Stuffed Pastry II (Gujiya)

I’d imagine that most holidays around the world incorporate different types of foods and Holi is no exception. In my nani’s family, no Holi celebration is complete without bright colors and gujiya (or assortments of sweets), which is used primarily as a festive sweet for special occasions such as Holi. I like to make these for Holi every year as it continues my family tradition and I wanted to share this recipe with readers. There are a variety of sweet or savory choices for the filling but a popular choice is a khoya-nut mixture from my nani’s kitchen. Like any traditional food, there are probably as many gujiya recipes as there are cooks. They are versatile and can be served deep-fried or baked. The previously posted recipe for gujiya is one of the sweets commonly associated with the traditional Holi celebration in my nani’s kitchen with or without dipping in sugar-honey syrup.

1 1/2 cups, grated carrot
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground green cardamom seeds
1/2 cup milk powder
1/4 cup desiccated coconut (texture somewhat like corn meal)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or unsalted cashews
1 cup flour, plus more for dusting
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup water or as needed
Sugar-honey syrup (optional)
Ghee or vegetable oil for deep-frying

1) To make the filling: Place grated carrots into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Stir and microwave for another 2 to 3 minutes to ensure even cooking. At this stage the carrots will become quite soft. Set aside.
2) Or omit the step #1 and melt butter in a heavy-bottomed pan and add grated carrots. Cook on low heat, stirring frequently, until softened or all the liquid has evaporated.
3) In a heavy-bottomed saucepan melt butter over the medium heat and cook softened carrots with sugar, stirring constantly, 5 to 6 minutes, or until the carrot mixture is quite thick like soft cookie dough.
4) Remove from the heat and add the cardamom, milk powder, lightly toasted coconut and walnuts. At this point I like to add a generous pinch of cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg. Stir to mix thoroughly. Let it cool completely before stuffing the gujiyas.
5) For making the dough and finishing the gujiyas follow the step #3 to step # 8 of the previous version of Stuffed Pastry (Gujiya) recipe posted on March 2, 2008 of Nani’s Indian Cooking blog.

Note: After deep-frying, these were dipped in the sugar-honey syrup that gave the finished product quite a sheen (almost resembling the sugar glaze on doughnuts). I personally omit this step.

Yield: 10-12 Stuffed Pastries.

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