The festival of lights, can be the occasion to indulge in quite a few calorie laden and very rich as in very fattening sweet meats or mithai. Indulging in wisely is the key, otherwise we find our hearts lighter and the scale heavier by the end of the festive season. This particular dessert is the rule breaker. This is so rich and wonderful in taste, that we almost miss the fact that this has no added sugar – gasp, seriously no added sugar or fat to the fudge. Oh my! These can be quite addictive . They are such a delish to make and absolutely wonderful to indulge in. And they are truly versatile. You can add in any kind of nuts and dried fruits you like. The two main key ingredients forming the base are figs and pitted dates. Just make sure you get these in, and let your imagination take over. Prep time : 15 min Cooking time About : 15 min Yield : 36-40 fudge pieces/ ladoos
Ingredients : ( For measurements , I used the standard pyrex glass measure. Not very accurate I suppose, but served the purpose nevertheless.)
- Dried figs : about 2 whole cups
- Pitted dates : 1 cup. Finely chopped.
- Mixed Raw Nuts : walnuts,almonds, pistachios and cashews : 1.5 cups total – Finely chopped
- Flavorless oil or ghee : 2 tbsp.
- Few strands of saffron
- Crushed cardamom pods – 6 nos.
- In a large sauce pan, boil about 3 cups of water. Dunk in the dried figs, so they soften and rehydrate. The process should take about 10 min. Note you are not boiling the figs. Just added the figs to the hot boiling water and keep it covered.
- Once the figs are softened, puree them in a blender.
- In a large heavy bottomed saucepan, preferably non stick one, add just a tbsp of the fat of your choice to grease the pan.
- Add in the pureed figs and cook on medium heat for about 7- 10 minutes. By now the gooey mass of fig puree would be supremely sticky.
- Add in the crushed saffron strands and cardamom pods at this stage if using.
- Mix well and turn off the heat.
- Add in the chopped dates and nuts and stir well. You should have a nice mass of fruit and nut mixture by now. ( Note : If you think it is not in a thick mass, by all means heat up the mix again for a few minutes. usually 5 more minutes should do the trick.)
- Meanwhile take a baking tray of your choice, or a thin rimmed platter should do the trick as well and grease it with the remaining tbsp of fat of your choice.
- Add in the dry fruits and nuts mixture and pat it down so it can set in evenly.
- Let it rest for a few minutes say about 5-7 minutes , and with a greased or ceramic knife cut in the squares or patterns of your choice.
- Let it set in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.
- Dish out the pieces and enjoy .
- Roll up the pieces to form spherical balls or ladoos for variety. Also, please do note that these are soft set fudge .
Verdict: Awesome ! The crunch from the figs, the sweetness of the dates, the nutty indulgences all makes this a royal dessert. Go ahead and indulge. This one is definitely worth it!