Pistachio Barfi is like an Indian pistachio fudge. This one is lightly spiced with cardamom, saffron, and nutmeg. Along with a hint of rose.
As I type this, Diwali is literally right around the corner. Which basically means it’s the season for unapologetically indulging in every and all Indian sweets. It’s just that time of the year.
Barfi is one of those classic Indian sweets. And arguably one of my favourite ones out of the vast and extensive Indian sweets to exist.
So if you’re looking for a recipe to make little bites of pistachio heaven, then look no further.
Pistachio Barfi are little bites of Indian/South Asian pistachio fudge. They’re made from sugar syrup or a milk syrup combined with milk powder.
They have a similar texture to fudge, with a slight chew and crumbliness. They also have a really pronounced dairy flavour and are also very rich. That’s why they’re usually cut into small pieces, as a little goes a long way.
To make them pistachio flavoured, we’ll be infusing them with some pistachio cream along with plenty of ground pistachios. My pet peeve with a lot of pistachio barfi is that they often just don’t taste pistachio-y enough.
If we’re making something pistachio flavoured, it has to taste like pistachio.
What is barfi?
Barfi is a dessert that’s enjoyed throughout many parts of South Asia and the Indian diaspora. It’s the Indian take on the western fudge.
Barfi has a slight chew to it and it’s also slightly crumbly. But at the same time it’s a very soft dessert and a really enjoyable experience to eat.
They’re sweet, rich, creamy, and moreish. There are a LOT of variations of barfi, but most tend to be made from ghee, a sugar syrup, and milk solids or milk powder.
Some of the variations can include nuts, cardamom, saffron, and rose. But with the growing popularity of barfi in the west, it’s become common to find flavours such as oreo, cheesecake, nutella, peanut butter, biscoff and so many more.
These Pistachio Barfi are perfect for Diwali
I make barfi once a year, and it’s always for Diwali. It’s a really easy and straightforward dessert to make that doesn’t actually take long. They’re also great for Diwali favours and gifting.
Barfi is one of those essential mithai for Diwali (in my opinion). And it’s always the first thing I look for on the dessert table, although I am also partial to baklava. And despite baklava not originating in India, it’s made its way on to the mithai spread and has become a Diwali staple for many.
If you’re also a fan of baklava, I’d highly recommend my Coconut and Walnut Baklava.
Pistachio cream is my secret ingredient
Pistachio cream adds a little extra kick of pistachio flavour, creaminess, richness, and sweetness. We’re also using it as a glaze over the barfi too, and it really is the ‘icing on the cake’.
I’ll link the pistachio cream that I use below:
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What you’ll need to make Pistachio Barfi
I’ll cover the main ones below but the full recipe can be found at the end of the blogpost
- Full fat milk powder – this is dehydrated full fat milk. I purchase this from South Asian/Indian supermarkets and it’s also commonly sold as full cream milk powder too
- Pistachio cream – also known as pistachio paste, it’s like a mixture of pistachios and white chocolate. Sweet and nutty! I’ve linked the one I’ve used above
- Pistachios – I’ve used roasted and unsalted pistachios here
- Nutmeg – I always use nutmeg in my barfi recipes, it’s what my nani (grandmother) did so I’ve always followed suit
The KEY tips to making barfi
- Getting the right temperature for the sugar syrup – a lot of Indian desserts (mithai) rely on sugar syrups at varying temperatures. This is known as chasni and the traditional method is to place a small amount of the syrup between your index finger and thumb and pull it apart. It’s then categorised into 1 string (taar), 2 string, and 3 string. For this recipe we’re going for 112’C which is the soft ball stage, which is equivalent to 2 string (taar). I’ve found that this stage is reached around the 5-7 minute mark on a slow boil
- Not overcooking the barfi – overcooking barfi can make it chewy rather than crumbly, it’s a fairly short cooking process
How to make Pistachio Barfi
Let’s start with the barfi
1) First, place the sugar, water, butter, and pistachio cream into a wide pan
2) Bring the mixture up to a simmer and then allow it to continue simmering for 5 minutes
3+4) Then add in the full fat milk powder along with the saffron, cardamom, nutmeg, and salt. The salt helps to balance out the sweetness and bring out the other flavours
5) Continue to mix everything together over a low heat for around 7-8 minutes
6) It will initially start to thicken and appear quite ‘rough’
7) But after 7-8 minutes will start to look more smooth and homogenous
8) At this stage we can now add in the ground pistachios
9) Next you’ll need to keep mixing everything together over a low heat for just a couple of minutes
10) It’ll once again look homogenous and feel quite thick – this is the texture we want
11) Then immediately transfer the barfi mixture to an 8″ square baking tin. I always line the base with baking paper to make removal easier later on
12) Whilst hot, use a spatula to evenly flatten out the barfi as best as you can. Then allow the barfi to cool at room temperature for around 3 hours
Now let’s finish of the Pistachio Barfi
1) Pour some pistachio cream over the barfi – we’re just going for a thin layer here
2) Spread the pistachio cream out evenly
3) Then top with roughly chopped pistachios and dried rose petals. Following this, I recommend refrigerating the barfi for 30 minutes to allow the pistachio cream to set
4) Slice into 16 large squares, though I usually prefer to cut these squares in half to make 32 rectangle pieces
Frequently asked questions
Can this Pistachio Barfi be made vegan?
I’ve not attempted this before and hence can’t advise on substitutes here. I’d recommend seeking out another pistachio barfi recipe that’s already vegan to ensure you get a good result!
Full fat milk powder is an essential component in this recipe and I’ve not come across any good substitutes that would work in the same way here.
Are there any substitutes for the pistachio cream?
For the barfi portion, you could substitute the pistachio cream with the same quantity of pistachio butter. The reason we’re using this is to add another good hit of pistachio flavour. You can purchase pistachio butter or make it yourself if you wish.
For the pistachio cream layer on top of the barfi, you could melt some white chocolate and mix that with some pistachio paste. You’ll end up with something fairly similar!
How long will the Pistachio Barfi keep?
Store the barfi in an air tight container. If kept on the counter at room temperature, it will last up to 3 days.
However if kept refrigerated, it will last 7-10 days. If you intend to keep the barfi refrigerated, allow it to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before consuming for best results.
If you enjoyed this recipe
Please do let me know! Leave a review and a rating below, I’d love to know how you got on.
Until then, happy barfi making!
For the Pistachio Barfi:
- 175g white granulated sugar
- 275ml water
- 50g unsalted butter/ghee
- 75g pistachio cream
- 400g full fat milk powder/full cream milk powder
- Generous pinch of saffron
- 1tsp ground cardamom
- 1/2tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2tsp salt
- 200g unsalted pistachios, ground
- 70g pistachio cream
- 10 pistachios, roughly chopped
- Dried rose petals
For the Pistachio Barfi
- First start by placing the sugar, water, butter, and pistachio cream into a wide pan
- Next bring the mixture up to a slow boil over a medium-high heat, and allow it to continue for 5 minutes. Keep stirring throughout with a spatula during these 5 minutes
- Then turn the heat down to low and add in the full fat milk powder along with the saffron, cardamom, nutmeg, and salt. The salt helps to balance out the sweetness and bring out the other flavours
- Continue to mix everything together over a low heat for around 7-8 minutes. The barfi mixture will initially start to thicken and appear quite 'rough' and 'shaggy'. However keep mixing and after the 7 minute mark it will stark to look more smooth and homogenous. It is quite the arm workout, but mixing with a spatula throughout
- Once you reach the smooth thick mixture at the 7-8 minute mark, you can now add in the ground pistachios. I blitzed these in a food processor until they were quite finely ground
- Next, keep mixing everything together over a low heat for 2 more minutes. The pistachios should be evenly distributed within the barfi mixture and it will start to get fairly thick
- Then immediately transfer the barfi mixture to an 8" square baking tin. I always line the base with baking paper to make removal easier later on
- Whilst still hot, use a spatula to evenly flatten out the barfi as best as you can. You can also used the base of a flat bowl that's been greased lightly with butter or ghee. Allow the barfi to cool at room temperature for around 3 hours
- Pour the pistachio cream over the barfi and spread it out into an even layer using a spatula or offset spatula
- Then top with the roughly chopped pistachios as well as a some dried rose petals
- Place the pistachio barfi into the fridge for 30 minutes to allow the pistachio cream to set. Then it's ready to cut into. You can either cut into 16 large squares, or cut those squares in half into 32 rectangle pieces (which is my preferred way)
Nutrition InformationYield 16 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 240Total Fat 16gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 10gCholesterol 17mgSodium 188mgCarbohydrates 20gFiber 2gSugar 15gProtein 6g
This is an automated calculation and hence may not be entirely accurate.