carrot halwa ginger tart
So the countdown continues to Diwali! So if you have been listening to the news, Chicago (all of the US really) COVID cases are rising alarmingly. As of Monday, we will have all our old restrictions in place. This means only traveling in emergencies and staying home unless it's for essentials like groceries and medical appointments. So this supports my decision to only make Indian desserts based on ingredients that I have that have been long forgotten. This recipe came about under those conditions but it is delicious!
I don't know why...but I seem to have a ton of organic carrots in my fridge. Like more than a normal person or two can consume! Oh wait, I do know why...that dang CostCo (fist shaking)! Well, if you know me, then you know that Indian sweets are not really my thing. I find most of them too sickly sweet. In fact, there are only a very few that I would actually want to eat. Yesterdays...because it's not reallllly Indian except the vehicle that holds the dark chocolate and let's face it, I'm a dark chocolate whore. Second, carrot halwa. I don't know why this is one that I gravitate towards - it's just the warmth of it and I like that it's made from vegetables and the ones that I particularly like have this awesome texture and are full of nuts. So when I saw all these carrots, that was the first thought that came to my head. But...me being me, I wanted to put a twist to it. Just eating warm halwa with some ice cream is good...but how awesome would it be to have some more texture and flavor in it?? So the idea of a tart was born.
Originally, I wanted to use the iconic ParleG cookies for the crust. Only thing is, I didn't have any and I didn't want to push this dessert into the super sickly sweet category. The thing that I did have (which I got for my Halloween party) was a bag of crunchy ginger snap cookies. I had ground a few of these up to use to rim my specialty drink of the night which were Pumpkin Spice White Russians. Yum.
I love the flavor of these cookies because the ginger is warm and spicy and the cookies themselves are very balanced because of it since it tempers down the sweetness levels. So I thought...why not?? Hence the idea of this dessert was imagined.
Now, I will be the first to say that this dessert isn't as easy as yesterdays...however the steps themselves are super easy and if you have a food processor...you will kick this dessert's butt. The other thing is, you don't have to be all fancy. Carrot halwa on its own is super delicious but definitely top it with whipped cream or some vanilla bean ice cream while its all warm. The sweetest all balances out, I promise!
Hopefully I have peaked your interest enough to give this a try. Wait! Some incentive...
I mean, COME ON!!! It really is as delicious as it looks! I love how the French tart pan made these look and gave the perfect ratio of halwa to crust. Baking it a bit really helped to keep the tarts shape and add that delicious crunchy texture to the soft, creamy carrot pudding. The freshly ground cardamon just permeates this and warms your heart. Ok now I'm hungry...again.
Carrot Halwa Ginger Tart
10 to 12 ginger snap cookies, ground finely in food processor
2 Tbsp unsalted melted butter (more or less as needed)
1 Tbsp Ghee (clarified butter) or regular unsalted butter
3 large carrots, shredded in a food processor (approx. 300g)
1½ cups whole milk
1 can (12oz) of condensed milk
Up to ¼ cup extra sugar (as per taste if you want a sweeter halwa)
½ tsp ground cardamon (green)
2 Tbsp almonds, sliced thin
1 Tbsp pistachios, roughly chopped
Preheat the oven to 350F.
First make the crust. In a food processor, grind all the ginger snap cookies. Once they are finely ground, slowly drizzle in the melted butter until the crust is moist enough to hold its shape. Start slow, you don't want it to be too wet.
In a tart shells with removable bottoms (you can also use a tart pan, a flat ramekin dish or even a pie dish), lightly brush melted butter around the edges. Spoon the crust mixture evenly around the bottom about 1/4" thick - use the back of a spoon or even a water glass to pack it in firm and up the edges.
Put the tart pans on a sheet pan and baked at 350F for 10 minutes. Meanwhile make the filling.
In a wide saute pan, heat the ghee and add the grated carrots. Saute on low/medium flame for 12 to 15 minutes until the carrots are fragrant and more tender.
Slowly add the milk and bring the mixture to a gentle simmer. Cook uncovered for about 15 more minutes until the milk starts to thicken and the carrots are completely tender.
Next add condensed milk and sugar. As the sugar melts the mixture will become liquidy. Cook, stirring occasionally, for approximately 20 to 25 more minutes until the mixture becomes thick again.
Add the ground cardamom and half the almonds and cook for couple of more minutes.
Fill your warm tarts with the warm halwa. Top with vanilla bean ice cream and the rest of the almonds and pistachio slivers. Enjoy!!
If you make these tarts in advanced, then no need to pre-bake your crusts - just fill with the halwa and refrigerate. When ready to serve, pop them in the oven at that point at 350F for 10 minutes to warm and set everything up. Don't forget to top with the ice cream! I deliberately made my halwa a bit on the not-so-sweet side to balance the gingery-sweet crust and the yummy ice cream on top! For those that like their halwa on the sweeter side or you aren't wanting the crust and just want the carrot halwa with ice cream or on its own, feel free to add in the extra 1/4 cup sugar that's in the recipe! I used half of that.
Get in my belly!!!! Tomorrow's dessert is not in the planning stages. Make sure to follow me on Instagram at @themonskerlife to see it as soon as it's posted. I'm thinking of some sort of cake ya'll. Instagram is such an inspiration for me so I am going to see what kind of ideas I can get. Stay tuned!