The Happiness Research Institute, an independent think tank exploring why some societies are more content than others, reported earlier this year that Finland tops the European Happiness Equality Index in 2015. The survey differs from the UN’s World Happiness Report by evaluating how evenly the quality of life spreads within all societal layers. Somewhere there, among the rank and file of the 5.5 million happiest Europeans, I wish you a prosperous New Year!
I made this sweet, Gopinath, for a friend’s Christmas party. It’s a dessert I learnt to prepare when I lived in the temple ashram. The original recipe includes roasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped, but because I piped the sweets into paper forms with a pastry bag, I omitted them. Instead of nuts, you could add orange zest to the recipe.
Gopinath is one of many names of Krishna. It means the protector of milkmaids or cowherd girls. The bhakti yoga tradition is so personal that we name even the foods after our object of meditation.
Gopinath (makes 20 - 25 pieces)
3 ½ oz. (100 g) coconut butter
4-5 Tbsp cacao powder (or carob powder)
Seeds of a vanilla pod
¾ Cup + 1 Tbsp (200 ml) heavy cream
A little less than 1 Cup (250 ml) powder sugar
1 Cup + 3 Tbsp (300 ml) milk powder
1 ¾ oz. (50 g) roasted hazelnuts, chopped
Melt the coconut butter in a pot over a low heat. As soon as it melts, put it aside and add the cacao powder and vanilla seeds. Let it cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
Whip the cream and sugar until it forms very soft peaks. Whisk in the milk powder.
Combine the coconut butter and cream. Use an electric mixer to break up lumps. Don’t overwork the mixture because the cream curdles easily!
Finally, fold in the nuts.
Transfer the sweet mixture into a tray. Tap it into an even square with a rubber spatula. Place the tray in the refrigerator and cut the sweet just before serving. Always serve Gopinath cold.
If you want to pipe the mixture into paper forms after combing the coconut butter and cream, omit the hazelnuts.