Deepavali is always a wonderful time to spend with family, relax and be thankful for all the blessings that we have in our life. It`s a celebration of good over evil and one which is celebrated in all parts of the world. I remember the times we used to pitch it and help with my grandmother to prepare all kinds of swweets and savouiries. I always had the role of rolling the boondhi in to Boondhi Laddoo balls. I also had the job of cutting out the diamonds for Special Madras Mixture. It was awesome to be able to partake all the festive feeling in the home. Now, far away from Madras, albeit only in spirit, I try to relive those moments with my kids. My daughter S helps me with rolling Laddoo Balls, and with making Kaju Katli. I had been wanting to make this Kaju Apple as a slight change from the regular Kaju Katli. You pretty much do the same thing, except that you shape these in to beautiful little apples, and involve the kids in painting them red and placing the cloves as the little stalk. Your own Deepavali DIY Project! Cute yet elegant!
1 Cup Cashew Nuts.
1/2 Cup Sugar.
1/4 Cup Water.
1-2 Drops Apple Essence(Optional)
1 Tsp Ghee to grease your hands before kneading .
1 Tbsp Saffron/ Yellow Food Colouring.
A few drops of Red Food Colouring.
A few drops of Green Food Colouring.
Handful of Cloves.
One Paint Brush.
- The first step is to pulse room temperature cashews in to a fine powder. In many places, people store all their nuts in the fridge or freezer to prevent it from becoming rancid. When you plan to make Kaju Katli or the Kaju Apples etc, keep the cashews out for at least 1-2 hours so they come down to room temperature. When they are ground cold, the heat from the mixer causes them to stick together and the powder is not as free flowing and fine.
- Take the measured quantity of cashew nuts and pop them in the mixer jar. Grind them steadily until it becomes a fine powder.
- Take two small glass bowls and add a few drops of red food colouring in one, and a few drops of green food colouring in the other.
- Soak the saffron strands in the 1/4 cup water required to make the sugar syrup.
- The next important step is bringing the sugar solution to “single string” consistency. This is needed for Boondhi Laddoos, Kaju Katli, Badushah, Mysore Pak and many other sweets.
- Take a wide mouthed heavy bottomed kadai and add a heaped 1/2 cup of organic/ regular white sugar. Top it with 1/4 cup of water( filter out the saffron or if you dont prefer the smell of saffron simply add just a few drops of yellow food colour) and set it on the stove on medium flame. Keep stirring the mixture on and off and after about 5 minutes you should see it bubbling and frothing. Slowly the sugar solution moves to a single string consistency. To check if the sugar solution has reached the required consistency, take a little of the syrup in the back of your ladle and try stretching it between your index finger and thumb. If this forms a fine string, then the required consistency is reached. This is a very important step and the coming together of the katli rests on the single string consistency.
- Add a few drops of the sugar syrup on to the cup with the red food coloring. Add about a tsp of canola to it and mix.
- Lower your flame to SIM and tip the ground cashew powder in to the kadai and keep on stirring until it reaches a slightly thicker mass. It would be still a little sticky but will the sugar will start hardening rapidly, so do not worry. It should look like sticky chappathi dough.
- Switch off the gas and remove from the heat. Wait for about 4-5 minutes.
- Clear a clean surface to work on and grease it with a little ghee.
- Now transfer the cashew dough to the greased surface and knead it gently with greased palms. This step is important to get a shiny smooth pliable dough. It just needs a little time to work on the dough. If you feel its still sticky, try adding a few drops of ghee and continue working on it. You could use disposable gloves if you feel its too hot to handle.
- The dough should get smooth and shiny on the outside and get in to a pliable round ball.
- Keep the following ready near your work station: – Cashew Dough Ball, Red Food Color Syrup, Green Food Color mixed with a few drops of oil, cloves, ghee, a skewer and a greased plate to set the “apples”.
- Shape the cashew dough in to round smooth ball and set aside on the plale. Continue and complete the dough by shaping them in to balls.
- Press a small depression on the head of each apple.
- Pick up an apple with the skewer and paint the red food colour all around the apples saving the depression on top.
- Colour the depression with a hint of the green food colour.
- Gently stick the cloves on to the hole created by the skewer.
- Just before serving, brush them all with melted ghee/ oil for a natural shine.
- Easy Kaju Apples are ready and make an excellent dessert for a Diwali party, or a birthday party.
- There are little tips and tricks that are part of any cooking process and they sometimes can make or break the dish. In this case, having room temperature cashews are important.
- For first timers, the sugar solution sometimes can get tricky, Its better to make this over a medium low flame when there is more time to check and react.
- If you have gone over the single string, there is less time to work on the dough as the sugar in the cashew dough solidifies very fast.
- The last tip is to make sure that the dough gets smooth and pliable. IF the sugar solution is single string then this should not be a problem. Knead the dough well with a few drops of ghee when its still warm.
- Keep all ingredients ready by your work station ass the whole process is done when the cashew dough is still warm.
- Please leave your comments on this post, with your observations and here`s to wishing you a Happy Deepavali.