Chunks of tangy-sweet oranges dunked in thick cardamom-scented milk. This beauty of a sweet treat is called Kamlalebur Kheer and is a recipe shared by our favorite Bong Mom, Sandeepa. I would describe it as a delicious variation of basundi, with the fresh tangy taste of oranges contrasting with the cloying richness of thickened milk.
Milk + Condensed milk + Cardamom + Saffron + Oranges = Blissful Orange Basundi
To amplify the citrus notes, I added some orange zest, which perfumed the whole dessert with unmistakable orange flavor. I stirred in cardamom and saffron because I seem to be pathologically incapable of leaving these out of Indian desserts. The condensed milk was sweet enough for me and I did not need any extra sugar. In fact, the whole can of condensed milk was a bit too sweet for my taste; next time I will add a little less.
Here's how I made it, inspired by Sandeepa's recipe.
1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine ¾ to 1 can sweetened condensed milk (depending on sweetness desired), 4 C 2% milk and 4 T non-fat dry milk powder. One could use whole milk instead of low-fat milk and milk powder.
2. Heat the mixture and bring it to a near-boil, then simmer gently, stirring frequently, until it reduces by a third or so (I did this for about an hour).
3. Stir in ½ t cardamom powder and a few strands of saffron. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.
4. Take two oranges (I used Valencia) and wash them well. Zest the oranges, then section them.
5. Stir in the orange segments and orange zest into the milk mixture and chill thoroughly before serving. I think this yields about 6-8 reasonable portions; it is a rich and delicious dessert best enjoyed in small portions.
Sugary as can be, condensed milk is a very once-in-a-while purchase for me, but it is definitely a useful pantry item. With a can of condensed milk at hand, one can make
Quick Coconut Ladoos (condensed milk, coconut, cardamom),
Mango Kulfi (milk, flour, mango pulp, condensed milk),
Doodh Peda (butter, condensed milk, non-fat milk, cardamom, saffron)
Macaroons (fresh coconut, desiccated coconut, condensed milk, chocolate chips),
Chocolate Fudge (condensed milk, butter, chocolate chips, walnuts),
Dulce de Leche (milk, sugar, baking soda, vanilla),
Custard (condensed milk, sugar, milk, eggs, vanilla),
this very interesting Vietnamese drink (sparkling water, condensed milk, lime juice) and so many other "less is more" desserts.
Needless to say, this dessert is another entry for MBP: Less is More.