Bengali sweets arrived pretty late in my life, and they are now my weakness and absolute favorite. Honestly, the Bengali mishti (Bengali word for sweet confection / mithai) is the best Indian sweet confection. Period. It was after my marriage that my husband introduced me to the world of Bengali sweets. Initially my Punjabi palate refused to believe there could be anything better than Punjabi sweets! Yes, I am talking about the dhoda burfi, kalakand, rasbhari, kaju katli and gulab jamuns. Most north Indian sweets are made with reduced milk which is called khoya or mava. Milk is simmered on low heat for long hours till it becomes dense and thick. While on the other hand, most Bengali sweets are made using chhena i.e. freshly made cottage cheese. They are not as filing or heavy on stomach as their Punjabi counterpart.
And during winter, the sugar that is used to sweeten Bengal mithai is swapped with date palm jaggery which makes their preparations heavenly! We never get tired of eating Bengali rasgullas, rajbhog, (yet to develop taste for) sondesh, chhena payesh, chomchom, roshogolar payesh and patishapta. Last year my dad, who has a major sweet tooth, was visiting me and I introduced him to these exquisite Bengali gems and he couldn’t get enough of them either. After every meal, a piece of Bengali mishti was expected to be religiously placed before him for dessert 😀
Patishapta can be considered Indian style crepes with a filling of freshly scrapped coconut, sweetened with jaggery and perfumed with cardamom powder. It is a beautiful ode to the khejur gur also called as nolen gur or the date palm jaggery. I chose to make mini sized crepes, one, because it looks better aesthetically and second, because we prefer small servings of our desserts. They are super scrumptious and honestly, you really don’t need festival as an excuse to make these. Give them a go and enjoy these mini treats for snacks or as dessert or for breakfast.
2 Cups freshly scrapped Coconut
1½ Cup scrapped Date Palm Jaggery
½ tsp Cardamom Powder
2 tbsp grated or crumbled Mawa / khoya (vegans can skip this)
2 tbsp Milk, only if required (water, if vegan)
Heat a pan and add the coconut.
Sauté the coconut, on medium heat for a minute and a half. Add the scrapped jaggery and keep stirring and cooking. Add cardamom powder and cook the contents till they begin to come together and turn sticky (should take approximately 10 – 15 minutes).
Lower the heat and add mawa and mash it slightly. Cook till it gets assimilated in the coconut mix.
Turn off heat and transfer the coconut mixture on a plate or bowl to cool. (The coconut mixture should be moist and not dry at this point)
Note – Use milk to loosen the filling in case it becomes dry
Note – In case mawa/ khoya is unavailable, use milk powder instead.
½ Cup Maida (all purpose flour)
½ scant Cup Rice Flour
¼ Cup fine Semolina
2 tbsp scrapped Date Palm Jaggery
1 plus ¼ Cup Milk (almond milk, if vegan), more if required to fix the consistency
½ tsp Ghee or (Oil, if vegan)
Mix and whisk all ingredients till you get a smooth batter. Cover and keep aside on the kitchen counter for 35 – 40 minutes. (Although the amount of milk that I have mentioned in the recipe leads to ideal consistency, yet, ensure that your batter is of pouring consistency, not too thick and not too thin)
Heat a shallow (and broad, if you want bigger sized crepes) pan and heat the pan.
Reduce heat and lightly grease with ghee or oil. Pour two tablespoons of batter and swirl around to make approximately four-and-a-half-inch big crepe.
Once the top sets and the bottom attains golden brown colour, flip and cook the other side till it just turns golden.
Remove from pan and set aside. (you can fill the crepes as you cook them or cook the whole batch of batter and fill the crepes together, later)
Finish the whole batch in this manner and fill and roll the crepes.
Serve hot, warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!
Yield – 16 (4½ inch size)