Candies Recipes

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Indian Candies Recipe

Indian Candies

09.26.10 by Jackie
Since I got married, I've discovered a lot of Indian dishes. My father-in-law (I call him Daddy) has introduced me to many new, exotic, Indian foods that were unfamiliar to my palate. Today, Daddy had me try a new Indian confection. When I tasted it, it immediately reminded me of the Vietnamese equivalent called kẹo mè xửng Huế, except that the candies contain rose water, whole cardamom pods, dates, poppy seeds, pistachio, cashew nut and almond.
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Loquat and Strawberry Pate de Fruits Recipe (French Fruit Jelly Candies) Recipe

These ancient sweets are called pâte de fruits "maison". "Maison" means house in French. The candies are very easy and require only a few ingredients: fruit pulp, pectin and sugar. The flavor is similar to fruit leather, but with a softer texture.

I made strawberry fruit purée and added fresh loquats as well. The key is to use freshly picked, extremely ripe, naturally sweet fruits to ensure optimum flavor. Once the fruit pulp is cooked, you'll need to air-dry the candies for at least 12 hours, cut them and roll them in sugar. The texture should be soft and the taste should be fruity, without being overly sweet.

I usually make these candies when I have very ripe fruits in the garden. You could make them from any fruit purée, such as blackberries, quince, blueberries, cherries, lemon, gooseberries, cantaloupe, peach or plum. Let your imagination run wild! I've always found making homemade candies so much fun because of how flexible the recipes are.

These "mignardises" (pretty, delicate sweets in French) are delicious to take to a picnic or as homemade gifts. That is, if you don’t finish them off first!


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Gulab Jamun (Indian Sweets) Recipe

Gulab Jamun (Indian Sweets)

03.26.10 by Jackie

Gulab jamun is my husband Lulu's favorite Indian dessert. The sweets are deep-fried balls of dough, bathed in rose (gulab) and cardamom syrup. The texture resembles the liquor syrup-saturated French cake Baba au Rhum.

I've just experienced making my own for the first time and it tasted pretty similar to the ones I've had in the past. I added a few saffron threads to impart a brighter yellow color to the syrup and I didn't add finely crushed pistachios as Lulu's great-aunt does, because of my little sister-in-law's nut allergy.

You can eat them cold, but our favorite way to enjoy gulab jamun is to warm them a bit before serving. It adds another dimension to the dish. Gulab jamun is a bit too rich to eat on a regular basis, but it's perfect for special occasions when you want something more exotic than cake.


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Gajar Halva (Indian Carrot Halwa Dessert) Recipe

Halva means sweet in Arabic. India is home to many varieties of halva, and it can be found at almost all of our family gatherings.

This particular type is made with carrots. Lulu's aunt taught me how to make it. The base is a dense, sweet confection made of flour such as cream of wheat or garbanzo flour, nut butter such as tahini, or lentils like mung beans. My friend Carole, who is by the way the editor of the site, told me she loves this kind. Here's her feedback about carrot halva:

"Your halva was smoother [than the one I get at the restaurant], and at the same time more flavorful but more subtle, too. We loved it. I can't wait to see the recipe and what's involved. I have a sneaky feeling there's going to be more butter than I want to know about!"

I told Carole: "Well, don't be afraid, there are only two tablespoons of ghee". I prefer making it at home because the gajar halva found at restaurants tends to be too thin and cloyingly sweet. I suspect that the extra sweetness is used to conceal the lack of richness that one would expect from real gajar halva.

Gajar halva, like some Vietnamese desserts, is not always the most glamourous-looking sweet, but it is delicious. If you've never had it before, try making some at home. You will love it.


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Kaju Pista Rolls (Indian Cashew and Pistachio Sweets) Recipe

Kaju pista rolls are Indian sweets that are very similar to marzipan. It's almost like edible Play-Doh. Kaju and pista respectfully means cashew nuts and pistachio in Hindi. I guess there is a similarity with French, we called cashews, noix de cajou. I'm just thinking out loud.

Anyways, these cylinderical shaped mithai (Hindi for sweets) look very playful and are absolutely delicious. I find many Indian desserts too sweet for my palate, but these treats are just perfect.  I can never eat just one, and if you make this recipe, you won't be able to either.


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