Burfi Cupcakes with Almonds & Cardamom - Experiment #1

Thursday, April 19, 2007

This "cupcake" was more of an experiment than anything else. I put cupcake in quotation marks because really, it's kinda funky as a cupcake. Burfi is a traditional Indian cheesecake, and while delicious, does not work in a cupcake wrapper. Like, at all.

This recipe uses ricotta cheese as a base, rather than making your own cheese at home, and utilizes sugar, ghee (clarified butter) and whatever you want to flavor it with. That's it. It's intensely sweet stuff. One batch I made used saffron and pistachios, this one used cardamom and almonds.

The main problem is that the stuff is meant to be poured into a greased pan and then cut into squares, not poured into cupcake papers which it adheres to with nefarious intent. It's like a cross between pudding, cake, and honey. I also think I just missed a step somewhere, though after reviewing many recipes I still can't figure it out what it might have been.

But really, I should stop focusing on the negatives. It really was good, a bit difficult to eat, but good. It's very sweet. Intensely sweet. I'm now diabetic. The almonds help put off the sweetness a bit, and for the second batch I reduced the sugar which helped. Serving it with fruit is a wonderful idea, and it works as a perfect stand in for honey on toast or with ice cream. I also think that if I pour it while still hot over a future cupcake, this would be a fan-freaking-tastic glaze. I mean, I see possibilities with this if I treat it more like spun honey than a cupcake.

I don't think I'm done tooling around with this recipe, but I have some other cupcake ideas I want to move on to. This recipe really is simple and takes only a little bit of active cooking time, so I think if you pour it in a pan and not a cupcake paper (or maybe Pam the papers first?) you should be fine.

Part of this blog is extolling my successes and admitting my not so successes. This is the latter. Flavor is right on I think, but we need to work on the structure and texture. Maybe chickpea flour will temper things out? If anyone out there knows burfi, I welcome any advice and e-mails.

Other than that make some of this "cupcake" to spread on your waffles!

Burfi Cupcakes with Almonds & Cardamom
Makes 8 cupcakes

What You'll Need...
2 cups of ricotta cheese
3/4 cup of ghee (clarified butter)
1 teaspoon of cardamom powder
1 1/2 cups of sugar

What You'll Do...
1) Mix the cheese, sugar, and cardamom. It will be liquidy.
2) Fry in a big pot in the ghee. Fry the mixture until it turns light golden brown. Pour it over a greased tray or in greased (use Pam spray) cupcake papers. Sprinkle almonds.
3) Chill and cut into squares or serve in the papers.

Ricotta Alternative: Simmer milk with a few drops of lemon juice. When it separates into solids and liquid, strain out the solids and use in place of the ricotta.


  1. the problem i find with many indian sweets is that they're well, terribly sweet. so a tiny bite is enough to satiate ur sweet teeth. Try gulab jamun! that's yummy too.=)

  2. I think it is refreshing when bloggers extol their problems in baking as well as their successes. We are all human, and its the only way we learn how to become better bakers.

    I think your idea was fantastic. Sweet is good, never bad.

  3. I totally agree with Cheryl. Just wait till you see the chocolate scrambled eggs I made last week while trying to make mousse! :)

  4. " It's very sweet. Intensely sweet. I'm now diabetic. "

    LOL! I just love this line.

  5. looks too sweet for me.

    but this: "which it adheres to with nefarious intent" ?

    brilliant, as always!

  6. Ah..yes, the burfi. Enough to crack all of my sweet teeth. I do enjoy this, but I lessen amount of sugar...

    Pouring it in paper cups is something I have tried, with ghastly results...I did eventually use tiny molds and it worked. I made my own paneer, though Ricotta cheese is an excellent substitute.

    you did good nonetheless. :)
    adding you to my blogroll, hope you don't mind.

  7. You made me crack up with that diabetic remark. My husband had to come and read this entry when I dared to laugh out loud (literally) during his Yankees-Red Sox game. :)

    Even if this didn't turn out as planned I think it's AWESOME that you are such an adventurous cook. It's inspiring.

    Ari (Baking and Books)

  8. Yeah, those Indian confections--they don't mess around in the sweet department.

    Thanks for sharing. I love hearing about the less than perfect results--and about the futzing. I feel like I learn more that way.

  9. Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts. It is always great pleasure to read your posts.

  10. I might be a little late about your post..but the one thing I wanted to tell you. I read your recipe and basically what you tried to do was not actually 'Burfi', it was rather a recipe for 'Misti' which has a literal meaning of 'sweet'. Ricotta cheese is used for the base of 'Misti'. But if you want to make any 'burfi' version, I can give you tons of recipes.

    Thanks for your wonderful post.

  11. hi, i was looking around for burfi recipies on google and came accross your.
    i do realise im many years 2 late lol
    but i do agree with fara... im indian as well and your recipe wasnt the true burfee, theres many variations but unfortunateky way off.
    love that you game to try new things though.
    take care
    regars sarah dhooma


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