Roshomalai/Ras Malai

Let me be very frank here. Sweet treats for this Eat Like a Bong series has bothered me from Day 1. It's a shame really because Bengal is more famous for its sweets than anything else. Just this Anarosh Kishmish Malpua wasn't enough for an entire 30-day series, and there had to be something else. But I'm not much of a sucker when it comes to Bengali sweets. The ones I completely adore are not in season (Nolen Gur). Also, I'm not much of a "make from scratch" roshogolla, pantua, gulab jamun kinda girl. Obviously I can slog my a** off in the kitchen but for something more worthwhile like yesterday's Chitol Maachher Muithya, or the Mutton Biriyani I made on Holi, or even this Snickers Cake for Baba's birthday. But roshogollas and pantuas are too plebeian to merit so much hard work.
Initially I thought of making patishapta, then payesh...but in both cases the problem lay in procuring the gur. Either of these two desserts, without gur, is meaningless. What I needed was some milk-based dessert which tasted equally good without the grand presence of gur. And then one day when I was crossing Mrityunjoy (a sweet shop at the Maddox Square-Lansdowne junction) on my way to office, I suddenly remembered their roshomundi-r payesh (baby rasgullas in milk pudding) that I absolutely doted upon as a teen. And immediately I knew that is what I would make. I got store-bought roshogollas obviously, made the malai by heating milk and condensed milk, flavoured it with cardamom powder and saffron, and let it chill overnight. The result was this divine beauty which everybody in my family (and a couple of guests who had come over) went gaga over.
Serves: 8-10
Ingredients:

Roshogolla/Rasgullas, medium sized: 20
Whole milk: 600 ml
Condensed milk: 300 ml
Cardamom, freshly ground: 10 pods
Saffron, soaked in 2 tbsp warm milk: 2 pinches
Pistachio, slivered: for garnish

Method:

1. In a deep-bottomed pan, heat milk. Bring to a boil and lower the temperature immediately. Repeat this 3-4 times for 5-7 minutes.

2. Add the condensed milk and let the two simmer on medium heat. Keep stirring often. Let this go on for 25-30 minutes till the milk thickens.

3. Now add the ground cardamom powder and saffron along with the milk and keep stirring for another 5 minutes.

4. Now take each roshogolla and gently squeeze out the syrup, but don't make it too dry. Add the roshogollas to the simmering milk one by one and let them absorb the milk for a minute. Turn off heat.

5. Garnish with pistachio flakes and serve warm. Alternately refrigerate for 2-3 hours and serve cold. I prefer the latter.

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