Deepavali is just around the corner and there are multiple sweets to choose from for celebrating. So if you are wondering what to make for the festivities, then why not try basundi? This is probably the easiest dessert you can make. I mean celebrating festivals should mean less time spent in the kitchen and more time spent with family and loved ones right? The secret to making this a quick affair is using condensed milk and you have an out of this world dessert that you can make in 30 minutes. Add some pumpkin puree, milk and nuts roasted in aromatic ghee and you have the creamiest, dreamiest dessert. This can also be easily scaled up and made ahead of time(it only tastes better with time). So go ahead and invite your entire group for dinner and rest assured this dish will be a hit!
Basundi – The dreamy creamy dessert
Basundi is known to have origins in the western regions of Gujarat & Maharashtra and is also very popular in my home state of Karnataka. It is typically made from simmering full fat milk over a long time to reduce the moisture content and thus reducing the milk. It is flavored with cardamom powder, saffron and/or nutmeg traditionally and topped with chopped nuts. There are also different variations made with fruits including mango, banana, pineapple, custard apple etc.
What we will do here is a bit of a “hack”. Instead of spending a long time standing over the stove to reduce the milk, we will combine condensed milk with regular full fat milk and reduce this on the stove. When we add condensed milk, we can cut down the cooking time substantially. Another plus is this also recipe also does not call for any added sugar.
I also decided to make this pumpkin flavored since its pumpkin season here in North America and because I thought it would be the perfect addition to Basundi. Using pumpkin puree makes it quick and easy to incorporate in to the dish while adding that delicious pumpkin goodness.
Tips for making a great dessert
- Ratio – Use a approximate ratio of 1:2 for the condensed milk to full fat milk. I would not recommend using 2% or zero fat milk. The fat is what gives the dessert its creaminess. I used 200 ml of condensed milk and around 2 cups of milk which is around 480 ml. If you would like to keep the sweetness a little low, then i would suggest using around 100-150 ml of condensed milk or increasing the milk quantity to 600 ml.
- Pumpkin Flavor – Whisk the puree well with some milk. This helps thin it down before adding to the simmering milk. If you add it directly, the puree might remain lumpy and difficult to fully mix in to the liquids.
- Stir frequently – As the milk is simmering, ensure you constantly stir it and scrape the cream from the sides of the pan to mix in to the milk. I reduced the milk mixture by around 25-30 percent before taking it off the stove.
- Consistency – It is a little difficult to say what should be the exact consistency of the basundi when it is done. It can be runny or thick depending on how you like it and how long you want to cook it down. It generally tends to be a little on the thinner side as compared to a dessert like Rabri.
- Other ingredients – Toast the chopped or slivered nuts in ghee before mixing in to the basundi. Also dont forget the cardamom powder, saffron since they bring a lot of flavor and of course make it fragrant. You can add nutmeg and charoli(found in most well stocked Indian stores) as well for added flavor and texture but it is optional.
- Making it vegan – If you want to make it vegan, I would recommend going with full fat variants of oat, cashew or almond milk. You can also use full fat coconut milk if you dont mind the coconut flavor.I have found brands of vegan condensed milk online. However I have not tried any of them. There are also many wonderful recipes available online to quickly whip up some at home.
- Variations – As mentioned before, you can make so many variations of this dessert. Add some apple puree and chopped apple pieces for an apple flavored basundi. Do the same with bananas, mangoes, pineapple, chikoo or even berries.
Storage and Serving Suggestions
You can store basundi in the refrigerator for up to a week. If you want to serve this dish warm, gently heat it over the stove or heat it in the microwave. You can also freeze any leftovers and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let it thaw overnight and then gently heat it before serving.
To serve, pour the dessert in to individual serving bowls and add slivered nuts, dried edible rose petals, saffron strands, charoli nuts etc on top. If you are making this with other fruits, add some finely chopped fruits as a topping as well.
The ingredient list and the full recipe is below. I hope you are going to give this recipe a try. I would love to hear from you so, please let me know if you have any questions or comments. If you want to follow along on social media, you can find me on Pinterest, Facebook or Instagram.
Basundi with Pumpkin Puree
- 1 Small Frying Pan
- 1 Small or Medium Sauce Pan
- 2 + 1/4 cup Full Fat Milk
- 3/4 cup Condensed Milk
- 1/2 can Pumpkin Puree
- 1 tbsp Slivered Almonds
- 1 tbsp Chopped Cashews
- 1 tbsp Slivered Unsalted Pistachios
- 1 tbsp Chopped Pecans
- 1 tbsp Ghee
- 1/2 tsp Cardamom Powder
- 8-10 strands Saffron
- 2-3 pinches Nutmeg Powder
- Edible Dry Rose Petals for decoration, optional
- 2 tbsp Charoli Seeds optional
- Heat a small frying pan at medium low heat. Melt the ghee and then add the almonds, pistachios, pecans and cashews. Gently toast the nuts until they are golden brown.Remove from heat once done and keep aside.
- Add 2 cups of milk and condensed milk to a sauce pan. Bring it to a simmer on the stove. Pour the pumpkin puree in to a cup and add 1/4 cup milk. Whisk for a few seconds until well combined.
- Pour the puree mixture in to the milk and keep stirring until combined. Let this mixture keep simmering while constantly stirring. Scrape down any cream on the sides of the pan in to the milk mixture.
- After 20 minutes or so, add the cardamom powder and saffron strands. Add the nutmeg powder or microplane a whole nutmeg for a few seconds over the mixture .Mix well and let it simmer for another 5 minutes. The milk mixture should approximately reduce by around 20-25% of the milk mixture quantity.
- Depending on how thick you want the basundi to be, you could let it simmer for another 5-10 minutes. Else turn off the heat and serve the basundi warm. If you prefer having it cold, let the mixture cool down and refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving.
- Top with some dry rose petals and charoli before serving.
- Please note the nutritional values provided are only approximate and do not provide exact values. The values provided are for one serving and this recipe makes approximately 8 servings.