Received this letter:
I just found your website. Right on! What are those spectacular white, decorated sweets on the front page of your site? They look awesome!
Glad you like the website.
The sweets are called sandesh. The ones pictured are made at Bhaktivedanta Manor in London. I visited there recently and had a chance to taste them. Here they are close-up.
Absolutely wonderful! You will need years of practice to get them as good looking as the ones pictured, but practice makes perfect. Here is the recipe for a basic lemon sandesh. Happy cooking!
Lemon Cream-Cheese Fudge (Nimbu Sandesh)
Bengal is the home of Indian sweet manufacturing, and of all Bengali sweets, sandesh is the most famous. It is prepared from only two ingredients: homemade curd cheese and sugar. Use one-quarter part sugar to the volume of kneaded cheese curd. Sandesh is very simple to make, provided you prepare the curd cheese properly. You should also knead your cheese to the correct silky-smooth, neither-wet-nor-dry texture. Sandesh must be cooked in a scrupulously clean pan over very low heat. This sandesh derives its lemon flavour from the lemon oil contained in lemon rind, which is added during, and removed after, cooking.
PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: about 30 minutes
YIELD: 16 - 20 small pieces
fresh homemade curd cheese from 10 cups (2.5 litres) whole milk
at least 1/2 cup (125ml) caster sugar or icing sugar
one 7.5 cm (3-inch) strip of lemon rind
1. Knead and bray the curd cheese on a clean surface until it is silky smooth and creamy. Gather into one lump and calculate its volume with measuring cups. Measure one-quarter that volume of sugar. Combine the cheese, sugar, and lemon rind and again briefly knead and bray the cheese.
2. Place a heavy-bottomed pan on the lowest possible heat and, constantly stirring with a wooden spoon, cook the cheese for 10 to 15 minutes or until its surface becomes glossy and its texture slightly thickens.
3. Scrape the sandesh from the pan and remove the lemon rind. Press the sandesh onto a lightly buttered tray into a flat 1.25 cm (1/2-inch) thick cake. Cool to room temperature. Cut the cake into 2.5 cm (1-inch) squares, or mould into decorative shapes. (The ones pictured are made in special wooden sweet forms from India). When completely cool, store in an airtight container in a single layer. The sandesh can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.
Posted by Kurma on 4/8/05; 8:57:50 PM
from the Travel dept.