Creamy, Saffron-infused Condensed Yogurt Dessert (Shrikhand)

This popular dessert from India’s Maharastra state is simple to prepare. Yogurt is hung in a cloth to remove excess liquid. The solid residue, called yogurt cheese, or dehin, is sweetened, flavored with saffron, nuts, cardamom, and rosewater, beaten until silky smooth, and served ice-cold in little cups.

As an alternative, replace the saffron, nuts, cardamom, and rosewater with ¼ cup fresh, vine-ripened chopped raspberries, strawberries, or blackberries.

Shrikhand is ideal for preparing in large quantities. Remember the simple sugar-to-yogurt ratio: good quality yogurt should yield 50% liquid (whey) when hung. Add sugar to the yogurt cheese in the ratio of one to four; in other words, the sugar content of Shrikhand is one-eighth part the original quantity of yogurt.

Shrikhand is much-loved when served with slices of fragrant fresh mango and puffed plain flour pooris sprinkled with sugar.

YOGURT DRAINING TIME: at least 12-16 hours, better after 1-2 days
YIELD: enough for 8-12 persons

1 kg whole-milk yogurt
¼ teaspoon ground saffron threads
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon rosewater
2 tablespoons blanched raw slivered pistachio nuts
½ cup powdered sugar

Drape a triple thickness of cheesecloth in a colander.

Spoon in the yogurt, gather up the corners of the cloth, tie it into a bundle, and hang it, either in the refrigerator or in a cool spot for at least 12 to 16 hours. Catch the drips in a bowl. After the required hanging time, the residue of yogurt cheese should have reduced to half the original quantity.

Combine the ground saffron threads with the rosewater for 5 or 10 minutes to allow the saffron to steep and release it’s flavour and colour.

Transfer the cheese to a bowl, add the ground saffron and rosewater infusion, ground cardamom seeds, pistachio nuts and sugar. Beat until light and fluffy, and serve in small bowls.

Alternatively, do not add the nuts to the mixture, pipe out the dessert from a piping bag with a fairly large nozzle, and sprinkle the pistachio nuts on top.

Posted in Desserts.