I came up with this recipe as I really wanted to incorporate some dried fruit with a normal / traditional barfi. I also wanted to try and make a healthy sweet, using natural sugars from the fruit and very little ghee. Traditionally Indian sweets are full of calories because of the amount of sugar and ghee that are used, so I wanted to create some thing which used the bare minimum of these ingredients. The other criteria I was trying to fulfil is to make a simple, easy and quick recipe. I chose apricots because of their taste and texture, not to mention the health benefits. Dried apricots are an excellent source of iron, vitamin A, high in fibre, potassium and low in fat. Apart from perhaps warding of cancer, heart disease and protecting eyesight, apricots also help increase the immune system as it is a good source of iron, which is essential for the renewal of red blood cells. These cells oxygenate the body, helping to stop feeling lethargic and tired. This is essential especially as the cold weather is setting in and days are starting to get shorter, we need to have feel good foods:)
Having decided on the fruit I started thinking about how to encase it and what other ingredients, if any, to add. So I visualised the colour of the fruit and what other colours would go with it and what shape to give it etc. I just wanted to use the ingredients I had at home at the time. So I added some chocolate chips (which I now feel can be left out) and thought I would coat it with the barfi mixture with added flavour of cocoa. The triangle shape came about because this summer one of my husband’s aunties had given a gadget to make shaped mithai, which I wanted to use so that is why the shape is a triangular. The gadget is essential a V shaped long metal strip with a less than 90 degree bend along its length. Although the final shape I ended up making was by pressing roll of the mixture by hand into a triangle shape, so the strip of metal did not help in making the final shape. Everyone who has tried this sweet/mithai has loved and enjoyed it, so I am glad I thought out of the box and experimented with this sweet for diwali.
As mentioned above you can leave the chocolate chips if you don’t want to add it or do not have it. You may want to reduce the cocoa content to taste, as it is a little on the high side. I feel you can also make the same mithai with other fruit and/or nut centres, perhaps cranberries.
Preparation time: 1 hr Cooking time: 30 mins plus overnight setting time Makes: 55 – 60
1 lb of milk powder
8 oz sugar
6 – 8 heaped tbsps cocoa powder
3 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
10 serving spoons milk
400 g dried apricots finely hopped or diced
100 g chocolate chips / drops
1) Chop the apricots into small pieces, I used scissors to make it easy. In a bowl mix the apricot pieces and the chocolate chip together, keep aside.
2) To make the barfi mixture, in a large bowl mix the milk powder, cocoa powder, so that all the mixture is brown. Then add the ghee and milk , and mix this to a crumble consistency.
3) Put the sugar in a pan and add just enough cold water to cover the sugar and heat up. Let the mixture boil so that the whole surface is covered with bubbles. Let the sugar and water mix for a minute or so after the entire area in covered with bubbles, remove from the heat and add it to the milk powder mixture and mix it thoroughly. It should become a soft dough.
4) In a Swiss roll tray or on the work top, place some cling film and spread a thin layer of the barfi mixture evenly. I press it down with the back of a bowl or any other flat utensil. In the middle place a few tablespoons of the apricot mixture all along the length of the barfi layer.
5) With the help of the cling film bring the two sides together over the apricot mixture, making sure to cover the entire surface. Wrap the cling film tightly over the mixture. On a flat surface with both hands press the mixture to create a rough triangle shape, keep on turning the sides until you have a smooth and even triangle shape like a bar of Toblerone chocolate. By pressing gently on the flat work surface you are creating the shape and also ensuring that there is no gap between the apricot and barfi layers (it should be packed in not hollow, you will be able to feel it as you create the shape). Once the desired shape has been created place on a baking tray and place in the fridge over night to set into shape.
6) The following day or after a few hours cut into pieces with a thickness of about 1/2 cm. To store the barfi place it in an airtight container and refrigerate enjoy :).