Diwali, the festival of lights, is synonymous with joy, celebrations, and of course, delightful sweets. Among the many treats adorning every Indian household during this festive season, Kesar Peda stands out with its brilliant yellow hue and rich saffron flavor.
Traditional Kesar Peda recipes often involve a lengthy process of reducing whole milk to create mawa, requiring hours of active cooking. However, with this recipe, you can make the perfect Kesar Peda in just 15 minutes of active cooking.
About the Recipe
Kesar Peda is a saffron-infused milk fudge sweet and is very popular across India. Its luscious texture and aromatic saffron and vanilla notes make it a Diwali favorite and a staple at celebratory occasions.
Peda are a classic Indian sweet enjoyed nationwide, especially during Diwali, births, and various celebrations. Their significance in religious offerings and festive occasions makes them an integral part of Indian culinary traditions.
By combining evaporated milk and whole milk to create a flavorful base it is possible to make kesar peda with just under 15 minutes of active cooking time. Adding vanilla enhances the saffron’s natural aroma, creating a delightful fusion of flavors. This quick and easy recipe ensures you can prepare a variety of sweets for Diwali without spending hours in the kitchen.
I typically use saffron “the Indian way,” as whole strands that can be seen in the final dish. However, for kesar peda I find powdering the saffron intensifies its color, resulting in a brilliant yellow hue that enhances the visual appeal of the Kesar Peda. This technique elevates the dish, making it as visually stunning as it is delicious.
Evaporated Milk + Whole Milk: Evaporated milk has that reduced milk, caramelized milk flavor. But I mix half whole milk because I don’t want the brown color to ruin the color of the peda.
Vanilla: typically you would use cardamom, as much as I love cardamom, I prefer vanilla in this recipe because the flavor of vanilla and saffron pairs beautifully.
Pistachio: optional, a very traditional garnish for peda and a classic pairing with saffron.
Saffron: the main flavor of the sweet.
Salt: not traditional, but brings out the saffron and vanilla flavors.
A cookie dough scoop for uniform peda shapes.
Preparation and Serving
Kesar Peda can be enjoyed on its own or as part of a thali or snack platter. Its rich flavor pairs exceptionally well with other traditional sweets like Coconut Burfi, enhancing the overall Diwali experience.
Tips and Variations
- Avoid overcooking the mixture to prevent chewy peda.
- Balance the sweetness according to your preference.
- Customize the flavor by choosing cardamom instead of vanilla or adjusting the quantity of saffron.
You can freeze peda although it will change the texture a little, making it more crumbly. Even so, freezing is a good idea if you have a lot left over. Peda also store well in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 2-3 weeks.
Kesar Peda | Saffron Milk Fudge
- 1 Cookie scoop optional
- ¼ cup ghee
- ½ cup whole milk
- ½ cup evaporated milk
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups whole milk powder
- ⅛ tsp saffron kesar, ground
- ½ tsp vanilla
- Pistachio slivers for garnish optional
- Pinch of salt
- Optional strands of saffron for garnish
- Grind a large pinch of saffron in a mortar and pestle with a sprinkle of sugar.
- Measure 1/8 tsp of the powdered saffron and bloom with an ice cube for 20-40 minutes (save any other saffron for another recipe).
- Heat a pan with ghee, milk, evaporated milk, and sugar. Cook until the sugar melts on medium-low heat.
- Add the salt, bloomed saffron, vanilla, and milk powder. Mix well until the mixture comes together and forms a dough. The peda are done when the dough pulls away from the pan. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
- Scoop about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the dough. Roll this between your palms to form about a 1-inch ball. Flatten into pucks.
- Add a pistachio to the middle and, optionally, a moistened strand of saffron for garnish.