Celebrating Deepavali with these luscious granola tart filled with sitaphal rabdi / custard apple
The magical sparkle of thousand lamps that shines like tiny star against the dark sky, the colorful and intricately designed rangolis adorning the doorsteps, courtyards and temple entrances, the scent of bright yellow and orange marigold adorning the toran on entranceway, cheerful friendliness with merriment abound, the sound of bursting crackers, the infectious smile and frivolity in every happy faces, new clothes that glitters as much as the sparklers, scent of sandalwood incense that fills the air with its redolence, the sublime aura, retelling of legendary stories of Rama and Krishna (Narak Chaturdeshi), to celebrate the victory of noble virtues over negative forces, revisiting the folklores of Lakshmi and submitting oneself to the divine mother Ma Kali to seek her blessings, to strengthen and resurrect our faith in the goodness, in the justice that prevails at the end, no matter what may comes.
A vibrant, colourful and joyous festival that must be expressed through the medium of food, and what better way to celebrate Diwali than these gorgeous granola tarts filled with pristine rabdi.
Rabdi or rabri or better still rabadi is an Indian sweet dish that is as ancient as it could be. The richness and the sheer opulence that it radiates, made rabdi a delicious and most sought after dessert of Indian sub-continent.
The gorgeous luscious thickened milk, where it loses all its momentum, the fluidity of pristine milk arrested by carefully condensing it till it reaches a saturation point, then dressed up like a newly wed bride, adorned with rose petals and jewels of almonds and pistachios, soaked in fragrance of rose and screw pines. Rabdi is a beautiful dessert and in all its glory can melt your heart in seconds, can brighten up your hearts with its sweetness.
Indian sweets were always focused around milk and milk products. This holy trinity of milk, curd and ghee is considered as auspicious and offered as oblation during puja, and as ancient as the human civilization itself, from the land of milk and honey the first milk based dessert like rabdi or kheer (as it is known in Bengal), evolved that was holy and sacred , an offering to the deity.
With time new ideas has evolved and new ways to dressed up the rabdi has been invented. Other than enjoying it in its purest form, I had tried experimenting with other flavors like kaju barfi malai which is nothing but mixing cashew fudge in the milk that gives a delightfully rich rabdi and orange or orange basundi and now this sitaphal or custard apple. Custard apples are in season now and this makes an ideal choice to use the goodness of custard apple in rabdi.
The sublimity of custard apple rabdi has been beautifully paired with light and toasted honey soaked granola crust tarts that adds the crunch and balance out the flavours. This fusion is extremely delicious to the core, easy to prepare and has been cherished by all.
- Granola (any variety) : 1 cup
- Oats (instant ) : ¼ cup
- Honey / maple syrup / syrup: ½ cup or more
- Coconut oil / butter / ghee : 2 tbsp (solidified)
- Milk : 700 ml
- Almonds and pistachios (slivers) : a handful
- Rose petals (fresh or dried) : few
- Custard apple / sitaphal : 2 ripe
- Rose water / screw pine essence : few drops
- Cardamom powder : a large pinch
- Saffron : a large pinch
- In a bowl, mix granola, oats, honey and ghee / butter. Let it stand for 5 minutes or so.
- Preheat the oven to 160 C / 325 F.
- Press the granola mix evenly against the sides and base of the 4inch tart pans.
- Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
- Cool it down before filling it up.
- Bring the milk to a rapid boiling in a heavy bottom pan.
- Then reduce the milk till it reduces to less than ¼ th of its volume.
- Keep stirring in between and reduce the milk in low heat.
- Once thickened enough, add the cardamom powder, rose water, saffron and almonds, pisatchios.
- Let it cool completely.
- Extract the pulp from custard apple / sitaphal. Mash it nicely.
- Stir this into rabdi.
- Once the tarts are cooled down sufficiently, fill it up with thw custard apple rabdi.
- Garnish with almonds, pistachios, rose leaves and saffron.
- Serve it chilled.
Wishing everyone a very Happy Diwali once again,