Sakkare Acchu for Sankranthi

Ingredients-
Sugar- 2 cups
Milk- 1 cup
Lemon Juice – 2 Tsps

Also, you will need a ton of patience and a good afternoon’s worth of time.  Its always easier making this with a partner.

Equipment to make the Acchu-
Wooden Sugar Molds
A small sieve/tea strainer
Muslin Cloth
Thick bottom vessel

Procedure-
1. Soak the wooden sugar molds in water overnight. This helps to release the sugar models easily.
2. Soak the sugar in just enough water to cover the sugar surface. Keep aside for 2-3 hours.
3. Wet the muslin cloth and wring it to remove excess water. Keep the muslin cloth in the strainer, and the strainer in another empty vessel. This will be used to filter and separate the milk solids from the sugar syrup.
4. Heat the sugar-water on a medium heat, till all the sugar has melted and the mixture starts boiling.
5. Add half the milk to the syrup. Keep stirring continuously. The milk breaks and starts collecting on top of the syrup.
6. Turn off the heat. Filter all the syrup through the muslin cloth.
7. Collect the clear sugar syrup. Wring the muslin with milk solids to get all the syrup.
8. Heat the filtered syrup once again on a medium flame.
9. When it starts boiling add the remaining milk.
10.Repeat the whole filtering process. The sugar syrup that is collected after the second filtration will be very slightly cloudy.
11. Add the lemon juice to the syrup, and keep it on a very low flame on a side burner. Lemon juice prevents crystallization of the sugar syrup.

To make the Sakkare Acchu-
1. Dry the wooden molds, and keep them ready.
2. Take only about 1/3 amount of the sugar syrup in a small saucepan with a thick bottom. Keep it on a low-medium flame and keep stirring continuously. It is better to make small batches, because it is easier to handle, and avoid wastage.
3. In about 7-8 minutes, the color of the syrup starts turning to a cloudy white. Remove from the flame and stir well. If the syrup become clear again, it is not yet ready. Keep on the flame, and keep stirring vigorously, for a minute or two more.
4. The syrup is ready when the color is very cloudy.
5. Pour into the wooden molds immediately.

This is a process which has to be exact, because if the syrup is not ready, it will not set. If the syrup has gone past the pouring point, it will become hard, and difficult to pour. Just sprinkle some water and stir on the heat till it loosens up and pour again.


Note
1. Always maintain a low-medium flame, because at high heat, sugar becomes hard candy and burns.
2. Tap the molds gently after pouring the sugar syrup to prevent air bubbles. Keep aside for about 5 minutes and remove, using a pin, if necessary.
3. Milk whey that is left in the sugar syrup after filtration, makes the acchu soft, and gives it a wonderful taste and makes the acchu white.
4. Stirring the syrup is very important. It needs to be done continuously, vigorously and with the spoon touching the base of the vessel. One way to test if the syrup is ready, is to take a few drops of the syrup on a cold plate and rub with a spoon. If the sugar turns white, and sets, the sugar is ready for pouring.

Cool the sugar figurines in air for about an hour, before storing. Store in a cool dry place, as heat and humidity make them melt.

Tip-
This sugar candy can be made in 1/8 inch sheets, and cut up into small pieces to be mixed with the traditional peanut-sesame mixture instead of jaggery.

Here is a video I found on You Tube of someone making Sakkare Acchu. The consistency of the syrup at pouring point is shown perfectly.

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