Pistachio barfi

Enjoy this traditional Indian sweet treat at special occasions such as Diwali. With the texture of soft marzipan, it’s richly indulgent and beautifully spiced

  • Prep:45 mins
    Cook:1 hrs
    plus time for chilling
  • More effort

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 229
  • fat 12g
  • saturates 4g
  • carbs 22g
  • sugars 0g
  • fibre 1g
  • protein 8g
  • salt 0.2g


  • 75g shelled pistachio nuts
  • 6 green cardamom pods
  • 1 litre Jersey full cream milk
  • 75g caster sugar
  • silver leaf or extra chopped pistachio nuts, to decorate (optional)


Swap the pistachio nuts for 75g ground almonds and add a drop of almond extract and ¼ tsp saffron strands, soaked in 1 tbsp warm milk for 1 hr. Add these ingredients, including the saffron milk, to the cooked khoya and spiced sugar mixture while it is hot.
Use 75g plain, unsalted ground cashew nuts instead of the pistachio nuts, along with ¼ tsp saffron strands soaked in 1 tbsp warm milk for 1 hr. Add these ingredients, including the saffron milk, to the cooked khoya and spiced sugar mixture while it is hot.


  1. Blitz the pistachio nuts in a small food processor until finely chopped. Take care not to overwork them or they will become oily. Set aside.

  2. Split the cardamom pods and remove the seeds. Pound the seeds to a powder in a pestle and mortar with 1 tsp of the sugar.

  3. Heat the milk in a large wok or karahi over a medium heat and boil, stirring all the time with a metal spoon, until it reduces to a thick cream – you want the milk to reduce rapidly so it retains its creamy colour without browning, about 20-30 mins. Keep scraping down the sides of the pan to prevent scorching. The milk should have left the sides of the pan and have the consistency of scrambled eggs.

  4. Spoon this thick paste into a bowl and leave to cool before chilling for 2-3 hrs. You should now have 225-250g of reduced milk solids, known as ‘khoya’.

  5. Coarsely grate the khoya on a box grater and put it in a sturdy casserole or wok. Add the cardamom powder and remaining caster sugar and cook over a gentle heat, stirring all the time, until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has thickened, about 10 mins.

  6. Take the pan off the heat, add the chopped nuts and mix well. Line a baking tray with baking parchment and transfer the warm barfi mixture onto the paper, patting it out to a rectangle. Cover with another sheet of parchment, and gently roll the barfi into a 16 x 19cm rectangle about ½cm thick with a rolling pin. Leave to set for 3-4 hrs. If your kitchen is very warm, put the tray in the fridge for 30 mins.

  7. Remove the top sheet of paper. Rest a sheet of the silver leaf, if using, on the barfi, silver side facing downwards. Gently rub the back of the paper with your fingers, the silver leaf should transfer onto the mixture – try not to touch the silver leaf with your fingers as it will stick to them. Or, press chopped pistachios onto the mixture while still warm, if you like.

  8. Cut the firm barfi into 3 x 4cm diamond shapes. Will keep at room temperature in an airtight box for 3-4 days.

Suggested recipes from this collection...