Gajar ka halwa - literally ‘carrot pudding’ – don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. Traditionally, it is stirred over the heat for hours on end, a sort of aroma-filled therapy, but this is a quicker version for those who don’t have the patience for delayed gratification. Make a big batch and eat it by itself or add to porridge, yoghurt, on toast... it is very versatile, and I guarantee it won’t last long. This version differs from the more traditional recipes which go heavy on the cream and ghee - I swap these for cashew milk and coconut oil, and I go easy on the sugar, but you can increase this if you prefer things sweeter. Here, the cooked carrot is layered between well-buttered slices of brioche and soaked in cardamom-infused custard. Cardamom should be the abiding flavour here (and if you can get ground cardamom this is more pungent than from the pods), but if you’re not a fan let the cinnamon and ginger steal the show. —millie.mcluskie
- Prep time 1 hour 10 minutes
- Cook time 1 hour 5 minutes
- Serves 6
- the carrot bit
carrot, grated (approx. 1 carrot)
cardamom pods, seeds removed and ground
soft brown sugar
- the bread and custard bit
soft brown sugar
brioche, 6 slices, cut in half on the diagonal
butter, softened to easily spreadable
pistachios, roughly chopped
- Start by making the gajar ka halva. Melt the coconut oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the grated carrot. Give it a good stir and cook for 2-3 minutes. Pour over the milk, sugar, spices and sultanas and stir to combine. Leave this simmering for 15-20 minutes, or until the liquid has been absorbed and the carrot is soft, stirring occasionally to ensure it doesn’t stick. Transfer to a plate and allow to cool to room temperature.
- To the custard - in a saucepan, warm the cashew milk and double cream with the cardamom (bashed slightly to open the pods) to infuse it. Just before the milk bubbles, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool down.
- Butter the brioche slices, and layer these into a 1.5 litre ovenproof dish, alternating brioche with the cooled carrot mix.
- In a bowl, beat the eggs, egg yolk and sugar together, then when the milk mixture is just above room temperature (no hotter), pour the milk into the bowl, stirring constantly until smooth and combined. Pour into the dish with the bread and carrot mix and leave to sit for at least 30 minutes - the longer the better.
- Preheat the oven to 395F/200C/180C fan.
- Scatter the chopped pistachios over the pudding, and then put the dish into a deep roasting tray and pour about 2cm of water into the tray. Transfer to the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes, until crisp and browned on top and the custard is just firm. It may need some foil over the top to stop it burning for the last 10 minutes or so.
- Allow it to cool down slightly before serving.