If you are a South Indian like me, or have South Indian friends, you’ve probably had several versions of Pumpkin halwas by now. But my version puts together this exotic Indian dessert into an elegant container! Pumpkin Halwa Pastry Tarts are perfect party desserts, something you can take to a bake sale or even sell at your local Farmer’s market next weekend. And you won’t believe how simple it is.
If you want to make this in advance for a party, make the halwa the night before and refrigerate until you need it. Thaw the puff pastry while the main courses are being served and while someone’s clearing the table, fill into the puff pastry, bake and in 20 minutes, you are done!
You start off by peeling and de-seeding the pumpkin. Then grate through a fine mesh grater (not the one that gets you just mush), and squeeze the liquid out of the flesh. Reserve both the flesh and the squeezed juice, don’t throw anything out.
I have been finding it slightly hard to find white pumpkin at my local grocery but if you do, grab it! I found that a little over 1lb of white pumpkin gave me just 1/2 cup of flesh and all the rest was just water! Seriously – 1/2 cup flesh to more than 2 cups of water!!! That’s insane!
Which also means that pumpkins are great weight-loss foods, with almost no calories, but rich in minerals, vitamins, fiber and anti-oxidants. So this dessert, is a good compromise for those watching what they eat.
When I say white pumpkin, I am referring to the green skin-white flesh kind. I’m not sure what it’s called, but if you do, let me know in the comments below.
Cook this pumpkin liquid in a medium pan, until it’s reduced by half. Then add in the squeezed pumpkin flesh, saffron and sugar. If you don’t have any saffron, substitute with a pinch of yellow food color. If you have neither, move on and don’t worry about it too much. Keep stirring until all the liquid dissipates and you are left with a thick mass. Stir in ghee and roasted cashews and remove from heat.
This Kasi Halwa or White Pumpkin Halwa – is good on its own, and the first time I made it with the intention of making this pastry tart, I ended up eating all of it shamelessly in the name of ‘tasting’ and the pastry sheets stayed safe and unused in the freezer. It’s that good! Sweet, crunchy, flavoured and coloured golden by the saffron – it is quite a delight!
This quantity makes just enough to serve two people as halwa, but turn it into a pastry tart and 9 people can enjoy it! Ah-ha!
There are so many different ways to shape the puff pastry, I just picked this one. You cut up the thawed puff pastry sheet into 9 squares – I just buy Pepperidge Farms Puff pastry sheets, but if you are making it yourself, you will need a 9.5″ x 9.5″ sheet about 1/4″ thick.
Fold each square into a triangle and make two incisions (see above picture). Open up the square, and fold the top cut down. Then overlap the bottom cut, folding it upwards. Easy!
Fill the centers with the cooled, pumpkin halwa. Make sure to pile it up, because as the puff pastry rises in the oven, you don’t want the filling to get hidden.
Bake for 20 minutes and you are done! Just wait for it to cool a little before devouring them all in one sitting.
When you make these (which I really think you SHOULD!), be sure to SHARE YOUR PHOTOS with me through Facebook, Instagram (@loveisinmytummy) or Twitter (@loveisinmytummy). I’d love to see what you cook from here and will share it with pride on my social media feeds.