Rasmalai with Rose Water and Pistachios

The Rasmalai with Rose Water and Pistachios Recipe is a Punjabi specialty is a creamy dessert that manages to be both richly scrumptious and ethereally light. The key is the fresh cheese, which is very easy to make. The resulting velvety cheese dumplings are swathed in a reduced milk sauce scented with rose water. The pistachios add a salty edge and satisfying crunch.

Makes 8 servings

3 quarts (96 ounces/2,683 grams) whole milk
1⁄3 cup (22⁄3 ounces/75 grams) fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1⁄4 teaspoon salt

Rose-Scented Malai:
1 cup (8 ounces/227 grams) whole milk
1 cup (8 ounces/227 grams) heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon dried rose petals, plus more for garnish
4 cardamom pods
1⁄8 teaspoon salt
3⁄4 teaspoon rose water
1⁄4 cup (11⁄8 ounces/31 grams) shelled pistachios, toasted and salted, plus more for garnish

1. To make the ras: Put the milk in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. As soon as it boils, remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. The mixture should curdle within 10 seconds. If it doesn’t, set the pan over low heat and stir slowly until most of the milk has curdled, then remove from the heat.

2. Set a fine-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth over a large mixing bowl, with at least 2 inches between the bottom of the sieve and the bottom of the bowl. Strain the milk mixture through the sieve, and let sit for at least 20 minutes. (If you plan to let this sit for more than 30 minutes, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate.)

3. When all the liquid has been drained, transfer the cheese remaining in the cheesecloth to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the sugar, flour, and salt and mix on medium speed until well incorporated, about 5 minutes.

4. Scoop the cheese into 11⁄2-inch balls with your hands, press into little patties about 2 inches in diameter and 1 inch thick, and set on a plate. Set aside.

5. To make the malai: Put all of the ingredients into a large saucepan, stir well, and set over medium heat. Bring to a steady simmer and cook, stirring, until reduced by half and thickened, about 10 minutes.

6. Add the cheese dumplings to the malai and cook, stirring gently, for 2 minutes, then turn the dumplings over and cook for 2 minutes more.

7. Divide the cheese dumplings and sauce among eight serving bowls, discarding the cinnamon stick and cardamom pods. Garnish with the pistachios and rose petals and serve warm.

Use a high-quality organic milk for the best-tasting dessert.

Rasmalai with Rose Water and Pistachios
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