Pineapple Kesari

I realized that I hadn’t posted any sweet/dessert yet on my blog, and I was making something special for one of my friends. I looked in my fridge and I had a lot of fruits in there. The last few words should make my Mom happy. 🙂  So, I decided to make a fruit based sweet. Somehow, Indian desserts are more milk based than fruit based. Other cultures go-to desserts seem to be fruit based, like pies and cobblers. I wonder why..The only fruit based dessert that I could think of, with what I had on hand was Pineapple Kesari.

The word ‘Kesari’ is not a tamil word. Surprised?? (So, was I :)) It is a Sanskrit word that means ‘saffron flower’. I assume the tamil word is derived from the usage of the saffron strands in the preparation of the sweet ‘kesari’, that imparts the saffrony color to the sweet. So much so that, we refer to the food color as ‘kesari color’. I almost feel guilty writing this recipe, coss I didn’t use any saffron in my preparation of kesari. The next time I make this sweet, it will stay true to its namesake. Thats a promise.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups chopped pineapple

1 1/2 cups of roasted white sooji(rava)

3 cups sugar

4 1/2 cups water

3 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)

1 tbsp chopped cashews

1 tbsp raisins

pinch of salt

1/4 tsp cardamom powder

yellow food color – 4 drops

Method:

Add the chopped pineapple to a blender, and pulse so that you have a slightly grainy pulp. Remove. Measure 4 1/2 cups of water and use it to rinse the blender, making sure you get every bit of pineapply flavor out of it.

In a nonstick pan, over medium heat, melt 1 tbsp ghee, add the cashews and fry until golden brown. Add the raisins and fry until they plump up. In the same pan, add the rava, and fry till golden brown and a nice aroma hits you, remove and cool. I had double roasted rava on hand, and so I skipped this step. Add the water, to the same pan and bring to a boil. Add the pinch of salt to the water. When the water boils, remove the pan from the heat and add the rava. Switch to a whisk now, if you have one and slowly incorporate the rava into the water. It is not traditional to remove the pan from the heat, but I find that if you leave it on, there is a lot of spluttering, and nobody wants to make something sweet while crying from pain. 🙂

Keep whisking, off the heat, until the rava absorbs a little bit of water and is becoming this homogenous mass. Make sure there are no lumps. Now return the pan to the stovetop, still whisking. This is not a dish, where you can leave it on the stove and walk away, it needs a lot of babying, just to make sure there are no lumps. When the rava is completely cooked, add the sugar, and mix well. The sugar will make the mixture liquidy, don’t be alarmed. Let it cook and incorporate into the rava. As it thickens, add the pinapple pulp to the kesari. Add the cardamom powder, the fried cashews and raisins and the yellow food color. After mixing in all the ingredients, slowly add the 2 tbsp ghee, and mix until the kesari forms together and starts leaving the sides of the pan. Switch off stove, enjoy!

This recipe uses way less ghee than it is supposed to. Naturally, it won’t taste as rich as the fall of the spoon, kovil prasadham types. Feel free to add more sugar/ghee to add richness.

Verdict: It tasted good but not sinful. My husband said it could have more ghee, but other than that it tasted good. The pineapple flavor was spot on. It was not too sweet either, in other words, it didn’t ‘thegatify’. LOL

Sending this delicious sweet ‘Celebrate Sweets: Halwa’ Event by Nivedita.

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