Food: shondesh = sweet ricotta

Shondesh is a very conventional Bangladeshi sweet. Nobody makes sweets at home in Bangladesh because it is so readily available. But here in the US every Bangladeshi attempts to make at least one kind since everything is at hand. This shondesh recipe is made with ricotta cheese bought from the store. To prepare it in the conventional way I would have to make the ricotta cheese from the milk. But hey, I love recipes that cut cooking time in half. My good friend Ishti Shama helped me in preparing this dish, since she is a pro at it. I have since then simplified the recipe as below - 

So this is what I used, 
Three tubs of 1 lb whole milk ricotta cheese :: 
1 cup powdered milk (nido) :: 
1 cup of sugar (or per your taste) :: 
Sprinkle of ground cardamom :: 
Optional- 1/2 tsp of rose water; crushed nuts to sprinkle 

Heat the oven at 400. Take a large mixing bowl and mix all the ingredients together. Take a bakeware that is deep. I used a 9"x9" baking dish and it was full to the brim. You want thick pieces of shondesh. Then pour the entire mixture into the dish. The size of the pan will determine if you want thicker pieces of shondesh or thinner. Place it in the oven for 50 minutes to an hour. When the sides start to become golden sprinkle the nuts over them if you choose and put it back in the oven. Keep checking after 30 mins, because every oven is different. I keep it over 50 mins and then watch how it browns at the top surface. Make sure it is completely cool before you cut it. Best is to refrigerate it before you eat. Enjoy them little square pieces!


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