Soft, spiced, and sweet, milk barfi (or burfi) is an Indian sweet that looks like fudge and is made especially for Divali, Eid and Indian ceremonies.
In T&T, this barfi recipe is typically made with milk powder, cream, a spiced syrup and topped with rainbow sprinkles. Of course, you can add pistachios and nuts too.
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For this recipe, I used:
- full cream powdered milk: full fat or full cream powdered milk adds to the taste and richness of the milk barfi. You can get it on Amazon here.
- reconstituted thick cream: This isn’t like cooking cream or whipping cream. It has a much thicker consistency, slightly beige color, and often comes in a can. I typically use the Nestle cream.
- sugar: white granulated sugar is usually used for this recipe. Other types of sugar will discolor the barfi.
- ginger: this adds a wonderful flavor.
- cardamom: or elychee (find on Amazon) is also used for flavor. You can also add pinches of cinnamon and nutmeg as well, though this is not usually done.
- sprinkles: rainbow nonpareils (tiny rounded ones) and sprinkles (slightly elongated ones) are most often used to top the barfi. You can try pistachios as well.
Equipment for this recipe
You don’t need any special equipment for this recipe other than a small grater or zester and a sifter or sieve or strainer. A food processor can make the mixing and sifting easier as well but it is not necessary.
How to make Trini barfi
Prepare the ingredients
Step 1: The main prep for this recipe involves peeling and finely grating the ginger. I used a zester for this but any mini grater will work.
Prepare the milk
Step 2: Place the milk powder into a large bowl. Pour the cream over the powder. The larger the bowl the better because this process can get a little messy when using a tiny bowl.
Step 3: Work the cream into the powdered milk. It will form large clumps, but continue rubbing the mixture until it becomes powdery again. This will take about 10 to 15 minutes of mixing. A food processor can help here if you don’t have the time (or the energy).
Step 4: In small batches, sift the powdery mixture, breaking up any lumps along the way. This can also take some time (probably another 10 to 15 minutes).
Step 5: Set aside for later.
Prepare the syrup (paag)
Step 6: Place a large saucepan on medium heat. Add the prepared grated ginger, cardamom, sugar and enough water to dissolve the sugar.
Step 7: Stir occasionally. Reduce the heat to low and leave to boil for about 15 to 20 minutes. The paag (the Indian word we use for the syrup) is ready when it (1) starts thickening, (2) becomes frothy on the top, (3) forms a recrystallized sugar layer on the sides of the pot, (4) reaches close to 230°F, and (5) the last drops off a spoon falls from two spots. Basically, the syrup should be on the verge of forming threads.
Step 8: When ready, turn off the heat but keep the syrup on the hot stove. If you are in a colder climate, the syrup may harden on you. If this happens, add a little more water and turn the heat back on to low.
Mix syrup and milk
Step 9: Pour half of the syrup over the sifted milk-cream powder. Be careful since hot syrup can burn your skin badly.
Step 10: Mix the syrup into the powder using a spoon or spatula.
Step 11: Continue adding more syrup to the milk until the mixture holds its shape when squeezed and no longer falls apart.
Set the barfi
Step 12: Butter a small baking dish or tray with sides.
Step 13: Spoon the mixture onto the baking tray. Press down using the spatula, back of a spoon or the palm of your hand to compress the mixture and remove any air pockets. Make sure to compress the edges too as they tend to fall apart a bit when breaking the barfi later on.
Step 14: Add the sprinkles and press on them to squeeze them into the barfi. Doing this will prevent the sprinkles from falling off later on.
Step 15: Set aside for about 10 minutes to cool.
Step 16: Place the blade of a thin knife in bowl of warm water to heat up a bit. Remove the knife (don’t dry it) and cut the barfi into squares. Go slowly since the top of the barfi can crumble on you. You can also dip the knife back into the warm water before cutting again. Sometimes, my aunt uses a ruler to score the barfi first before cutting into the mixture.
Step 17: Set aside to cool completely and harden. This can take a couple hours. Once hardened, cut along the edges of the tray and along the already cut lines. Carefully remove the barfi from the tray and enjoy.
Trini milk barfi recipe
Trini Milk Barfi Recipe
- 650 g full cream milk powder
- 150 g cream
- 425 g granulated sugar (1/2 pack of 850 g pack)
- 210 mL water (approx.)
- 1/2 tbsp ginger (finely grated)
- 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
- 3 tbsp rainbow nonpareils or sprinkles
- Wash, peel and finely grate the ginger.
- Add milk powder and cream to a large bowl.
- Mix the cream into the powder for about 10 to 15 minutes. The mixture should form clumps before becoming powdery again (a food processor can help).
- Add a small amount of the powdery mixture to a sieve.
- Sift this mixture over a clean bowl. Break up any lumps.
- Repeat until the milk-cream mixture is completely sifted.
- Set aside.
- Place a large saucepan on medium heat.
- Add sugar, water, ginger and cardamom powder to the pan.
- Stir to dissolve the sugar.
- Reduce the heat to low.
- Leave to boil for 15 to 20 minutes until the syrup becomes thicker, frothy, forms a sugar layer on the sides of the pan, approaches 230°F, drops off the spoon at two spots and is on the verge of forming threads.
- Add half of the finished syrup carefully to the sifted milk and cream.
- Combine using a spoon or spatula.
- Continue adding small amounts of the syrup until the mixture holds its shape when compressed and does not fall apart.
- Butter a baking tray or dish.
- Add the mixture to the tray.
- Squeeze down to compress the mixture and remove any air pockets (don’t forget the edges).
- Top with the nonpareils or sprinkles. Press them into the barfi mixture.
- Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
- Soak the blade of a thin knife in warm water.
- Use the warmed, wet knife to score and cut the barfi into squares. Do not remove the barfi yet.
- Set aside to cool completely and harden (approx 3 hours).
- Run the knife along the edges and the cut lines.
- Remove the barfi from the tray. Serve or parcel and gift friends and family.