This milk sweet, offered to Lord Krishna every morning in our temples, is made by cooking down milk over high heat until it becomes a thick paste. The paste is then sweetened and allowed to set. Burfi is well worth the time spent making it.
For a richer burfi, instead of butter and plain milk, use thick cream or a mixture of two parts thick cream to one part milk.
Preparation and cooking time: 45 min to 1 hr
- 8 cups (1.9 1) whole milk
- 1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
- 1 tbs butter
1Pour the milk into a wide, heavy-bottomed cast-iron or stainless steel pot and place over high heat. When the milk is about to boil and rise, lower the heat so that the milk boils steadily but without rising. Cooking down the milk requires patience – it may take about one hour (a good opportunity to practice chanting the Hare Krishna mantra). Stir regularly and uniformly so that the milk does not stick to the bottom of the pan. As the milk thickens, stir faster, using a wide wooden spatula to scrape the bottom of the pot. Either stir carefully on low heat, or vigorously on high heat, but you must stir to prevent it from scorching.
2When the milk becomes pastelike and the spatula leaves a momentary trail, add the sugar and butter. Continue cooking, stirring all the time, until the burfi becomes very thick and sticky. Cook it until you think it can’t cook down any more; then let it cook a few minutes more. Burfi is intrinsically tasty, but if you wish to flavor it, now stir in the flavors. Crushed nuts, vanilla extract, toasted coconut, powdered cardamom seeds, ground cinnamon – all are typical flavorings for burfi.
3Transfer the burfi onto a buttered plate. When it is cool enough to handle, shape it into a square cake 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick. Cut it into pieces when it’s firm enough to hold its shape.