My version has small adaptations that of course cater to the taste palates of my little emerging foodies (aka my children), including a variation that is my son’s brain child.
This recipe will offer you a basic primer on making paneer or Indian cheese which is useful and surprisingly simple once to see what is involved and the recipe is worth saving for that occasion where you want to impress someone with your Indian culinary know how.
Rasmalai like other Indian traditional recipes has many variations, this one is an improvised recipe that I also like.
Rasmalai – Cheesecakes Drenched in a Creamy Cardamom Sauce with Seasonal Berries
Rasmalai is a combination where Indian cheesecakes are simmered in syrup and then immersed in a creamy cardamom infused milky sauce. I add fruit to my version, just a small amount and often vary the fruit with the season. The white base makes it a perfect foil for the season and in this case, affords an exotic take on the red, white and blue.
Prep Time: 15 to 20 minutes plus 2 hours to drain the cheese and 3 hours to chill
Cook Time: 45 minutes
For the Paneer Cheese
½ gallon low-fat 2% milk
1 to 2 limes
For the cheesecakes
1 serving paneer cheese
2 tablespoons ricotta cheese (optional, but adds a nice soft texture)
11/2 tablespoon sugar plus 2 cup sugar
11/2 tablespoon all purpose flour
2 cups water
For the creamy sauce
2 cups half and half
1 cup milk powder
1/3 cup sugar
¼ cup raspberries
¼ cup blueberries
1 to 2 tablespoons coarsely powdered pistachios
Method of Preparation
1. Place the milk in a heavy bottomed pan and bring to a boil. This should be done on medium low heat, stirring occasionally.
2. In the meantime, line a large colander with cheesecloth.
3. When the milk is boiling, cut the lime or lemon and squeeze in the juice (usually one is enough), in about 10 to 12 seconds the milk should separate. This process is nicely demonstrated here.
4. Turn off the heat and carefully pour the mixture over the cheesecloth lined colander.
5. Let the whey drain off and gather the cheese into a ball and tie the cheesecloth around it.
6. Let this hand over a sink to allow the moisture to drain off for at least two to three hours. This can be done the previous day and the paneer can be stored in the refrigerator.
7. The paneer should be a fairly solid ball at this time.
8. Place the paneer, ricotta cheese (if using), flour and the 11/2 sugar in a food processor and start the processor for about 1 minute. This should blend the mixture and it should come together in a ball.
9. Remove the mixture and knead lightly and shape into small 11/2 inch ovals.
10. Place the remaining sugar and water in a pan and simmer for 25 minutes, until a light syrup is formed.
11. While the syrup is cooking, add the half and half, cardamom and milk powder in a separate saucepan and simmer for 20 minutes, until the mixture is creamy, thick and fragrant.
12. Add the sugar to the milk mixture and cook for 10 minutes.
12. Carefully add the cheesecakes to the sugar syrup and simmer for 15 minutes, this should turn the cheesecakes spongy and slightly porous. The sugar syrup can be reserved for sweetening something else or added to the milk/cream mixture instead of the sugar mentioned in the recipe.
13. Remove the cheese cakes and add to the milk mixture and simmer for 5 minutes (do not add the left over syrup).
14. Cool the mixture and chill for at least 2 hours.
15. To serve and assemble, place 2 of the cheesecakes in a serving dish, discard any cardamoms.
16. Add a few raspberries and blueberries
My Son’s variation
Scope out the house for any cookies, this usually tends to be what they bring in to the house since we do not usually keep a store of cookies. Crush the cookies and line the base of the serving dish with a thin layer of the crushed cookies. Assemble the dessert as outlined in steps 15 on