I’m sure most of us have at least 1 condensed milk dessert recipe to fall back on when in dire straits ! It’s an ingredient that has helped many of us produce delicious fare especially in the early years of marriage ! I remember being gifted a Tarla Dalal book and a Milkmaid recipe book ! Even today many of my generation refer to condensed milk only as ‘Milkmaid’ ! Having tried both the Nestle’ Mithai Mate and the Amul Milkmaid , I find both products to be equally good and have no particular favourites in that department .
Coming back to this recipe….it was one of the early desserts I had made ,as a bride, when hosting the first lot of guests over at our new home. The recipe promised to be ‘un-failable ‘ and that it was easy work for any novice cook. That’s exactly what I was looking for. Back then ,taste buds could take a lot more of the sweet than what one is accustomed to now. So ,in went a whole tin of condensed milk for less than half a watermelon. The result was a very pale pink frozen block that could be cut in squares and served. It was a dessert that was well appreciated and gave me the necessary boost to continue experimenting in my then tiny kitchen !
Every summer the watermelon sorbet as it was called in the Milkmaid book ,was made without fail. Oh and my mom loved it too…reason enough for me to make it more often , to prove to her that I wasn’t a total disaster in the kitchen ! ( and to tempt her to come and visit me often 😉 )
Once the kids came along , my culinary experiments underwent a slight shift and a whole different way of cooking occupied the growing interest in food , in my head ! The watermelon sorbet was pushed to the far recesses of my brain, almost forgotten.
My mother did mention it every once in a few years but the non-availability of organic watermelons meant that I wouldn’t even give the recipe a passing thought. Last year ,my Uncle ( Mani Chinanna) who I’m so blessed to have in my life , sourced organic watermelons and made sure that I was one of the first to receive not one but two large beauties. Happily chomping our way through this sweet ,pink delicious fruit ,I could only think of making my watermelon salad and maybe try my hand at making a watermelon soup.
A few days into the watermelon therapy ,my husband asked me whatever happened to “that sorbet you used to make” . Quick as a flash , the little antennas picked up on the conversation and the two pairs of young eyes looking at me could not have been more accusing . Almost as if mom and dad were having a private watermelon sorbet party and they weren’t invited….sigh !!!!!
My arguments,”But…but…it has condensed milk…it’s too cold “(they are prone to respiratory allergies ,you see !)…. all fell on deaf ears and I made the watermelon sorbet ….with half the amount of condensed milk , fresh mint picked from my garden and with plenty of fresh fruit as a topping. Yep…made everyone happy.
This year as well we have been blessed with large quantities of organic watermelon both at Orga foods and Shreevatsa Organics and it’s going to be a part of our daily diet until the season ends. One week day evening resulted in a sort of last minute dinner plans with good friends. With temperatures hitting an all time high the watermelon sorbet seemed to be the ideal dessert to end the meal with. They liked their bowls and spoons clean !
If not for their reaction after eating this simple dessert I would’ve never posted it here. Not only did they love it but each mouthful was enjoyed with as much pleasure as I had while making it. We cooks , live for such joys ! Truly !
Things that bring such happiness must be shared, in my opinion ,however simple or humble the dish maybe. So , here it is . It tastes like a sorbet because of the high water content but does have a smidgen of creaminess thanks to the sweetened milk…