Move over pumpkin, carrots are here. When a brain wave hits, it hits hard. Yesterday when I saw an image of a pie on TV, a light bulb went on. How about I use the classic Indian dessert Gajar Halwa (Gajar = carrots and I’m not sure what the halwa equivalent is, pudding would be wrong. Halwa is a dessert in which the subject (carrots, semolina, wheat flour) is cooked in clarified butter (ghee), milk and sugar. Semantics aside, I knew I had to try this.
|only pumpkin used in this, is the one you see in the picture!|
The making of this Gajar Halwa (Carrot) Pie could easily be made into a short film. There were many a roadblocks to this pie. From hunting down the store that carried this pie pan (was surprised many were out of them), to dodging hoards of holiday shoppers, to a gajar halwa that almost turned out to be carrot soup, to a pie that fell apart while being pulled out of the oven in 10 mins, to smoke alarms, and unbaked crust.. I’ve endured a lot to make this pie here. Because, I believed! I knew it was something I had to try. And as if that wasn’t enough, by the time I was done with everything, it was dark outside and it was too late to take any sort of decent pics. Hence, just the one pic.Don’t let the lack of visual aids deter you from trying this pie though. Its really good – a real nice change from the classic pumpkin, I hope,
If you were so inclined to try something different at thanksgiving this year, you might want to give this a shot. Although the recipe is Indian, there are no exotic ingredients – unless you consider cardamom and nutmeg that.
Carrot (Gajar) Halwa
- 1 lb carrots, grated
- 1 can condensed milk
- ½ cup regular milk
- 2-3 pods cardamom
*Note: you don’t need sugar if you are using condensed milk. Alternately, you can only use milk (full fat preferably) and sugar instead of condensed milk)
- In a pan, add milk and grated carrots and let cook for 45 – 60 mins till the carrots are cooked well and soft. If you have a pressure cooker, the easiest technique is to pressure cook for 5-6 whistles and let it cool for 10 mins. Either approach is fine.
- When the carrots cook fully, add ¾ can of condensed milk, powdered nutmeg and crushed seeds from the cardamom pod.
- Let this mix cook thoroughly for another 20-30 mins or until it thickens.
This is a butter based standard pie crust recipe. There is the vegetable shortening camp and the butter camp when it comes to pie crust. I absolutely love the use of butter. You will never ever find shortening in my kitchen, I promise.
- 1 stick cold unsalted butter
- 1.25 cups of all purpose flour
- Pinch of salt
- Ice cold water
- First cut the cold butter stick into small cubes. I shredded the butter to get more butter/flour ratio. Put it back in the fridge for 10 mins so its cold again
- In a bowl, add flour and salt and then the cold cubed, shredded butter. Mix lightly by hand to let the butter and flour adhere.
- Start adding ice cold water by spoon and incorporate the water into the dough. Only use 1 spoon of water at a time.
- You are looking for a dough that’s come together but is not too wet.
- Once its well mixed, cover with wrap and put it back in the fridge for 30 mins
- Take the pie crust dough out of the fridge and on a floured base, roll it out to ¼ inch thickness
- Lay the dough over the pie pan and push it down to fit the pan
- By hand or with a knife cut the overhanging top off to give the pie a nice smooth edge
- Fill the pie with the gajar halwa and put it in a 400 degree oven for 10 mins
- At 10 mins, lower the temp to 350 degrees (don’t pull the pie out, it will fall apart!) and bake for 30 more mins.
- When handling the pie pan, hold it from the sides so the side rim of the pan doesn’t fall out.
- You can serve this warm with vanilla icecream or at room temperature.
(Note: Gajar Halwa is often served with vanilla icecream so this combination will work with the pie as well)