Every meal needs to end with a sweet ending especially over Diwali (well actually then every meal is sweet).
Here are a couple of easy desserts you can make at home.
Deconstructed Gajar Halwa
This dessert is full of textures and just works so well together. Some Gajar Halwa served with crumble, vanilla ice cream and garnished with some spun sugar.
- 55 g sugar
- 70 g flour
- 50 g rolled oats
- 55 g butter
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp crushed cardamom
Mix the flour and sugar together then rub in the butter with your finger tips to form crumbs. Add in the oats, cinnamon and cardamom then spread out in a flat baking tray. Bake at 170 degrees for about 30 – 40 minutes. This varies from oven to oven. You want to slowly combine the crumble and ensure it is cooked evenly and is golden brown. Every 10 minutes give the crumble a mix so it cooks evenly.
Halwa Ingredients (adapted from Vivek Singh)
- 6 cardamom pods (deseeded and crushed to form powder)
- 25g ghee
- 500g carrots, peeled and grated
- 250ml evaporated milk
- Pinch of saffron
- 50g soft light brown sugar
- 50g white sugar
- Handful of raisins or sultanas
- 20g milk powder
- Handful of pistachios, almonds or cashews, roughly chopped
- Heat the ghee in a wide, heavy-based pan on a medium-high heat and fry the cardamom powder for a minute
- Add the grated carrot and a pinch of salt and fry for five minutes on a medium heat, then turn up the heat and fry for another five, stirring all the time. Repeat until the carrots are soft and dryish (10-15 mins)
- Pour in the evaporated milk, add the saffron and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to medium and simmer, stirring regularly, until most of the liquid has evaporated.
- Add the sugar and dried fruit and continue cooking, stirring so the mixture doesn’t catch, until thickened, then stir in the milk powder and cook for another minute or so. Switch off pan.
On a plate, put some crumble on, then a large spoonful of the halwa followed by a scoop of ice cream. Decorate with nuts and spun sugar.
To make some spun sugar, heat some sugar in a pan on medium heat. Once it starts to melt, reduce heat then keep moving the sugar around in the pan (by giving the pan a swirl). You can use a wooden spoon to help you mix it. Let the mixture get runny. Once it is, take it off the heat. Give it about 30 seconds then drizzle on your designs onto some greaseproof paper. You need to work quickly but be careful.
Gulab Jamun Yoghurt Cups
Over the last lockdown, I discovered bread Gulab Jamuns. The quickest way to make some juicy Jamuns instantly. This may eek you out a bit but mixing it with shrikhand and having it as a layered yoghurt parfait is just so delicious. I mean you can never have enough Indian desserts. Shrikhand is basically yoghurt that has been thickened by getting all the water out. I found a quick alternative is to get a good greek yoghurt.
- 6 slices of white bread (with crusts cut off)
- 6 tbsp of full-fat milk
- 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
- oil for frying
- 3 cardamom pods
- 2 cups of sugar
- 1 cup of water
- pinch of saffron
- chopped up pistachio/almonds for garnish
- thick sweetened greek yoghurt (shrikhand alternative)
- Make the sugar syrup first by combining the sugar, water, cardamom pods (open) and saffron then letting this all melt together on a medium-low heat. The end result needs to be a sticky syrup. Try and keep it warm to add in the fried gulab jaman.
- Heat some oil on medium heat in a frying pan (enough for deep frying)
- Roughly blitz the bread so it turns to crumbs
- Add in 1/2 tsp cardamom and mix
- Add in the milk, a bit at a time to form a dough. You may not need all the milk. You just want a soft dough. The key to soft balls is to combine it quickly without over kneading
- Fry these in a pan until golden brown. Take off an excess oil and put them in the sugar syrup where they need to soak for at least an hour. The balls need to be totally immersed in the syrup to get all the juiciness.
- You can reheat this at any time and indulge on these on their own.
To make the cups, I used some thick vanilla greek yoghurt and added nuts to this. You can add fruit too. The idea is to make a cheat srikhand.
Layer the gulab jamuns in between the yoghurt. To give it that crunch you can also use some crumble (using the recipe at the top). Garnish with nuts and edible rose petals. Each mouthful has the juices from the gulab jamun, the creamy texture of the yoghurt and the crunch from the nuts and crumble. Delicious.
Enjoy & Happy Diwali from my family to yours! Wishing you all the very best and a happy healthy year ahead.