Barfi is one of those traditional Indo-Trinidadian sweets that one consumes when attending many a Hindu or Moslem celebration. I have seen it referred to (on websites) as an East Indian fudge or Indian cheesecake. Maybe these descriptions accurately capture the East Indian version, however they fall short of capturing the taste and feeling of Trinidadian barfi. Here in Trinidad, barfi has a distinctly milky taste because of the powdered milk and/or condensed milk that is added by the cupful. Combinations of ginger, cardamom and other optional spices only add to create an additional complexity that makes you forget that each mouthful is probably 1000 calories a piece. Although our recipe for barfi in Trinidad does not seem to differ too much from the original ‘plain’ one in India (where burfi and barfee seem to be the preferred transliterations) one distinctly Trinidadian touch has been the addition of multi-colored sprinkles to the top of this creamy delight. I’ve seen Chennette mention that she’s seen local barfis that also incorporate coconut and carrot but I’ve never seen or tasted those, well maybe coconut but def. not carrot. I think (and she’ll correct me I’m sure if I’m wrong) that the plain version is pretty much defacto as far as Trinidad barfi goes. And also defacto… sprinkles!!
I mean come on… it’s just not barfi (-in Trinidad-) without the sprinkles!! I guess we’re just colourful like that
ETA: I have decided to submit this post to the Taste of Terroir
What is terroir?
(From Wikipedia) “Terroir was originally a French term in wine and coffee appreciation used to denote the special characteristics of geography that bestowed individuality upon the food product. It can be very loosely translated as “a sense of place” which is embodied in certain qualities, and the sum of the effects that the local environment has had on the manufacture of the product. …Some writers include history, tradition, vineyard ownership and other factors. The contemporary meaning of the term clearly goes beyond mere geography, but at that point disagreement begins. Some assert that terroir is distinct from the characteristics imparted by the plant variety, the vintage and production methods (vinification, etc.), and is the product of a range of local influences that are transmitted into the character of the product.”
Anna, (the host of TTaste of Terroir ) thinks that terroir can go far beyond the traditional definition, and wants to apply it to those foods and drinks which truly give a sense of place, or those in which the taste of the place can be observed.
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon grated ginger
4 cups full-cream powdered milk
1 cup thick or heavy cream
1. Grease a 9×9 inch glass dish
2. Combine sugar, water, and ginger in small saucepan
3. Boil for about 10 minutes, just until sugar spins a thread
4. Combine 2 cups milk with cream, mix thoroughly
5. Pour sugar syrup into milk mixture, mix well
6. Stir in the additional 2 cups of powdered milk, mixing well.
7. Push mixture into greased dish using the back of a spoon
8. Decorate with sprinkles (multicolored)
9. When almost set, cut into squares.
Makes 16 squares
My squares were still a tad gooey when cut, they should have the consistency of fudge when completely set… but you get the idea
And remember, in Trinidad it’s not barfi without the SPRINKLES!!!