Sandesh or pranahara (to steal the heart) are typical desserts from Bangladesh and the Bengal region of India that are typically prepared with paneer and sugar. The most famous and award-winning producers of these sweets can be found in the western part of Bangladesh, as well as in Kolkata, India. They are small sweets, semi-similar to a marzipan, and make up an important part of the mithai, or confections from the Indian sub-continent.
They are usually white in color, though sometimes, the addition of colorful ingredients create a range of hues. In this case, Chef Priya Lakshminarayan includes rose to give them a beautiful magenta color. To prepare this delicacy, you will need:
- 1 liter of whole milk
- 1 lemon
- 1 piece of cheesecloth
- Powdered sugar
- Chopped or slivered almonds
- Rose syrup
*It’s helpful to have a heavy board and a food processor.
The first step is to make our paneer, which is a type of Indian cheese that can be made at home with readily available ingredients.
Heat the milk in a pot until it boils, then add the lemon juice. Stir continuously for five minutes as the milk curdles.
Strain the curdled milk through the cheesecloth and squeeze out any remaining liquid. Place the ball of soon-to-be cheese under a weighted board so all the liquid is pressed out.
You now have paneer! If you prefer to purchase it premade you can find it at most Asian or organic food stores.
Place paneer in a mixing bowl and add powdered sugar and cardamom to taste.
Stir it gently with your fingers before moving on to the food processor, where you will add the rose syrup. When it has a smooth and mostly homogeneous texture, make small balls and gently press them into a cookie shape. Decorate with a small piece of almond in the middle.
We recommend serving it sprinkled with powdered sugar and a drizzle of rose syrup.