August 27, 2006

Phirni Pie

Yes, I made phirni pie for for Improved Indian Dessert. It came out of days of contemplation :) Just kidding! When I first saw the announcement for From my Rasoi, I thought it would be easy to create an improved indian dessert. But as days went by, I kept thinking of ways to twist an Indian dessert into something different. For inspiration, I went through my archives and saw the buttermilk cherry pie.

I instantly thought of several milk based desserts which would be perfect for this combination. I decided on phirni with its rich creamy texture - milk cooked with rice flour and nuts - and the crusty, crispy base of the pie. Hmm, now that sounded interesting. Something I was willing to experiment with.

Here are some of my cooking notes - I got a readymade graham cracker pie crust. I also kept the sugar level low in phirni and it went well with the sweet crust. Since this pie does not have a binding agent like the other pies, its best to refrigerate the pie for a couple of hours before serving.

This is my first fusion experiment with an Indian sweet and I told Aswin that we may have a dessert for the evening or we may not depending on the outcome! We both just finished big pieces of pie and had to resist hard before reaching for the rest of the phirni pie.

9 inch graham cracker pie crust
2 pints milk
1 pint cream
2 1/2 tbspoon rice flour
few strands of saffron
1/2 tspoon cardamom
pinch of cinnamom
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbspoon honey

For Phirni
Soak basmati rice for 30 min.
Make it into a coarse paste.
Bring the milk and cream to a boil in a heavy bottomed pot and add the rice flour.
The flour should not form any lumps.
Add the saffron strand and boil the milk on low for 30 min.
Put half of the nuts in the milk with the sugar and honey.
Continue stirring at regular intervals.
Simmer it for another 30 min till it becomes thick and creamy - similar to thick custard like constistency.
Add the rest of the nuts and let it cool down.

For Phirni Pie
Preheat the oven to 300deg F
Pour the phirni into the pie crust.
Bake it at 300 for 20 min. The phirni will get a golden layer on top.
Cool it to room temperature and then put it in the fridge for a couple of hours.

Slice and Serve.
This is my entry for FMR: Improved Indian Dessert being hosted by Katherine at ToastPoint.


  1. yum.:)

    Happy Ganesh Utsav btw!

  2. Hi, just can't resist your delicious pie....:)

  3. Hey this is such a creative idea! Love phirni so I am sure the pie would be equally delicious

  4. Thanks Urvi - You can get a slice of the pie anytime :)

    Lera - Thank you.

    Hi Ashwini - Thanks, it turned out really well. Tastes even better the next day.

  5. Hi Mandira,
    Phirni Pie looks delicious...A wonderful entry to Improved Indian dessert.

  6. Hi Prema - Thank you. The Phirni Pie turned out to be a success :)

  7. Hello Mandira. Hopped in here thro Nabeela's blog. That is an innvoative dish, trademark it...well done!

  8. Hi Shankari- Thanks for dropping by and for your wonderful comment. The phirni pie did turn out great and we all enjoyed it.

  9. Sounds like an interesting variation of phirni..... should try it out soon!!!!

  10. Rooma - thanks for visiting my blog. Do let me know how it turns out for you.

  11. Anonymous1:41 PM

    Hi Mandira, looks and sounds delicious. How much nuts did you put in it? I am planning to try this out for the weekend...yummy!

  12. Hi Anon- sorry didn't see your comment before. I will update the recipe with nuts. You can put a mix of pistachios and almonds. For this measure, 1/4 cup of mix nuts should be plenty. Do let me know how it turns out.


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