Sunday, November 17, 2013

Almond Fudge (Badaam Paak)

Badaam paak is a North Indian sweet commonly served on auspicious occasions.  I made it recently for a Diwali celebration.

Most recipes include the following ingredients, though the proportions vary.  Some versions also include desiccated coconut (for additional sweetness and texture) and milk powder.

Makes 32 2-inch squares

16 ounces unsalted butter (4 sticks)
20 ounces semolina (sooji)
1 1/2 teaspoons cardamom
1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
2-3 generous pinches saffron
18 ounces almonds, coarsely chopped
20 ounces sweetened condensed milk
2 ounces pistachios, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon white poppy seeds (optional)


1. Melt butter in a large heavy-bottom pot on medium heat.
2. Sauté semolina, cardamom, nutmeg and saffron until mixture is fragrant and light golden brown.  This will take 15-30 minutes depending on the pot and the heat.  Semolina can burn quickly so stir constantly and pay attention to the mixture closest to the bottom of the pot.
3. Add 16 ounces almonds and stir for 2 minutes.  Then add condensed milk and stir until well mixed.
4. Divide mixture into two 9x9 inch metal baking pans.  Use the back of a spoon to distribute the mixture evenly.
5. Sprinkle with remaining almonds, pistachios and poppy seeds.  Press with the back of a spoon to ensure that nuts and seeds adhere.
6. Cool for 30 minutes at room temperature.  While still warm, use a sharp knife to cut into squares or diamonds.
7. Store in an airtight container lined with wax paper.  Will keep in the refrigerator for 2 weeks and in the freezer for 6 months.