SHEER PIRA – शीर पीरा (Afghani Milk Powder Fudge)

Major festivities of Hindu calendar have to come an end, with Diwali, but there are still a couple of tail enders left, Bhai Dooj is one of them and it is a festival similar to Rakshabandhan or Rakhi, which celebrates the love between brothers and sisters. Celebrating it with a traditional Afghani dessert named sheer pira, which means sweet milk. The fudgy dessert is perfumed with cardamom and has assorted nuts and dried fruits in it to give it texture and enhance its taste further. I saw it first on a program called food safari and had been wanting to try it and the festive season gave me ample reason for that. It closely resembled the Indian Burfi made with milk powder and that was one reason I wanted to give it a go.

The recipe requires equal amounts of water and sugar and double the amount of milk powder. You need to make a one string syrup and then add milk powder and nuts and dried fruits of your choice to it. It is then allowed to sit and set for two hours, sliced and served. How easy is that!?! Takes only minutes! 😀

¾ C to 1 C Sugar (adjust to taste, we prefer ¾ Cup)

1 C Water

2 C Milk Powder (unsweetened)

½ tsp – ¾ tsp Cardamom Powder (adjust to taste)

2 tbsp Cashews, roughly chopped and toasted

3 tbsp Almonds, roughly chopped and toasted

2 tbsp Pistachio, roughly chopped and toasted

3 tbsp chopped Dried Apricots

2 tbsp Dried Cranberries

Prepare a baking or roasting tray (I used 6’X5’ small tray) by greasing it and lining it with parchment paper or butter paper. Set aside.

Mix together the nuts and the dried fruits. Set aside.

Add water and sugar to a sauce pan. Bring the water to boil. Keep boiling till it reaches one thread consistency. It should take anywhere between five to seven minutes.

Switch off the heat and stir in the cardamom powder. Add the milk powder to the syrup, in batches, and mix it well after each addition, till you a achieve a smooth consistency.

Reserve two tablespoons of assorted nuts and dried fruits and add the rest to the milk powder mixture and mix well.

Immediately decant the mixture to the prepared tray and spread it evenly. Using the spatula or greased hands, even out the top.

Sprinkle the two tablespoons of assorted nuts that we had reserved and gently press them in, using a spatula or greased hands. You can spread the mixture to the thickness that you desire. I wanted to keep the pieces thick and small therefore I had used a small tray to achieve that.

Allow the contents to cool and then cover the tray with a cling wrap and keep it in the fridge for at least two hours.

Remove the tray from the fridge and release the contents from the tray. Discard the parchment paper and using a sharp knife, slice the sheer pira into desired size and serve.

Yields – 12 pieces (1.5 inch by 1.5 inch)

Note – Once you begin to add the milk powder, you need to work really fast as the syrups begins to cool and thicken as you add milk powder to it. Please not that the cooking time varies from using one brand of milk powder to another. (I speak from experience)

Note –You can add other aromatics such as vanilla extract or rose water / extract or cinnamon (or may be even orange blossom water) to add flavour to the fudge. We did not like the fudge without aromatics coz it tasted too ‘milky’ and not in a good way (it could possibly be the quality of milk powder that I used).

Note – Adding nuts is purely optional but they do give the fudge a lovely well rounded taste and texture. You can adjust the amount to taste. Also, I prefer toasting the nuts before adding them to the fudge =. It really enhances their taste and that of the fudge.

Note – I sliced the 12 sheer pira pieces further, to yield 24 pieces (4cm X 2cm X 2cm)

Thank you for your visit and see you soon again with another exciting recipe!

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