While traversing the Indian subcontinent, you’ll come across variations of burfi that go by many names. This sweet, milk-based confection is named after the Persian word for “snow” or “ice.” At its most basic, burfi is just a solidified mixture of condensed milk, ghee (clarified butter), and sugar that gets sliced into small cubes or diamond-shaped pieces, akin to fudge. Also like fudge, burfi is sold in a number of flavors, ranging from chocolate to rosewater. In pista burfi, the addition of ground pistachios (which make up the “pista” part of the name) give the otherwise creamy-white treat a verdant glow.
Traditionally, Northern Indians prepare these special desserts for weddings and other important occasions. Many sweet shops and home chefs add fragrant cardamom and green food coloring to heighten the simple burfi’s sensory appeal. Celebrants of Hindu holidays expect the festive, bright confection during Holi, the festival of colors and spring, and Raksha Bandhan, which honors the bond between siblings. And for added luxury, some bakers finish off their pista burfi with vark, a layer of edible, superfine silver or gold foil.
Need to Know
Pista burfi can be ordered online or prepared at home. It's also sold in sweet shops across India.
Visit India with Atlas Obscura Trips
Northern India’s Colorful Cities, Villages, and Celebrations
Visit towering forts and palaces, explore local villages, experience Diwali with an Indian family, wander centuries-old ruins, learn to cook in a family home, and witness the sunrise over the Taj Mahal and the River Ganges on this immersive tour of Delhi, Rajasthan, and Varanasi.
Where to Try It
Kailash Mandir Lassi and SweetsKasam Mitha Building, Naigaon Cross Road, Dada Saheb Phalke Marg, Mumbai, 400014, India
This shop just outside the Dadar central railway station is known for lassi drinks and traditional Indian sweets.