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I've heard of them being called "Pleasure Boats" and know people who use the name as a term of endearment for their loved ones! Not surprising because Cham-Chams are truly delicious and very sweet indeed! Cham-Cham is a typically Bengali (east Indian) sweet.

Ingredients:

  • 2 liters full cream/ whole milk
  • 2-3 tbsps lime/lemon juice
  • 5 tsps flour
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2-3 tbsps rose water or a few strands of saffron
  • A few drops of yellow food colour (according to your preference)
  • 200 gms fresh thickened/ heavy/ double cream

Preparation:

  • Bring the milk to a boil over a medium flame. Stir occassionally to ensure the milk does not burn. When the milk begins to boil, add the lime juice and mix well. When the curds begin to separate from the milk, turn off the fire and leave the millk aside for 10 minutes to let the curdling process finish.
  • Strain the cheese and wash it well under running water - to remove all the lime juice from it.
  • Now put the cheese in a cheesecloth and hang for 1 hour to completely drain all the liquid from it.
  • Put the drained cheese into a mixing bowl and begin to knead it. Continue till all the lumps are removed and the cheese is absolutely smooth. When this happens the cheese will begin to release its fat and your hands will feel greasy. The smoother you knead the cheese, the better the Cham-Chams. This is the time to add the yellow food color and mix well.
  • Now sprinkle the flour over the surface of the cheese and work it into the cheese to mix thoroughly.
  • Mix the sugar and water in a pressure cooker and bring the mixture to a boil (without covering the pressure cooker). Make sure the cooker is large enough to accomodate the finished Cham-Chams, as they will expand to double their size while cooking in the syrup!
  • While the sugar syrup boils, divide the dough into small marble-sized balls and roll between your palms till smooth. Now gently press them into an oblong shape and then flatten a little.
  • Gently add the balls to the sugar syrup and cover the pressure cooker. Add the cooker weight and wait for the first whistle. Once the first whistle blows, wait another 8-10 minutes and then turn off the fire. Release the steam from the pressure cooker and allow the Cham-Chams to cool completely before touching them. They will have expanded to almost double their original size and will be delicate when hot.
  • When cool, pour the rose water or saffron syrup (made by soaking the saffron strands in a little warm water) on the Cham-Chams and chill for a few hours. When chilled, remove the Cham-Chams from the syrup and arrange in a platter.
  • Whisk the fresh cream till thick and fluffy. Fill into an icing bag and pipe a swirl out (with a thick nozzle) onto each Cham-Cham.
  • Garnish with slivers of your favorite dried fruit and serve.
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