Shahi Tukre is a delicious and decadent Indian dessert. It is essentially an Indian version of bread pudding that requires no baking! Introduced by the Mughals, this elegant sweet dish is often served at weddings, celebrations, holidays and festivals. This easy and simple recipe is the absolute perfect dish for entertaining since it can be made well in advance.
1 small loaf of soft buttery bread (10 ozs), cubed into 1” pieces
1 cup milk (2% is fine)
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup granulated sugar
½ tsp ground cardamom powder
¼ tsp ground cinnamon powder
½ tsp saffron threads (soaking in a few tbsp of lukewarm milk)
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
½ tsp vanilla extract (or your favorite extract flavor)
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2-4 tbsp ghee (or butter)
1 tbsp sliced almonds, toasted
1 tbsp pistachio pieces, toasted
fresh mint leaves, for garnish
In a small saucepan on very low heat, combine 1 cup of sugar and 1½ of water to make a sugar syrup. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved and a syrup like consistency has been achieved, keep warm until needed.
In a large skillet on medium heat, add 2 tbsp of the ghee and then a small handful of the bread pieces. Stir fry until all sides are golden brown; this may be done in small batches. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pieces from the pan and drop into the warm sugar syrup for a few minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bread cubes from the sugar syrup and transfer to a lightly buttered baking dish (8-10 cup size).
Using another saucepan on medium low heat, add both the cream and the milk. Reduce this mixture by about 1/3 (approximately 12-15 minutes). Next, add the 2 tbsp of sugar, the saffron strands with their soaking liquid, ground cardamom powder, ground cinnamon powder, freshly grated nutmeg and the vanilla extract to the reduced cream and milk mixture. The mixture should have a slightly thickened consistency and a lovely fragrant aroma. Stir well to combine and pour over the bread. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours (24 hours is best). Garnish with fresh mint leaves, toasted almonds and pistachios before serving.
Instead of vanilla, try various other extracts (such as rose, kewra, coconut, jasmine, orange blossom, lavender…) for a different taste and flavor. You can find these exotic flavors in most Indian grocery stores.