Are you excited to see pumpkins in fall? Does pumpkin carving and sweet treats and anything Halloween excite you? Is it also a time when you are celebrating Deepavali or Diwali and looking forward to trying out savoury and sweet Indian sweets? Are you lighting up your house with lamps and visiting family and friends with boxes of mithai just to say “Happy Diwali” ? If you answer “YES” to even one of these questions, the below post will interest you.
Yes we all know how specific ingredients, seasons and festivals take over the blogging world. So no surprise we have pumpkins all around us especially with this week being “Halloween week”. However, this week we also mark the celebration of the Indian festival of lights – Diwali- being celebrated everywhere. I do not ardently celebrate Diwali or Halloween for that matter (sigh!). But I definitely strive to ardently celebrate the food and all things related to food that festivals like these bring along with them. So while exploring ideas and creations and thinking all that I can do with food for Halloween and Diwali, comes my next recipe – A fusion of legacy (Is legacy an appropriate term for food ? :)) ingredients associated with Diwali such as pistachios, ghee, cardamom and barfis and our Halloween pumpkins to go with it.
Many of you may be aware that Indian Sweets like barfis are incomplete without super sweet sugar syrups, bright colors , generous amounts of clarified butter (ghee) and high proportions of nuts such as almonds and pistachios. But what many do not realise is that if you make Indian sweets at home , although may not be super healthy , you can cut down on a lot of the unwanted items plus use your own fresh ingredients which can make a world of a difference. For instance in this recipe, I have used honey as a sweetener along with pumpkin which is in itself sweet plus a natural food color (So no external food coloring required). And of course you control the butter. The good part of this recipe is that since I used roasted pumpkin puree , the amount of butter required was very less since the pumpkin was a good binding agent.
1.5 cups (App. 200 grams) chickpea or gram flour (besan)
500 grams pumpkin
70 grams unsalted butter (Can use clarified butter or ghee as well. I ran out of ghee so used unsalted butter)
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon green cardamom seeds crushed
Handful of raw pistachios (about 2 fist full)
Olive oil to roast pumpkin
Cut the pumpkin in squares and roast with olive oil in a pre-heated oven at 180 degree centigrade until the pumpkin turns soft and mushy. Then blend it with a little added water to form a thick puree. In a deep non stick pan melt butter and then add in the chickpea flour or besan. Keep roasting the flour for about 15 min until it turns brown and a nutty aroma lingers around. Keep stirring and do not let the flour burn . This is to get rid of the rawness in the chickpea flour. Once roasted add in the cardamom seeds, honey and the pumpkin puree in that order and stir vigorously. It will be a big sticky lump in the pan. Keep stirring for a few minutes. Then pour it over a round or square deep dish in which you want it to set. Pat all over with a spatula to distribute it evenly.
For the pistachio crust:
Soak the raw pistachios in water for a few hours. Crush them in a blender until they are coarsely crushed . We do not want a fine paste. Pour some milk and 2 teaspoons of honey in a deep non stick pan. Transfer the crushed pistachios in the pan. Keep stirring for a while until the milk starts to evaporate and you have a thick mess. Kind of looks like a chutney or a jam preserve.
Pour the pistachio preserve over the pumpkin flour mix in the round bowl and distribute evenly. Chill the dish in a refrigerator for a few hours and then remove and cut into squares . Serve.
So my dear readers whether you are saying “Trick or Treat” or “Happy Diwali”, I am sure these squares (a.ka. barfi ) can be enjoyed by everyone everywhere. Have a splendid Halloween . And a splendid Diwali!
Talking about sweets and Diwali and festivals, do enjoy some very informative and resourceful related links below:
1) What Indian Sweets mean especially during Diwali. Read over at the Guardian here
2) Food Adventures with Madhur Jaffrey in NY . Read here
3) Some Diwali recipes over there
4) A background on laddoo – I truly love laddoos here
5) A lovely Saffron Cardamom SriKhand with Greek Yogurt. Yum
6) As if we didn’t have enough on Barfis . Here is an Almond Barfi
7) Some fabulous sweet Pumpkin recipes are all here
8) Some Pumpkin scones to enjoy here
9) Some Pumpkin Oatmeal cookies to try here
10) Love the idea of baked French Toast but using Pumpkin by Two Peas and their Pod
11) You cannot have enough chocolate and this one includes pumpkin as well
12) All about Pumpkins here