During: Shredded coconut, plucked from the grocer's shelf.
Coconut Burfi - Slightly adapted from Savoring the Spice Coast of India - Fresh Flavors from Kerala
1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
3/4 cup water
3 cups sweetened, shredded coconut
1/4 cup half and half
1/4 cup non-fat milk powder
1 tablespoon ghee (clarified butter)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Carefully add the sugar and water to a heavy, large saucepan. You do not have to stir to combine; the sugar will melt and mix with the water as it heats. Cook the sugar water over medium heat for approximately 17 minutes, until thickened and slightly golden colored, to the one thread stage. (223 - 234 degrees F on a candy thermometer. For those inexperienced with candymaking, a thermometer is a godsend, but not essential.)
Combine the half and half and the powdered milk in a small bowl, mixing to dissolve the milk. As soon as the sugar syrup reaches the right consistency, quickly add the shredded coconut, then the dairy mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon. Continue to stir the coconut and syrup mixture over medium heat until the mixture thickens somewhat, then stir in the ghee and vanilla extract. It will turn a very pale ivory color. Again, continue to stir until the mixture thickens considerably and dries out to at least 1/3 less than its original volume. It will start to get close to completion when you can see the bottom of the saucepan as you drag the spoon across it, and the bubbling, lava-like edges of the mixture disappear. I let the mixture set a moment to toast it slightly darker. This also helped to dry it out more. Turn out the mixture into a cake pan (approximately 9 inches) lined with well-greased parchment paper or foil, spreading it evenly. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before scoring the burfi into squares, diamonds or triangles. Do not fully cut through. Allow it to cool another 10 minutes, then cut around the circumference to loosen the burfi from the pan. Turn out the burfi onto a cutting surface to complete cutting through the shapes. Peel off the parchment paper or foil. Makes approximately 16 squares. --
After: The sweetest, buttery blond fudge, plucked from the pan.
[Whip It Up Wednesday is an occasional post featuring recipes that only look like you slaved over them all day. Don't be daunted. Even though this involves careful watching, this is an easy recipe that will be ready in about an hour.]