PASSION FRUIT KAJU KATLI BLONDIES
Diwali is around the corner, and I enjoy making mithais for the family. I do not go overboard, but making a couple of them is definitely fun! I like to bring my own twist, with fusion flavors in the mithai, making them fun and interesting.
I have the fondest memories of spending Diwali in Mumbai with my family, and friends. It mostly involved dressing up in new, fancy clothes, eating lots of good food, welcoming visitors to our place, going to people’s homes to visit them, bursting fire crackers, giving and receiving gifts, and for my mom – most importantly cleaning the house!
Mom made a ton of sweet and savory snacks, each and everyone made with so much love. I loved helping her in the kitchen make the goodies. The memories are etched in my mind, forever. She made all the Gujarati mithais – that friends and family cherished whole heartedly.
I bring my own twist to the mithais I make during Diwali. Passion fruits are grown in abundance in California, and I get the most beautiful, fruity, floral passion fruits from www.rincontropics.com . Nick has been very generous and kind to send me the beautiful produce from his farms.
I made these absolutely delicious and soft Passion Fruit Kaju(Cashew) Katli Blondies with the passion fruit juice that I extracted from the fresh passion fruit.
EGGLESS CASHEW BLONDIE LAYER:
I first make a cashew blondie layer that is eggless! The blondies have finely chopped pieces of lightly toasted cashew nuts, to enhance the flavor of the cashews throughout the mithai. The dough is quite less, because I want a thin layer throughout the pan.I use an 8×8 inch baking pan that is covered in parchment paper(for an easy lift). The dough forms a thin layer. It is baked for literally 8 to 9 minutes.
PASSION FRUIT KAJU(CASHEW) KATLI LAYER:
The second layer is the passion fruit kaju katli. The ingredients of basic kaju katli are:
- Finely ground cashew nuts
- Granulated sugar
- Coarsely crushed cardamom seeds
- A bit of oil
That is it! Instead of using water, I use pure passion fruit juice and make a passion fruit sugar syrup with the cardamom and saffron. Then once the mixture starts boiling, I add the finely ground, and sifted cashew nut mixture and keep stirring for a total of 8 to 9 minutes. You do not want to cook it further else it hardens quickly and does not remain pliable.
The trick to soft kaju katli is to wrap it in parchment paper for 7 minutes, to retain the moisture once cooked. Then using a plastic scraper, knead the dough (because it is too hot to handle it by hand), such that it cools down and is not sticky and looks smooth and shiny.
You want to roll it out thin with the help of parchment paper on the top and bottom, such that you get a rough 9×9 inch square (¼ inch thickness). Cut off the edges and with the help of the parchment paper, slap it onto the cooled blondie layer. You have to take a flat measuring cup or an offset spatula to smoothen the layer out. Let it cool for 5 minutes. Then remove it from the pan and lay the silver foil on top of the katli layer in a non-uniform fashion. You want it to look uneven.
Using a ruler, cut the katli first in vertical slices, 1 inch apart. Then lay the ruler at an angle, from the left hand or the right hand corner, and cut out 1 inch straight lines, to form diagonal pieces. Using an offset spatula, carefully remove each piece, and put it into an airtight container. You can place a parchment paper on top of the bottom layer, and put more katlis on top of the paper. Store at room temperature for 5-7 days.
CAN I USE MANGO JUICE TO MAKE MANGO KAJU KATLI?
I have not tried this, but it is definitely possible. Do not use mango puree. Use mango juice, where the consistency is almost like water. For example, use Mazaa (mango juice available in bottles in the Indian store), and thin it out slightly with water, such that it is water consistency. Make sure to use the same volume as the passion fruit juice.
WHERE CAN I BUY THE SILVER FOIL FROM?
Here is the link to the edible silver foil that I bought from Amazon. They are always good to keep at hand for decoration of your edible goods! It makes for a pretty presentation.
WHERE CAN I BUY PLASTIC DOUGH SCRAPER FROM?
The link is here. I find this tool very useful for kneading the hot katli mixture. I also use it all the time for kneading any kind of sticky dough, as I wait for the gluten to develop.
Hope these tips are useful for you. If you do make these beautiful katli blondies, please do not forget to tag #thejamlab on Instagram and/or leave a comment on this blog post.
PASSION FRUIT KAJU KATLI BLONDIES
- Cashew Blondie Layer:
- 4 tbsp (56 gms) melted unsalted butter
- 1 tsp (5 gms) olive oil
- ⅓ cup(65gms) light brown sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla
- ½ cup (60 gms) all purpose flour
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- ⅛ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 8 lightly toasted cashew nuts, finely chopped
- Sugar glue:
- 2 tbsp (15 g) confectioner’s sugar
- 1 tsp water
- Passion Fruit Kaju Katli:
- 90 gms passion fruit juice (from 5 to 6 passion fruits)
- ¾ cup + 2 tbsp (175 g) granulated sugar
- 2 cups (200g) finely ground cashew nuts, strain the mixture to get a fine powder
- ¼ tsp cardamom seeds, coarsely ground in a mortar/pestle
- A pinch of saffron
- 1 tsp neutral oil(like vegetable oil, canola oil, grapeseed oil etc.) or ghee
- Americolor Yellow Color Gel
- Edible silver foil
- Equipment and Tools:
- 8-inch baking pan
- Cooking spray
- Parchment papers
- Plastic dough scraper
- Small offset spatula
- Stainless steel ruler
- Sharp knife
- Pastry brush
- Cashew Blondie Layer:
- Prepare an 8 inch square baking pan, by using cooking spray inside. Add a parchment paper with flaps to go over 2 opposite ends(so it is easy to remove the end product). Spray again with cooking spray on the parchment paper. Add another parchment paper with flaps going over the other 2 opposite sides. Set it aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a medium bowl, add the all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Whisk to combine.
- In a medium bowl, add the melted butter, olive oil, and light brown sugar. Using a rubber spatula, mix the ingredients to combine.
- Add the vanilla extract and mix to combine. Gradually add the flour mixture and whisk to combine. Add the cashew nuts and mix to combine.
- Add the blondie dough into the pan and using a flat offset spatula, or the bottom of a measuring cup, level out the layer. The layer is very thin and you may need to use your hands as well to push the dough up until the sides of the pan. Place the baking pan into the middle rack of the oven for 8 minutes.
- Remove the pan after 8 minutes. Bang the pan 2 to 3 times, for the layer to settle. Set aside to cool.
- Sugar Glue:
- Mix the confectioner’s sugar and water in a small bowl, until it is smooth.
- Passion Fruit Kaju Katli:
- (NOTE: To remove passion fruit juice, remove the pulp into a medium mesh strainer, over a bowl. Using a rubber spatula, push the pulp against the strainer to remove as much juice as possible. Run the spatula from the bottom of the strainer to extract the juice as well.)
- While the cookie layer is cooling, start making the kaju katli.
- In a medium saucepan, on medium heat, add the passion fruit juice and granulated sugar, along with the cardamom and saffron. Add a drop of yellow color as well. Once the sugar dissolves, the water will come to a boil - this will take about 2 minutes.
- Immediately, add the ground cashews, and using a rubber spatula, start stirring the mixture continuously and pressing the mixture against the pan with the spatula, and continue this process for about 8 to 9 minutes. You can lower the temperature slightly half way through the process.
- The mixture will be sticky initially, but you have to keep mixing it. Add a teaspoon of the oil, after the mixture looks cohesive, about 2 to 3 minutes into the process.
- You will know that the mixture is close to done when it leaves the sides of the pan as you are stirring it with the spatula. The mixture will not be as sticky. Do not overmix after 8 or 9 minutes, else as the mixture cools down, it will dry out and harden.
- Immediately add the mixture onto a parchment paper, spread it out slightly. Cover with the parchment paper and turn it upside down to seal in the moisture. Let it sit there for about 7 minutes to cool down slightly, so you can handle it.
- After it has cooled down slightly, you can either use the parchment paper itself to knead the dough, or use a plastic dough scraper to knead the dough. Knead the mixture for 5 minutes, to make the dough smooth. If you are using the parchment paper, you will take the end of the paper and wrap the dough over itself. Repeat the process from the other side of the paper. Keep this process going for 5 minutes to knead the dough.
- Now, spread the dough with your greased fingers, or with the scraper, into a rough square shape.
- Place another parchment paper on top of the dough and roll it out to about ¼ inch thick. You want to get a rough 8 inch square. Use the scraper to remove the excess by measuring the rolled dough with a ruler. You can keep the scraps on the side to munch on later.
- Use the Sugar Glue and a pastry brush to brush the glue onto the blondie, such that the Katli layer will adhere to it.
- With the help of the parchment paper, and the dough on the paper, place it on your palm and quickly invert it into the baking pan. Some of the dough will break. You simply place it in the unfilled corners and even out the layer. Use an offset spatula or the bottom of a measuring cup to smoothen out the katli layer on top of the blondie layer. You can use your fingers too, to gently dab the sides to even out the layer.
- Gently add the edible silver foil onto the bar. You will have to add a few edible silver squares to cover the layer here and there.
- Decoration and Cut:
- Rest the blondies for 15 minutes. Remove it from the pan with the help of the overhang, onto a cutting board.
- Using a stainless steel ruler and a sharp knife, measure and cut straight lines across the width of the bar, about 1 inch apart.
- Starting at the left hand corner, using the ruler and knife, measure and cut straight lines, diagonally across the bar, about 1 inch apart to get diamond shaped bars. You will have some end pieces which are not exactly diamond shaped. They are still edible and must be placed on the serving tray!
- Place all the pieces on the serving tray, in whatever pattern you like.
- They can be stored in an airtight container, in a single layer, outside for about 5 to 7 days.