This milky dessert is made with “cheese” dumplings soaked in malai, a thick cream flavored with cardamom, pistachios, rosewater and saffron.
Gluten Free and Dairy Free Rasmalai?! Yes!
Rasmalai or ras malai is one of my favorite Indian desserts! What’s not to love about cardamom and saffron scented milky dumplings soaked in cream? In this case, we’re talking dairy-free cream, but still so delicious!
Rasmalai is often made using a milk product like cheese or milk powder and flour – which are obviously not paleo-friendly (though a few restaurants use cornstarch, so you can always ask if you’re gluten-free and not dairy-free!). Anyway, several years ago, when I was working on my Paleo Indian eCookbook, I decided to recreate rasmalai to be gluten-free and dairy free. And now, 4 years later, I’m finally sharing the recipe on my blog!
A Note on Texture:
Now, these are obviously dairy-free and paleo-friendly so while they won’t taste like traditional rasmalai they are pretty darn reminiscent and will certainly hit the spot. Do keep in mind that these are made out of nuts and not milk/cheese – so they’re going to be dense rather than spongy. While the texture isn’t the same as the original, it’s a good option for those who can’t eat dairy.
What is Rasmalai?
Rasmalai is a special Bengali dessert that’s made up of sweet cheese balls smothered in a sweet creamy cardamom and saffron spiced sauce and sprinkled with crushed pistachios.
This is a dessert you’ll often find served during Indian weddings or other big occasions. You can also usually find it on the menu in restaurants. I love Indian desserts and would say my top three (not in order… that’s too hard) are gulab jamun, jalebi and rasmalai. That’s why I recreated gluten-free and paleo-friendly versions of these three! You can find many of my paleo Indian desserts here.
This recipe calls for gelatin:
While this recipe is dairy-free, gluten-free and paleo-friendly it is NOT a vegan recipe. That’s because these cashew cheese balls call for grassfed gelatin to hold the “cheese” dumplings together. You might be able to use a vegetarian gelatin substitute but I haven’t tried it that way so I can’t say for sure. If you try this with agar agar or using another method, let us know!
I hope you love this recipe for dairy free rasmalai! These cashew cheese balls will melt in your mouth! And trust me, you’re going to want to drink the cream sauce – it’s SO good. Enjoy!
To make the “cheese” dumplings:
- 2 cups raw cashews soaked in water for 8-12 hours
- ½ cup full-fat coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon gelatin
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
To make the cashew “cheese” dumplings:
- After the cashews have soaked for at least 8 hours, drain them and place them in a food processor or high speed blender. Blend until mostly smooth, scraping down the sides a few times if needed.
- Add coconut milk and gelatin to a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until the gelatin has completely dissolved, then add this mixture to the blender along with the honey and cream of tartar. Blend until well combined and smooth.
- Line a mini cupcake pan with cling-wrap, and spoon the cashew mixture into the cupcake wells.
- Refrigerate overnight or until firm. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge until ready to serve.
To make the sweet cream sauce:
- Add 2 cups of nut milk, coconut milk, cardamom, saffron to a non-stick saucepan over high heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Stir frequently and keep an eye on the mixture so that it doesn’t boil over.
- Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook for 35-40 minutes or until the mixture thickens. Stir frequently.
- Remove from heat, add honey and rosewater (if using) and stir. Allow the sauce to cool, then place in the fridge for 1-2 hours, or until chilled.
- Once chilled, add the remaining ¼ cup of nut milk only if needed, to thin out the creamy syrup.
- Add the cashew cheese circles to a bowl and pour the chilled syrup over the rasmalai.
- Garnish with pistachios and serve.