My food scout came back and reported to me of his finding of some great home made Sondesh at his office. It was made by his colleague’s husband Somnath and he apparently used Ricotta cheese instead of chhena. It made a lot of sense to me because Ricotta is very much like chhena with the added advantage that you don’t have to work hard to get all the water out of chhena while making sandesh (a process call jaak).
So I sent my scout back to get the recipe, which he did. I cycled through the process couple of times and here is my adaptation of that recipe.
- 4 cups ricotta cheese
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- Sugar ( quantity depends according to your sweet tooth)
- 6 tbsp. of notun guur (date palm jaggery)
- 1 tsp. cardamom powder
- Ghee (clarified butter). Optional
Microwave it for about 6 mins, stirring once or twice in between. Then transfer the batter to a nonstick pan and stir till the mixture thickens to the consistency shown in the photograph. The mixture will not stick to the bottom of the pan instead it will form a lump together.
Sprinkle cardamom powder and add jaggery to it. Cook on very low flame for one more min. This intermediate form is called Makha Sondesh and is sold as it is. You might want to keep some of it aside and claim you made two types of sondesh.
Allow it to cool down a little so that you can touch it. If you have a mould then grease it with ghee (clarified butter) now. Take a small portion of the mixture and press it down on the mould with a wet hand, smooth the edges and carefully take it out. If you don't want to use moulds, you can use your hands and fingers to shape them as you like. I used the stone mould which my grandma passed down to me (in the picture below).