On our quest to get to a diet free of refined sugars, we stumbled across a magic ingredient that helps us soothe our cravings for sweet. Dates! They have entered our oatmeal, our sauces and now our desserts. So when R came across this kulfi (Indian ice cream) recipe he had to improvise it with dates and it actually worked quite well!
- Evaporated milk, unsweetened – 410g (1 can)
- Whipping cream – 310 ml
- Dates, pitted – 2/3 cup
- Milk – approx. 1/2 cup
- Cardamom – 5-6 pods or cardamom powder – 1/2 tsp
- Saffron – 7-8 strands
- Almonds, sliced/ crushed – for garnish
- Pistachios, sliced/ crushed – for garnish
- Bowl and spatula to mix everything in
- Microwave safe bowl/cup for soaking the dates
- Whisking apparatus for whipping the cream
- Mortar pestle to grind the cardamom from the pods
- Kulfi moulds. Alternately we used shot glasses and bite sized cups to set.
- Take the dates in a microwave safe bowl and add enough milk drown them. Let them soak for half an hour and then heat it the microwave for about 2 minutes. Let the mixture cool a little and blend it to make a smooth paste. Keep the paste aside and let it cool.
- In a small bowl, take about a tablespoon of milk and heat it for about 10 seconds in the microwave. Add the saffron strands into this warm milk and keep it aside so that all the flavor from the saffron transfers into the milk.
- Pour the whipping cream into a mixing bowl and whip it using the whisking apparatus until it is not runny any more and begins to hold itself.
- Gradually add the evaporated milk into the cream while mixing it gently. Add the dates paste to this and mix evenly.
- Shell the cardamom and finely grind the seeds using a pestle and mortar. Throw them in to the mix along with the saffron concentrate from step 2.
- This would be the time to taste the mix and may be adjust the sweetness by adding some more dates, adjusting the cardamom flavor, etc.
- Throw in the almonds and mix.
- Pour into the moulding containers and pop them into the freezer. These take a few hours to set depending upon the freezer settings.
- While serving sprinkle some crushed pistachios on top along with a couple sprigs of saffron.
- It will take some experimenting to get the right amount of sweetness using the dates. I usually just go by my instinct but you can try to keep a track of how many dates it took to sweeten up one batch. Also, the sweetness of the dates varies – it is only natural.
- It is the same with the cardamom. I would suggest to err on the side of low with this ingredient if you are new to it. Experiment with your taste and determine the amount you like.
- If you are not planning to eat them within 4-5 hours after you have popped them in the freezer it might be a good idea to put them in a box or a ziplock bag to avoid them getting the freezer odors or burns.
- If you are using bite sized cups, then each cup can be a serving in itself. If you are using shot glasses or kulfi moulds, hold the mould in warm water for a few seconds and roll it between your palms to warm it up a little more. Pierce in a popsicle stick to slide it out of the mould. Refer to the above link for more ideas on moulding and serving.