Shahi Tukra – royal bread pudding with rosewater pistachios and saffron

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Written by SUMAYYA USMANI

From the humble origins of a dessert that uses up leftover bread, to finding its way to Mughal royal kitchens with the addition of exotic saffron and pistachios, this shahi tukra is always a wonderfully rich ending to a lavish meal. Literally translating as a royal piece of bread it does not take time to prepare and is always best made a day in advance.

Serves 8-10

INGREDIENTS

  • 70 g caster sugar
  • 5 tbsp tap water
  • 5-6 tbsp of ghee
  • 5-6 slices of stale white bread, crusts removed, cut into 2 triangles
  • 1 pint whole milk (can substitute with almond or soya milk)
  • 1 tsp cardamom seeds, ground
  • 1 large pinch of saffron, ground in a pestle and mortar
  • 3 tsp cornflour, made into a paste with 1-2 tsp of milk
  • 3 tbsp of ricotta, drained in muslin for 1 hour
  • A handful of almond flakes and sliced pistachios
  • Silver leaf, to decorate (optional)

METHOD

Place the sugar and 5 tbsp of tap water (enough to saturate the sugar) in a saucepan set over medium heat. Make a thin sugar syrup and then take off the heat.

Heat 1 tbsp of ghee in a frying pan and fry the pieces of bread on both sides until golden brown. Once the bread is fried, soak the bread in the sugar syrup until soft and then place overlapping, in a shallow serving dish.

In another saucepan, heat milk with cardamom and saffron – bring to a boil and cook, constantly stirring, for 15-20 minutes until the milk reduces in quantity a little. Add the cornflour paste and ricotta, stir in and allow to thicken.

Add the nuts and cook for 2-3 minutes. Pour the mixture over the sugar-soaked bread and top with more nuts.

Refrigerate until cold, or serve warm (but allow the bread to soak in the milk, at least 30 minutes after preparation). Top with silver leaf if you wish.

For more Pakistani recipes, check out Good Things magazine’s Pakistani dawwat banquet.


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