Amazing how scorching hot weather will determine what you eat for every meal, the goal being purely to cool your body down. I've travelled to India a couple of times and luckily in the winter, however with the comfortable weather comes missing out on some great foods such as kulfi. Kulfi is a type of Indian ice cream made from sweetened milk that is cooked and stirred constantly until caramelized and thick. This mixture is then transfered to earthenware pots or matkas, which are insulated with salt and ice.
Kulfi come in all kinds of flavors but common ones include fragrant rose water, saffron and cardamom. While researching some recipes for kulfi, I stumbled across a couple that took a too-good-to-be-true short cut by using condensed milk and Cool Whip. I know, I too was skeptical. And while I always find myself striving for authenticity, the thought of stirring milk over a hot stove seemed to defeat the purpose of making kulfi.
Two great South Asian blogs Show Me the Curry and Indian Simmer used this “Cool Whip method” and I have to say the results were incredible– thick, creamy and decadent. The addition of cardamom and just the slightest hint of saffron made these popsicles out of this world. You won't be able to stop eating them!
– 1 14-oz can of condensed milk
– 1 12-oz can of evaporated milk
– 1 16-oz (or 1 pint) of heavy whipping cream
– 1 16-oz tub of Cool Whip
– 1 tbsp of granulated sugar
– seeds from 5-6 cardamom pods
– a pinch of saffron strands
– 1/2 cup of ground nuts, like pistachios, plus more for garnish
In a mortar and pestle grind the cardamom seeds, saffron strands and tablespoon of sugar together until finely ground. In a separate bowl (preferably one with a spout so it makes it easier to pour into molds), pour in the condensed milk, evaporated milk and cream and whisk together until combined. Add the Cool Whip and gently whisk just until incorporated. Add the sugar spice mixture and ground nuts and stir to combine.
On a baking sheet, line up some small plastic cups or use popsicle molds (or you could just freeze a bowl of this stuff and scoop it out). Fill each cup with the kulfi mix and freeze for about 45 minutes. At this point you can put popsicle sticks inside and they'll stand upright.
Place the tray back into a freezer and freeze overnight. Dip the cups into some warm water to loosen the popsicle out or just rub the cups between your hands until it loosens.
Garnish with more ground pistachios…
And eat immediately.