Sandesh (Fresh Cheese Dessert)
Sandesh means good news and it is prepared by many Bengali families to welcome good news and for festivals.
1 gallon whole milk
6 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon ghee
10 pistachios, finely crushed
6 whole cardamom pods, seeds only, finely ground
In a large, heavy saucepan, bring milk to the boiling over point. Add lemon juice and stir, until milk curdles. Remove from heat and let set for a few minutes.
Pour curds into a cheesecloth. Tie cloth and press out excess moisture, until cheese is firm, like the curds in dry curd cottage cheese.
Place cheese on a board, knead in sugar until the cheese is smooth.
In a large heavy frying pan, heat ghee. Add sugared cheese and cook on low to medium heat for 7 minutes, stirring constantly. Otherwise it will stick or burn. Add crushed pistachios and ground cardamom.
Remove from heat. Pour Sandesh into a serving dish and smooth out by pressing down firmly with a spoon. Cut into equally sized portions. Serve either warm or chilled.
Use whole milk only. Skim milk is too thin. Milk takes a long time to boil over, but also boils over fast. I suggest staying in the kitchen with a good book. When bubbles form, start watching closely.
A heavy-bottomed pan is a must to prevent burning. (If the milk does burn on the bottom, immerse pan in hot water. A little citric acid or lemon juice added helps clean up the mess).
Most Bengalis press the Sandesh into fancy moulds. However these are not essential to enjoy the dish. If you feel adventurous, you can add honey, rose water, lemon essence or vanilla to taste. SHARE With Your Friends: