir until the sugar has completely dissolved.
- Add the vanilla pod to the sugar solution.
- Keep heating the sugar solution, stirring regularly, until it forms a thick sugar syrup. If you are using a candy thermometer, the syrup is ready when the temperature reaches 112 degrees centigrade.
- Leave the syrup to cool.
- Now remove the vanilla pod from the syrup* and then add the cold syrup to the bowl containing the almond, milk powder and cream mixture and stir well.
- Grease a baking tray (I use a circular tray with a diameter of 20 cm but any shape of roughly that size is fine).
- Pour the mixture into the greased tray and press down hard.
- Place the tray in the fridge to set for at least 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile place the chocolate and double cream in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Don’t let the water touch the bowl. By keeping the bowl away from the water you are using indirect heat to melt the chocolate and this will reduce the chances of the chocolate burning. Stir constantly until a thick, glossy ganache has formed. Once you are sure that all of the chocolate has melted, remove the bowl from the pan and set to one side.
- When you remove the tray from the fridge, pour the ganache over the contents of the tray. Use a plastic spatula to spread the ganache evenly over the burfi.
- Return the tray to the fridge to set for at least one hour.
- Decorate with the edible gold if you are using it.
- Cut the burfi into diamond shapes and then gently lever out of the tray.
- Store in a fridge until serving.
- Eat within 3-4 days.