As I’m not very inspired to write tonight, I’ll start with a clichéd definition of Raksha Bandhan. It is a festival celebrating the affection between brothers and sisters, a day when the siblings pray for each other’s well being along with wishes of happiness and good health. As the name suggests, raksha bandhan is a bond of protection that a sister ties around her brother’s wrist in the form of a delicately woven silk thread. In return, the brother vows to protect his sister from harm and trouble, together with the promise of taking care her at all times.
The ceremony of rakhi tying has always been early at our place. As kids, we would usually complete the rituals before leaving for school but not before stuffing our faces with sweets, painstakenly prepared by mum on the eve. This year I tried to recreate the spirit of our childhood by making gato dilait/milk fudge with the few ingredients I was left with. This particular sweet, once sold in every tabagie and school canteen, is not something I come across anymore. While my little squares of fudge, studded with coloured sesame seeds, did look like the authentic gato dilait , the taste was pretty close to the one I remember from my school days whenever I had a little piece of this soft, chewy candy stuck to the roof of my palate. Ah, good times!
MILK FUDGE / GATO DILAIT
250 g full cream powdered milk
80 g Nestlé Dessert Cream
100 g ground almonds
3 tbs caster sugar
1 cup icing sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tbs unsalted butter
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp rose extract
1 tbs sesame seeds
- Combine milk and cream in a large bowl until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs.
- Using a coffee grinder or food processor, process the mixture for about a minute until it becomes powdery.
- Add cardamom and almonds to the dry mixture and set aside while you prepare the sugar syrup.
- In a large pan, mix caster sugar and water so that the suagr is completely dissolved.
- Add butter and bring to a gentle simmer under low heat. When sugar and butter are well dissolved, add the icing sugar.
- Stir till sugar dissovles and then add rose essence. This may take about 3-4 mins. Remove syrup from heat.
- Quickly add milk-almond mixture to syrup and stir vigorously with a spoon till well mixed together.
- Allow mixture to cool in pan. Cover with a lid and allow to rest for 12-15 mins at room temperature.
- Beat mixture in bowl of cake mixer for a few mins until light and creamy but firm enough to form into blocks.
- Tint sesame seeds with food colouring and sprinkle on a 15x15cm square dish, lightly greased with a blob of butter.
- Spread mixture into prepared pan and leave to set. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container. Makes 20 pieces.
Thinking of all my brothers & cousins on this special day!