This Pista Barfi recipe with Gulkand is a delicious Indian sweet with an enhanced gulkand filling consisting of nuts, fennel seeds, and coconut sandwiched between two pista barfi layers.
It is a perfect recipe for the Diwali festival season and any other occasion where you want to serve a fudgy, soft, sweet with a melt-in-your-mouth consistency.
What is Pista Barfi Made of?
Barfi is an Indian sweet in the form of a fudge that has a soft melt-in-your-mouth consistency. There are many variations of it, however, the original barfi recipe is made of milk and sugar. This pista barfi recipe uses a base made with pistachios, which are low in carbs but high in protein. They are rich in antioxidants and are suitable for heart health. Pistachios are very nutty and strong in flavor, so if you feel the flavor is too strong, you always can tone down the pista barfi by replacing half of the pistachios with almond or cashew flour. Typically, any nut flour to sugar ratio in barfi is 2:1 by weight, but since we have used a sweet gulkand filling between the two layers, I have reduced the quantity of sugar to a 3:1 ratio.
When preparing the pista barfi dough, you can either buy pistachio powder or easily make pistachio powder at home using the steps provided in the recipe. Since I had pistachio powder in my pantry, I used that but both work well.
Gulkand Filling for Pista Barfi
Gulkand (Gul-kand) is a rose (gul) petal preserve (kand), most commonly used as a core ingredient in Meetha (sweet) Paan (beetle leaf). Paan or beetle leaf folded with Gulkand and other ingredients inside is used as a mouth freshener after a meal in northern India. This Meetha Paan is also good for digestion.
My initial attempt at this recipe was to replicate my favorite childhood pista paan flavors in some form of a dessert. As I attempted to do that, I quickly realized that the paan and pista flavors were not going well together. Both have very strong flavors which were fighting each other, so this led to the creation of my Pista Barfi with Gulkand recipe.
A quick internet search will reveal the cooling properties of Gulkand, which provides relief from many body heat-related ailments such as acidity, boils, and ulcers. It also aids in improving digestion and increasing appetite. It is one of the few ayurvedic medicines that taste yummy! I have further enhanced it by adding other nuts and seeds, which help reduce the sweetness of the gulkand.
How To Make Pista Barfi
This pista barfi recipe with an enhanced gulkand filling takes approximately 15 minutes to prepare, so it comes together quickly. The steps for this recipe are as follows:
- Make pistachio powder as specified in this recipe, or buy ground pistachio flour. If you decide to make your pistachio powder at home, roast the pistachios in slow heat to heat them for 10-15 minutes, but do not change the color. Once roasted pistachios are cool down, ground them into small batches to form a pistachio powder that makes the pista barfi dough.
- Prepare the gulkand stuffing mixture containing finely chopped cashews, almonds, pistachios, crushed fennel seeds, shredded coconut, and cardamom powder. Simply mix them all and set them aside for your filling.
- Prepare pista barfi recipe, a combination of sugar syrup, milk, pistachio powder, cardamom powder, and ghee. It all gets mixed together over medium-low heat to form a pista barfi dough which is then kneaded, divided in half, and rolled out to form the two flat spreads for the sandwich.
Simply spread the gulkand mixture over one of the flattened pista barfi dough and put the other flattened layer on top to make a sandwich. Cut the dough into your desired shape to create individual sandwiched barfis.
Decorating for a Festive Touch
You can add any or all of the following decorations:
- Decorate with edible silver foil on the top to bring out the rich festive look of the barfi.
- Spread some dry pistachios on top.
- Decorate with dry rose petals.
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Pista Barfi Recipe with Gulkand
- 3 sheets Silver foil
To make pistachio powder:
- First, roast the pistachio on very slow heat for 15 minutes. Roasting should not change the color of the pistachio, but just heat them up. Roasting makes it easier to make powder, without releasing the oil while grinding.
- Now let them cool down before grounding them into powder.
- Once cool, you can use you can use Nutri Bullet or any other grinder to grind them. Just make sure not to overload the grinder. Do in small batches. Pulse it. Do not run the grinder for long times.
- Lastly sieve the powder to remove any unground or big pieces of pistachio. You may grind these again.
- Take gulkand in a mixing bowl and add finely chopped cashews, almonds, pistachios, crushed fennel seeds, shredded coconut, and cardamom powder.
- Mix it well and keep it aside.
Pista Barfi recipe:
- In this whole process heat should be medium low. Take a non-stick pan and heat it up.
- Add sugar and water to make a single string sugar syrup.
- When all the sugar is dissolved in water, add 2 tablespoon of milk in the syrup to remove all the gunk from the syrup. The milk will form the scum on top of the syrup, remove it with help of a small strainer.
- To check if the sugar syrup is ready put a small drop on your four finger and thumb and pull the finger apart to check if the string forms between your fingers.
- Don’t burn yourself as syrup will be hot. You need to act fast because the consistency of syrup changes really quickly. If the suga syrupcy changes to more thickerconsistency then your barfi will be really chewy. To bring back the right consistensy of sugar syrup add one or two tablespoon of water.
- When the syrup is ready, first add cardamom powder and then pistachio powder in it. Quickly mix together in the syrup. If the whole thing is not coming together, you might need to add a little bit of milk to help in getting everything together.
- Keep mixing until the mixture starts leaving the pan. once the mixture start leaving the pan add 1 teaspoon of ghee and mix to glaze the mixture.
- Remove the mixture from the pan and put it on the parchment sheet.
- Keep kneading the dough with spatula to bring it together as a dough.
- The next step is to flatten out the dough. there are two ways to achieve that. You can simply use the spatula to flatten it or you can either roll it with a rolling pin. If you decide to use the rolling pin, first put the parchment paper on the top to make sure that mixture does no stick to the rolling pin.
- You will need two flat sheets to make a sandwich with gulkand in between them. So you can either make two flats or divide a single flat in two parts.
- Spread the gulkand over one of the flattened sheet barfi dough and the put the other flattened barfi layer on the top to make a sandwich. Use the parchment paper to help you lift the other layer and flip it over the spread.
- Put another parchment sheet on the top and roll it with a rolling pin lightly to bond the three layers together.
- Now, remove the parchment sheet and cut it into your desired shape. Note, before making a final cut, make some guiding grid, to make sure all your pieces look similar in size and shape.