1. In a medium pan, bring the barley and 3 cups of water to a boil. Partially cover and reduce the heat to low. Allow the barley to simmer for 45 minutes or until tender. Stir and check often to see if more water is needed to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add another 1/2 cup of water and simmer for another 15 minutes.
2. Add 1 teaspoon of butter to a skillet and fry the almonds until they are light brown. Do not let them burn. Set aside.
3. Heat the half and half in a small bowl then stir in the saffron threads. Let it sit for a few minutes.
4. Taste the barley to make sure it is completely cooked. Add the cardamom, sugar, almonds, dried fruit and saffron milk. Stir continuously until well mixed. Cook for 3 more minutes.
5. Spoon the kesari into 8 small bowls. Sprinkle the remaining almonds on the top along with fresh raspberries as a garnish.
Barley is available hulled and pearled. Just the outer hull is removed for hulled barley. This version has the most nutrients intact. It takes a long time to cook, over an hour. It is very chewy in texture and makes a great breakfast cereal. Pearled barley has had most of the outer husk removed. It is still very nutritious but some of the fiber has been removed. It takes much less time to cook and is not quite as chewy as the hulled variety. It is more suited for most recipes. Do not worry if you purchased hulled or pearled; either one can be used for a delicious dish. The only change that must be made is cooking time.
1 cup pearled barley
3 1/2 cups water
1 Tbs butter, divided
2 Tbs sliced almonds
2 Tbs half and half
1/4 tsp saffron
1/3 cup chopped dried mixed fruit such as raisins,
dried cranberries, pineapple or mango
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 cup brown sugar
Fresh raspberries, for garnish