Kalakand is an Indian sweet. My mother, who was born in New Delhi, loves this treat. My brother and one of my sisters don’t think much of it, but my other sister and I adore it, just like our mother. We three kalakand lovers aren’t sad that it’s not to everyone’s taste, because that means there’s more for us.
Kalakand is creamy and sweet, packed with thin almond slices and subtly flavoured with cardamom. We decorate ours with chopped pistachios, and I love the contrast the green and brown make against the pale cheese.
This candy is a welcome addition to a sweet tray, but is wonderful by itself or with a hot cup of tea. (It’s also delicious straight out of the fridge for breakfast.)
Cardamom Ricotta Squares
Makes about 40 pieces
Adapted from the kalakand recipe in the I.D.E.A. Indian Cookbook
1 lb. ricotta cheese
1/2 cup + 2 Tbs white sugar
1/2 cup salted butter
3/4 cup flaked almonds
2-3 Tbs unsalted pistachios, chopped
½ tsp ground cardamom
Grease a 9” x 5” loaf pan and line it with parchment paper. Leave the parchment paper long enough on the ends to use as handles when removing it from the pan. Melt the butter in a deep, wide saucepan over medium heat. Add the ricotta and mix well, stirring continuously for about 20 to 25 minutes so it does not burn. When the mixture starts to look like a soft dough, add the almonds and sugar and stir for about 10 to 15 minutes or until the mixture pulls together. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the ground cardamom. Spread evenly into your prepared pan. Sprinkle the chopped pistachios over the surface, pressing them lightly into the mixture. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour. To cut into squares, loosen the sides of the candy and pull it out of the pan in one solid block. Using a sharp knife, carefully slice the block into small squares. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Remove from the fridge about 20 minutes before serving.
• This sweet should stay fresh for a week in the fridge.