As a kid, I used to be an avid helper in the kitchen. My sister hated cooking (still does), and so when I started helping out in the kitchen it was a happening event. People were impressed at my interest in cooking, and aunties and ammachis visiting our place would shower praises on me! “Look at her. Everyone should be like her”, they would say. My sister didn’t mind these as long as she didn’t have to cook, and I shared everything I made with her.
One of the first things I loved making was the semiya payasam. Nothing much to it..add ghee, brown the semiya, add sugar, milk…eat! But this was enough to impress my family and so I grew up thinking I was a great cook. When I finally started cooking on my own, especially desserts, none of them would succeed. But I never accepted failure and would still try to make the most complicated sweets from scratch. After a series of failures, I finally realized last month that I am not so good at making sweets as I imagined myself to me. RP’s recipe was there to help me out. Boy! did it help..I served these couple of times and the compliments poured in. But all credit goes to RP and Priya.
And now Deepavali…I knew it was Deepavali because our new Indian neighbors had decorated their house with lights. It was beautiful! But I had an exam to study for and I forgot all about it. Then I located the JFI event which was happening and I had missed it too. I had left a comment at Vee’s blog mentioning how I missed it and maybe I will participate next year, and Vee send me a reply saying I still had time. Wish everyone was so nice when it comes to deadlines ( People at my college could learn from you, Vee!)
So thanks to Vee, I am blogging about my inflated pride and how I turned to being a realist…and also the rasmalai! This rasamalai not only helped me find a new easy dessert recipe, but also made me realize it is okay to take short cuts. Not everything needs to be made from scratch!
Recipe sources: RP’s blog, Priya’s blog
Ricotto chesse ( I used the medium size one, part skim)
Sugar- according to taste
Rose water- a few drops
Half and half, milk- a cup each
Strands of saffron
Pistachios for garnish
Pan: A muffin pan
I didnot measure any ingredients, you really don’t need to. Just adjust sugar to your taste and depending on the number of rasmalai make the sauce.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, mix ricotta cheese, sugar and rose water and mix using a spoon. Do not have to spend much energy using a whisk as all it needs is a light mixing. This helps to keep the texture of the ricotta cheese.
When you add the sugar, it is very possible that you might end up eating quite a bit of ricotta ( Why? Because it is so damn good) . So if you are having guests over and do not have more ricotta to add later, I recommend taking small bites to test the sugar.
Spoon the mixture into a muffin pan. No need to oil the pan. Just scoop it in and place in the preheated oven.
All this will be done in less than 5 mins…now onto the sauce
Combine half and half with milk ( a cup each will work). Put over medium flame. Add sugar, rose water and a few strands of saffron. Keep stirring often till the milk mixture is thick enough to be poured over as a sauce. Not too thick, a little on the runny side. Let this cool. The white mixture will be yellowish when done because of the saffron strands.
To test if the ricotta is done:
When you peep into the oven after 10 or 20 min, you might see a very gooey mess. Don’tpanic. I am telling you this because I did. I was convinced the dish was not going to work and started to panic. Anyway after about 40min, I inserted a tooth pick and it came out clean. Take the muffin pan out and let the ricotta cool. There might be some water that looks like it seperated from the ricotta, but that is fine.
Once cooled, run a spoon around each ricotta to seperate it from the pan. You can invert the whole dish into a plate or take out each one carefully. If you start taking them out when still warm, they might crack. It needs time to settle.
Pour most of the sauce over the ricotta and keep in the fridge to cool. You can use the rest of the sauce to pour over the dish just before serving. The sauce was so good as it is and be sure to resist the thought of drinking it all!
In a serving dish, place a ricotta ball. Pour the sauce over it. Decorate with pistachios.
Be ready for gasps, especially if your guests have never had rasmalai! Be ready for second helpings!