Store-bought Shortcuts, Creamy Desserts, Diwali Special
Learn how to make Kalakand, the beloved Indian milk burfi, or cheesecake, with this easy step-by-step recipe. Using readily available ingredients like ricotta cheese and sweetened condensed milk, this dessert gets a delightful fall twist with pumpkin and pumpkin spice flavors, topped off with pecan pieces.
The beloved Indian holiday, Diwali, falls during the most colorful time of the year—autumn or fall season, as it’s more commonly known in the US. The highlight of the fall season is certainly the pumpkins! They’re everywhere, as it’s the time when they’re harvested, and you can find a ton of recipes, both savory and sweet, that feature pumpkin as the key ingredient.
The Pumpkin Spice
Along with the pumpkin, there’s also pumpkin spice, that’s quite popular. I mean, even before summer ends, manycoffeehouse chains start offering the signature, Pumpkin Spice Latte and people go crazy over it!Pumpkin Spice is essentially a spice blend, just like the masalas as we refer to them in India, made with a combination of ground spices like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and cardamom. I buy it from the local grocery stores but you can absolutely make your own by mixing the individual ground spices that you may have in your spice cabinet.
Inspirations from Fall Flavors
I definitely make the most of the season’s bounty and use up all different kinds in my Indian kitchen. Pumpkin is actually widely used in Indian cooking, mostly turned into curries and that’s how I tend to use pumpkin as well in sometraditional Maharashtrian recipes. After living in the US for about 2 decades now, I’ve grown into some of the sweet ones too – like the pumpkin bread or pumpkin pie forThanksgiving! Inspired by the classic flavors of fall – the pumpkin and the pumpkin spice, I created a fusion mithai for Diwali – the Pumpkin Spice Kalakand!
Kalakand, the Indian Cheesecake
Kalakand is more commonly known as milk burfi or Indian cheesecake. It is made by reducing curdled milk that is then sweetened up with sugar, spiced with cardamom and topped with nuts. It’s decadent, rich, creamy, moist, slightly grainy but super soft in texture and just melts in your mouth!
My Game-changing Hack
You can find a variety of recipes, including the traditional method and then a few shortcut recipes using chenna (curdled milk solids) or crumbled paneer (Indian cottage cheese) mixed in with milk, sugar and spices. However, I have a game-changing hack – I use store-bought ricotta cheese,which simplifies the extensive process of making traditional Indian dessert like this one, a breeze!
Indian Mithai with an American twist
Besides the classic cardamom-scented Kalakand, there are flavored versions like mango and rose. For Diwali, I gave the traditional Indian Kalakand a classic American twist by incorporating the fall season’s highlights, the pumpkin puree and pumpkin spice. With all of these classic American flavors, this Indian cheesecake is not only a delightful treat for your Diwali festivities but can also be a great addition to your Thanksgiving spread!
The result is a beautifully golden-orange festive dessert with a touch of natural sweetness from the pumpkin. The addition of pumpkin spice adds a delightful warmth to the flavor. To top it off, I used classic American pecans, which complement the pumpkin and spice perfectly. I have outlined step-by-step details below that you can follow and easily whip up this signature concoction in your own kitchen.
Hi I’m Vasanti
…and I ❤️cooking ‘n clicking!!
I share a modern take on Indian cuisine made using nontraditional techniques and ingredients, while staying true to its authenticity. You’ll also find classic recipes from my beloved Maharashtrian culture and heritage.