Ramphal Kulfi (An Indian Egg-free Custard Apple Ice-cream)
This is another one of those posts that’s been sitting in my drafts for a couple of months now, patiently, waiting for its turn to see the light of day. You see, this Kulfi (an Indian moulded ice-cream that’s very creamy and milky) was made and eaten during this summer which was about 3 months ago! That’s when the Ramphal (the Indian name for custard apple) is in season, and the time when a Kulfi is most satisfying.
Traditionally Kulfi is nothing but thickened milk and sugar flavoured with cardamom (sometimes saffron too) and nuts and then set in a small earthenware pot (Matka Kulfi) or a metal mould much like a Popsicle. However, these days, a Kulfi can come in just about any flavour or shape that you can think of.
Given the creamy nature of the pulp of the Custard Apple, it is perfect to use in any dessert that calls for a creamy texture. Adding fruit to a Kulfi is not just about using seasonal summer fruit, but also about lightening a dessert that can be a bit heavy and making it a good way to beat the summer heat.
As I mentioned in an earlier post featuring the Ramphal/ Custard Apple, a lot of us in India believe that Custard Apple is the English name for what we know as the Sitaphal. The Sitaphal is actually a Sugar Apple (Annona squamosa) while the Ramphal is the Custard Apple (Annona reticulata)
Furthermore, the Sitaphal is green in colour and has a bumpy exterior while the Ramphal is brown or yellowish, sometimes with red highlights and comparatively smoother on the outside.
Adding Ramphal/ Custard Apple pulp to the Kulfi mix gives the Kulfi a mild flavour of the fruit and makes for a delightful frozen dessert that’s not heavy. I set the Kulfi in the traditional metal moulds used here in India, but you can set them in Popsicle moulds too if you prefer.
Traditional style Kulfis at the Kulfiwala (Kulfi Vendor)
If you do not have the moulds, then just pour the Kulfi mixture into a plastic or metal container and let it set in the freezer like ice-cream. You do not need to mix it while it is setting like you would do for regular ice-cream. Then scoop out and serve it like ice-cream.
- Cut the custard apples in half and remove the outer skin and seeds. Press the pulp through a sieve for a pulp/ purée of smooth consistency. Keep aside.
- Take about 1/4 cup of the milk and dissolve the cornstarch in it. Keep this aside. Put the remaining milk, sugar and powdered cardamom in heavy/ thick walled saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and let it simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir the cornstarch-milk mixture and then add this to the simmering milk. Stir making sure that no lumps form and let the milk thicken a little. Take the saucepan off the heat and let it cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally to prevent a “skin” from forming on the top.
- Add the Ramphal/ Custard Apple pulp and whisk lightly to mix well. Divide the Kulfi mixture amoung your moulds or pour into a metal or plastic container. Freeze for about 4 to 6 hours or overnight until it sets.
- To serve, unmould the Kulfis onto serving plates and sprinkle chopped pistachios over them. This recipe makes 6 Kulfis.
- To remove the Kulfi from the moulds, unscrew the lid and place the mould bet your palms. Then roll it between your palms in a backward and forward motion. The heat of your palms will soften the Kulfi allowing it to slide out easily without melting.