Diwali for me in Germany is just like any other day in the week. Unlike the glamorous festivities celebrated in India or even those in Qatar, around Diwali I normally become rather wistful. If it was not for my parents, family and friends who write, send cards and call, wishing me a Happy Diwali, why I might even forget this vibrant festival.
Nostalgia often takes over and I often remember those Diwali's I spent with my nana and nani - my grandparents - in Delhi. That was a long time ago. I was just a little girl of 6, 7 or 8 years old, but a few memories are etched in my head like prominent, deep carvings in wood. I remember my grandfather telling stories to me, my cousins and the neighborhood children and my grandmother handing out bowls of gajar ka halwa - a sweet carrot pudding.
I specifically remember the few days leading up to the Diwali festival. It was always a busy time. My nani would guide us through the busy markets for fresh fruit, vegetables and spices. I can still smell the distinct fragrance of mixed spices in my nostrils as I remember those small narrow shops with the vendors perched on a higher platform and glass aquarium-like chests filled with colorful powdered or whole spices in front of them. It seemed there was no fixed price for anything. When it was decided what was required the bartering would begin. Each vendor shouting down his price and my nani, shaking her head in disagreement. Once a price was reached that both parties found acceptable, the spices were packed in small cone-shaped bags, rolled out of newspapers.
With baskets filled with produce, sweets, spices and decorations we would return back home. My nana would get a scolding from nani for sitting on the veranda and reading the paper - "There is so much to be done!" she would exclaim.
In the kitchen my mum, aunts and the cook were already busy preparing a few of the several sweets that are enjoyed during the Diwali festival. Nani would quickly examine each creation, sneaking a tiny portion of burfi or a jalebi for me, then she would rush out to instruct the househelp of the next chores.
I would take my loot of warm jalebis and burfi and rush out to nana, who was still on the veranda reading his paper. I would bite off a piece of the syrupy jalebi and give the rest to him. He would smile and from out of his pocket he would pull out a small newspaper parcel. Carefully he would open it to reveal some fresh sooji ka halwa, made with semolina, cardamoms, nuts and raisins, he had saved from his morning trip to the gurudwara. Sitting on his lap we would share and relish the sweets. As we sat there licking our lips my nani would come rushing out, on her way she would scold my nana. He would just look at me and wink.
I am sure my nana would have loved these pralines. They are soft, fudge-y and literally melt in your fingers. The fragrance of cardamom takes me back instantly to those small narrow spice shops in Delhi. In these pralines, paired with the creamy chocolate ganache, it adds a tinge extrinsic flavor.
Although they are not your typical Indian Diwali-time sweets, my nana was always zealous to do things the "uncommon" way - who knows one might just learn something new or even like it. So with that in my head I am celebrating Diwali with these fudge pralines.
Fudge Pralines with Cardamom and Chocolate
Printable version of recipe here.
Makes approx. 25 pralines
300g bitter-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
90g heavy cream
60g butter, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
20g bitter-sweet cocoa powder
In a saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. Remove from heat and then add the chocolate and butter. Allow to melt, then stir with a rubber spatula to incorporate.
Add about 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom. For approx. 3-4 hours place in the refrigerator to cool.
Take the thickened mixture out and leave at room temperature to allow it to soften slightly. With an electric whisk, whisk until smooth and creamy.
Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper.
Using two teaspoons form 25 small heaped moulds on the cookie tray. In a shallow dish mix the cocoa powder with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cardamom. Gently roll each praline in the cocoa-cardamom powder to coat.
Place them on the cookie tray again and then cool in the refrigerator for an hour.
If you are giving these as presents, you can place each praline in individual praline paper forms and place in a gift box lined with colored crepe paper.
As each tiny praline touches your tongue it will start to melt, releasing all its delicious flavor. At first the bitter-sweet cocoa powder with the hint of cardamom, then as the sweet creamy ganache melts, you will experience the zing of the cardamom. It'll have you licking your fingers! They are rich and often 2 or 3 will suffice. But that's OK - as a little goes a long way!
Wishing all my family, friends, blog buddies and readers a peaceful and joyous Diwali!
You might like these sweet treats from WFLH:
|Matcha White Chocolate Pralines with Pistachios|
|Nougat Orange Treats|
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