Make these colorful and easy apple and coconut fudge bars (burfi or barfi) for a delicious treat. Soft, slightly chewy and utterly delicious, these moreish burfi are made with the goodness of juicy red apples and fresh coconut, flavored with cardamom and saffron, and topped with pistachios and almonds.
As I sit down to draft this post, the Happy & Harried household is embroiled in a funny drama involving a loose tooth and a very grumpy 6-year-old. The tooth is barely hanging on, but said 6-year-old is not allowing any sort of interference as to speed up the process. I should probably give him a slice of apple to bite on. I try to be sympathetic but there are far too many instances while raising this kid that are just so funny!
Speaking of apples, I absolutely love them. They are a complete meal in themselves and are used widely in American/Western desserts. Think cakes, pies, crumbles and more. But apples are sorely underused in Indian cuisine. Most often, they simply get tossed with other fruit slices and served with vanilla ice cream in what is known as “fruit salad”. Delicious, but lacking in creativity, if you ask me.
Sweet, crisp red apples are great to cook with and use in desserts where you need both flavor and texture. I had this crazy idea to make apple burfi for a long time. And after some tweaking, I think I have a recipe worth sharing with you all.
Burfi (also spelled barfi or burfee) is a fudge-like Indian dessert. They can be made with basically anything, but most commonly, milk solids, lentil flour (besan), grated coconut or fruits are used. Burfi might sound intimidating if you have never made them before, but the process is very simple. You have to cook the main ingredient with some sugar and ghee, reduce to a thick fudgy texture, allow to set and cut into bars. Burfi is basically halwa gone a step further. Many times, if my burfi just isn’t where I want it to be, I serve it in a bowl as halwa!
While trying out apple burfi, I found that the recipe benefited by adding some coconut to the mixture so that it is easier to hold its shape and texture. This apple-coconut burfi is soft, slightly chewy, and sweet with just a hint of tartness from the apples that plays really well with the overall richness of the burfi. Topped with chopped pistachios and almonds, this turned out very pretty as well.
To begin, lightly toast the grated coconut (fresh or frozen works) for just a minute. You do not want it to brown, but just enough to bring out the coconutty flavor better. Remove to a bowl and cook the grated apples in ghee till the fruit is fairly soft and dry. Choose apples which are crisp and firm so that they don’t turn to mush while cooking. Now it is time to return the coconut to the pan along with some milk powder (to add richness), sugar, cardamom (for flavor) and a bit of saffron or food color (for color). The sugar will introduce some liquid as it melts, keep stirring and cooking till everything is well combined. In a short while, the entire mixture will come together as one thick mass. As soon as you see the ghee separating, it is time to pour it into a greased or lined tray and allow to set till firm, so that you can cut it into bars to serve. Burfi is a great make-ahead dessert for parties or potluck especially during busy festival season. The burfi stays good in the refrigerator for a few days and I actually found that the flavor improved in a day or two!
- Coconut - 1½ cups, grated (fresh or frozen)
- Ghee - 3 tbsp
- Red apples - 3 heaped cups, coarsely grated
- Milk powder - 1 cup
- Sugar - ¾ cup
- Cardamom powder - ½ tsp
- Saffron - a pinch (steeped in 1 tbsp warm milk or water)
- Salt - a pinch
- Pistachios - 2 tbsp, chopped
- Almonds - 2tbsp, chopped
- Dried rose petals - 1 tbsp
- Grease a metal tray or baking pan with a bit of ghee and set aside. Alternately, you can line the tray with parchment paper.
- Toast the coconut in a large skillet or saute pan on medium-low heat for a minute. Do not brown, you just need to bring of the nuttiness of the coconut. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
- Melt the ghee in the same pan. Add grated apples and cook, stirring often. The fruit will let out some liquid, you need to cook till it is fairly dry.
- Then add the toasted coconut, milk powder, sugar, cardamom powder, salt and saffron. Mix well and cook till the mixture becomes fairly dry and comes together to form a soft, fudgy mass. This will take another 10 minutes or so. At this point, you will see the ghee separating at the sides.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared tray and smooth the top with a spoon. Sprinkle chopped nuts and rose petals evenly on top and press down slightly with a spoon.
- Allow it to cool down to room temperature, then cover the tray with cling wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
- Cut the burfi into bars and serve. Burfi can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
2. If you do not have saffron, feel free to omit it. If you still need some color for the burfi, add a few drops of yellow food color.
Apple-coconut burfi is a great twist to the more classic coconut or carrot (halwa) burfis. Do try this unique way of using apples in a classic Indian dessert.
Pin and share this recipe if you liked it. Make this burfi for dessert at your next dinner party and wow your friends as they try to figure out the delicious combination in this sweet treat.
(Find more burfi and halwa recipes after this image.)
Lauki or bottle gourd halwa (can also be made into burfi).
Pumpkin halwa (can also be made into burfi).
Beetroot halwa (can also be made into burfi).
What is your favorite kind of burfi? Do share any recipes you have.
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