Firnee is a sweet, cardamom-scented Afghan pudding that is usually reserved for holidays and special events. Firnee is paraded out at the end of each of occasion with each hostess putting her own personal “stamp” on the dish -- rose water in one, nuts in another – giving each firnee its own unique flavor.
My personal favorite is a firnee that is gently scented with cardamom and topped with chopped pistachios. However, recently I added coconut and almonds to the pudding while it was cooking. It was heavenly delicious and I had to share this news with you.
And although it’s not traditional, I like to serve the dish topped with fresh seasonal fruit such as pomegranate. The photos reflect a traditional firnee and one decorated with fresh fruit.
Cardamom Pudding with Pistachios
6 tbsp. cornstarch
3 cups whole milk
½ cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 cup slivered almonds, roasted (optional)
1/4 cup coconut chips, similar to Trader Joe's (optional)
3 tablespoons finely ground pistachios
1 cup pomegranate, raspberries, blueberries or sliced strawberries (optional)
In a small bowl mix the cornstarch with ¼ cup of the milk to form a thin paste, stirring with a fork until smooth. Pour the remainder of the milk and the cream into a medium-size saucepan and cook over high heat until simmering but not yet boiling. Add the sugar and salt and stir for about a minute until the sugar dissolves. Next, add the cornstarch mixture in a steady stream, stirring all the while. Add the cardamom, almonds and coconut - continue to cook, stirring continuously, another 5 minutes at a low boil until the mixture thickens.
Pour the pudding into a shallow bowl. Immediately sprinkle the nuts over the top of the firnee. If you really love the taste of cardamom, stir an extra ¼ teaspoon of it into the nuts before you top the pudding.
Refrigerate until chilled through, at least 2 hours.You can make the firnee a day ahead of time. Serve with fresh fruit when they are in season for a splash of color.
Serves 4 to 6
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Traditional style with just pistachios
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