I was not a big fan of desserts while growing up, I still like them only on moderation; but there was one traditional Maharastrian dessert which my grandmother and mother would make, which was an exception. That was paakatle chirote, and I would always insist that my mother must make it on my birthday.
Chirote are a kind of layered, flaky, crispy pastry-based dessert; and they come in two variants, the regular ones simply dusted with powdered sugar; or the slightly thicker ones soaked in sugar syrup, called the paakatle Chirote. Recently, on a facebook food group that I follow, someone posted that these paakatle chirote taste great with ice-cream. This comment got me thinking and I thought that this would definitely be a great combination; but I also decided to also slightly twist the original recipe and incorporate some newer flavors into it with earthy spices and some citrusy ones from oranges. For the traditiona version, one can just skip these and prepare regular Pakaatle chirote.
3 cups of semolina (rawa/sooji);
½ cup clarified butter (ghee/sajuk tuup);
A pinch of salt;
Milk to combine the dough.
2.To apply between the layers of the pastry:
½ cup corn flour (or rice flour);
½ cup clarified butter (ghee/sajuk tuup)
3.Oil or ghee for frying the chirote.
4.For the syrup:
3 cups sugar;
3-inch piece of cinnamon broken into smaller bits;
2-3 star anise;
a pinch of saffron;
a bit of orange zest.
5.For the orange reduction:
Freshly squeezed juice from one orange;
1 ½ tbsp sugar.
Take three cups of semolina in a mixing bowl. In a small pan, melt the ghee and continue heating till it reaches a smoking temperature. Pour it over the semolina, mix quickly with a fork, and allow to cool. Knead a firm dough with some milk, the texture of the dough at this point will be grainy. Allow the dough to rest for 30-45 minutes. Prepare the other elements of the dish during this time.
Take 3 cups of sugar in a pot and add water to it until it barely soaks all the sugar. Heat the pot on medium heat, and add the orange zest ,saffron, cinnamon and star anise to it. Keep stirring intermittently. Continue heating the syrup until it is reduced to a soft drop consistency; i.e, if you start dropping the syrup with a spoon from a height, it should form small drops while faliing off. (Having a string-like consistency at this stage makes the chirote soggy). Keep aside until chirote are ready.
3.The Orange Reduction:
Take freshly squeezed orange juice and sugar in a sauce pan and heat on a lowflame. Continue heating with intermittent stirring till the sauce reduces to one-third of the original volume and achieves a slightly sticky consistency.
Place the chirote soaked in the spiced-syrup over a plate. Keep a quenelle of vanilla ice-cream adjacent to it. Drizzle the dessert with the orange reduction sauce and serve immediately.