Paal poli - South Indian style bread pudding

By • February 23, 2015 0 Comments

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Author Notes: First things first: translations of the names.. Paal - The tamil word for milk, & Poli is a term that generically seems to encompass any sweetened bread, doesn't matter if its pan fried or deep fried. so basically this is a distant cousin version of bread pudding.
Among dessert offerings from South India, 'Paal Poli' is probably not as well known as say, the traditional rice pudding or the mung dal 'payasam', & my personal opinion about it when I eventually tasted it 20 yrs into my life here on earth was , 'It looks eew!!' (Turns out, the reason why my mother never made this at home was because, my dad found it visually unappealing as well). But there is no denying the fact that it is a textural treat with the creamy milk & the chewy bites of the poori/poli morsels.
The best thing about this dessert is the ease of making it. Fry up a couple of pooris made from all purpose flour, drop them into warm sweetened milk with a pinch of crushed cardamom, saffron & garnish with nuts & raisins.
THis was one of my very first dishes I 'tweaked' when I started blogging. and instead of a liquidy pudding, I reconfigured this into a dish that could be cut up and served. Its since become a family favorite.

My version is wontons soaked in sweetened milk and stacked with layers of saffron & cardamom flavored whipped cream in between.
Panfusine

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Serves 8 servings

Paal poli

  • 12 Wonton wrappers (circular shape preferable, 3 per pan)
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • Sugar to taste, (~ 5-6 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 cup almonds peeled & ground to a paste
  • 3 Cardamoms peeled and crushed to a powder
  • 1 cup oil (preferably one with no inherent flavors like rice bran oil)
  • 1-2 pinches saffron

Whipped cream filling

  • 1 cup Whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
  • 1 pinch crushed saffron
  • 2-3 cardamoms crushed into a fine powder
  • toasted sliced almonds for garnish
  1. Fry the wonton wrappers till crisp & set aside on a paper towel to wick off any excess oil. It doesn't matter if a couple of the wrappers puff up.
  2. Combine the milk with the sugar, almond paste, cardamom & saffron & heat till it thickens slightly. Set aside.
  3. Soak the fried wonton wrappers in the milk till slightly soft and limp.
  4. Whip the cream with the confectioners sugar, cardamom powder and the crushed saffron in a chilled bowl till it forms stiff peaks.
  5. Line the bottom of four 4 inch spring form pans with parchment or wax paper cut to the correct diameter. Place a soaked fried wonton at the bottom of the pan and spoon in a layer of whipped cream. Place another wonton over the cream, alternate to get 2 layers of cream between 3 wontons. Using a piping bag, pipe a layer of cream over the top wonton.
  6. Place the pans in the refrigerator for about 2-3 hours, Garnish with the toasted sliced almonds and extra strands of saffron. and cut into 2 down the diameter and serve chilled.

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