Milk cream sounds like a funny name for a Christmas or any sweet – that’s what I thought when I came across this one. To me milk cream meant (and still means) cream from milk! Yet here in Goa, this is what they call the cashewnut and milk fudge made especially for Christmas. I can understand perhaps why this name has come to be. The main ingredient of this fudge is milk and while cooking it up, the fudge becomes quite creamy in consistency once the powdered cashewnuts are added.
I have no idea about the origins of this fudge but it very much resembles another type of cashew fudge made in India called Kaju Katli, except that milk is not used to make that. On the other hand, they are most probably a Goan version of “Brigadeiros”. Portuguese colonies have a lot in common when it comes to food naturally, with each of the colonies having its own variation of recipes by using locally available ingredients to give the new recipe a regional flavour.
Brazilian Brigadeiros are named after Brigadeiro Eduardo Gomes who was a very famous Air Force commander from the forties (maybe he liked them a lot, or he was famous enough to have candy named after him, who knows?). They are milk fudge truffles made with sweetened condensed milk and cocoa powder and a very popular party treat, especially children’s parties.
From what I can see of the recipe, the cocoa powder has been replaced with powdered cashewnuts, Goa being cashew country, and the initial part of the recipe for Milk Cream is nothing but making sweetened condensed milk. Brigadeiros are rolled and covered with chocolate vermicelli or chopped nuts and sometimes left plain, in the manner of truffles. Milk Cream fudge/ candy on the other hand is usually moulded in different shapes.
Tis fudge looks the best when moulded into pretty little shapes. The small silicon/ rubber moulds are the best to shape the Milk Cream as it is easy to remove them from this kind of mould. I don’t have the soft moulds, and I found them difficult to unmould from my chocolate moulds, so I just rolled my Milk Cream into little balls like Brigadeiros.
Milk Cream is supposed to be white, the colour of condensed milk,and this comes from slow cooking. Mine are little golden from caramelisation while cooking my milk down. Whatever the colour of the Milk Cream, I can tell you it doesn’t make a difference to how delicious it is. Of course, it is tooth-tinglingly sweet but then it is meant to be that sweet and one needs that amount of sugar to cook the fudge to the right consistency.
This fudge is not at all difficult to make though it takes a bit of stirring, careful watching to make sure the fudge doesn’t stick to the pan and burn, and a bit of time to make it. You also need about 12 to 24 hours , at least overnight, for the Milk Cream to go from really fudgy and chewy to its characteristic somewhat drier consistency which is no more chewy. It’s definitely worth the effort though.
A Week Of An Indian Christmas – Day #6 : Goan Milk Cream (A Cashew And Milk Fudge)
- 1 litre milk
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup broken cashewnuts powdered
- 20 gm butter (+ extra for greasing moulds, if using)
- Run the broken cashewnuts (you can use whole ones too, but broken ones are cheaper and easier to powder) in a mixer/ blender/ processor to powder them as fine as possible. It is alright if they're slightly coarse though you do not really want pieces. Over processing cashewnuts will make them release their oil and become a paste which is not desirable here.
- Pour the milk into a largish thick-walled/ heavy bottomed or non-stick pan. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat, and let the milk simmer until it is reduced to half the original quantity. Stir frequently to make sure the milk doesn't stick to the pan.
- Add the sugar and stir till it dissolves. Bring the milk back to boiling again, turn down the heat and cook further, stirring frequently until it thickens quite a bit and resembles a somewhat dilute condensed milk.
- Now add the powdered cashewnuts and keep stirring continuously so that it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. When the fudge begins to bubble along the edges it is almost ready.
- When the mixture bubbles at the edges of the pan, it is almost ready. Add the butter and continue stirring until the mixture doesn't stick to the sides of the pan but curls towards the centre. Test if the fudge is ready by dropping a small bit of it in a small plate of water. If it has reached soft ball stage, that is the mixture is soft and can be shaped into a ball with your fingers and holds it shape without dissolving in the water, it is ready.
- Stir the fudge a couple of times more and take it off the heat. Turn it out onto a plate and allow it to cool completely.
- If you don't have moulds for your Milk Cream, just pinch off little bits and roll them with lightly greased palms into smooth balls the size of marbles. Otherwise grease your moulds well with butter and press bits of the Milk Cream into them. Cover the moulds and eave them at room temperature, overnight to dry out a bit and set. They need at least 12 hours for this. Unmould and store in an airtight container.
- Store the Milk Cream in an air tight container. This recipe makes a small batch of Milk Cream. For a bigger batch, double the recipe.