Peera/pera is a variation of an Indian milk sweet known as Peda. I say variation, because the version I’ve seen made in Guyanese homes is different than a traditional Peda recipe.
- 1 12oz can evaporated milk
- 1 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
- 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
- Grab a plate or tray to place peeras in after it is done, a glass of ice water, and a small spoon, set aside.
- Pour milk, sugar and spices into a cast iron pot. Heat on medium-low for about hour and fifteen minutes uncovered. Let mixture boil, turning occasionally and scraping the sides down each time.
- Mixture should start to look slightly thick, like pancake syrup and have a caramel color. Turn heat to low and turn every 2-3 minutes. Mixture is at most risk for scorching at this point so keep heat on low.
- Around an hour and a half mixture should be thick like molasses, keep turning mixture to keep from scorching. Scrape sides down frequently so sugar does not build up.
- When mixture begins to look thick like cake batter, do not leave the stove, keep turning. The edges of the pot will begin to look dry and white. Remove mixture from heat, tilt the pot and beat mixture until the texture becomes like frosting or taffy. It is now ready to be rolled into balls.
- Rub some cold water between both palms, roll about a teaspoon of peera in between your palms to form a ball, place in plate or tray, and press down slightly with your finger to make an indent.
- Allow peera to harden then enjoy.
- I recommend not using a non-stick or enamel coated pot. You will be turning the peera mixture frequently and wouldn’t want to risk scratching the bottom of one of these types of vessels or getting the scratched pieces into the peera mixture. A cast iron or stainless steel pot works best for this recipe.
- Use a metal or wooden spoon, a plastic spoon may break while beating the mixture.
- After an hour of boiling, be absolutely sure to keep heat on low, otherwise the mixture will scorch on the bottom and as you turn it, you’ll see the scorched pieces turn up in the milk.
- Roll peera while mixture is still hot, it will help to keep the peera smooth and free of cracks. The darker peera in my photos had a few cracks since I had to stop to take photos, so as you can see, even a minute cannot be spared. When the sugar begins to dry, it makes it harder to roll the peera, so work quickly. Don’t worry about burning your hands, the cold water will not only help with keeping the peera smooth, it will keep your palms from being scorched.
- If you are not sure when to take mixture off the stove, you can drop a little bit of the mixture into a glass of warm water, if it keeps its shape and does not dissolve, it is ready to be removed from the stove and beaten.
Adapted from Inner-Gourmet