I have an old defunct yogurt maker, gathering layers of dust somewhere at the back of a cupboard. I was so excited when I first got it, but I used this yogurt maker a few times, before tiring of it. It was messy, time consuming and always gave me mixed and varied results.I love real home-made yogurt; when it turns out well, it’s better than anything you will buy in a supermarket. When I learned that the SousVide Supreme could make yogurt, I knew I had to try it out.
I was extremely pleased with the results, and couldn’t believe how easy it was. The yogurt was thick, creamy, unctuous and delicious. It was miles better than any yogurt I have made before. As this device cooks at such a precise temperature, I get better, more consistent results. I also like the fact that I can make the yogurt in the same jars that I will store the yogurt in. There is no messy transferring of yogurt from flasks into jars.
So, as I now have a regular supply of home-made yogurt in my fridge, I started to experiment a little more. Shrikhand is one of the most divine Indian desserts I know. It’s essentially strained yogurt mixed with sugar, cardamom and saffron. It is such a light, fragrant and flavorsome dessert, it’s perfect after any meal. It’s traditionally topped with nuts, such as almonds or pistachios, and fresh fruit. When I strained my home-made yogurt, I was amazed at how much water drained off. I was left with intensely creamy and delicious Greek-style yogurt. To this I added beautiful golden saffron, fragrant cardamom and superfine sugar. This dessert tastes as if it’s made with soft whipped cream, but is, of course, made entirely of yogurt and much healthier. It is so light and fresh; it will leave you wanting more.
For the yogurt
- ½ cup (123g) of yogurt, at room temperature
- 4 cups (960ml) of milk
For the shrikhand
- Pinch of saffron
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) of water
- 1/8 teaspoon (0.5ml) of crushed cardamom seeds
- 4 tablespoons (60g ) of castor / superfine sugar
- Fresh mango, cut into cubes
- Roughly chopped, roasted (unsalted) pistachios
You will also need three 16 oz / 500ml glass canning jars.
- Fill the SousVide Supreme with enough water to almost cover the glass jars you are using. Leave a quarter-inch (6 mm) gap at the top of the jars uncovered by water. Preheat the SousVide Supreme to 105°F (41°C) and remove the jars.
- In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the milk until it reaches 185°F (85°C). Use a candy thermometer to determine the exact temperature. As soon as it has reached temperature, remove the saucepan from the heat and leave cool to 100 – 110°F (39 – 43°C). Once again use the candy thermometer to monitor the temperature. You can speed up the process by putting the saucepan in a basin of iced water. Keep a close eye on the temperature, as you do not want the temperature to go below 90°F (32°C), or you will need to reheat it.
- Whisk the plain yogurt into the milk and divide the mixture among the glass jars. Put some food safe cling wrap on top of the jars and secure with an elastic band. Carefully put the jars (without their lids) into the water bath and leave cook for at least 5 hours. I don’t put the metal lids on the canning jars as I don’t want them to rust.
- Once the yogurt has cooked for 5 hours, remove the jars from the water bath and allow them to cool fully before placing in the refrigerator. Once cool, tighten the lids onto the jars and leave in the fridge for a few hours. You can then consume this yogurt as is, or use the bulk of this yogurt to make the shrikhand.
- To make the shrikhand you will first need to prepare a strained Greek-style yogurt. To do this, put a large square of cheesecloth into a sieve over a large bowl. Take 2 cups (492g) of the yogurt from the jars and spoon it into the centre of the cheesecloth. Gather the sides of the cheesecloth and parcel it up, so that the yogurt can drain through. Tie a knot or use a clip to pull the cheesecloth into a parcel. Then, put the yogurt into the fridge and allow the water to drain from the yogurt for at least 5 hours.
- Discard the drained water and put the strained yogurt into a clean bowl. Mix the saffron with a tablespoon of warm water and leave to sit for a few minutes. Mix the sugar and crushed cardamom seeds into the strained yogurt. Then, pour in the water and saffron. Mix well together with a spoon.
- Spoon the shrikhand into two serving dishes. Garnish with crushed pistachios and fresh mango.
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