If I were to ask you to name a dessert made with carrot you’d likely say carrot cake. And of course there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s a great cake, but the world of carrot desserts is so much more vast.
WATCH: How to Make Shortcut Carrot Sheet Cake
In India, a popular dessert is gajar halwa, which loosely translates to carrot pudding. It’s a personal favorite of Maneet Chauhan, a regular judge on Chopped who owns several restaurants in Nashville. She grew up in Punjab and for her, the dessert is heavily tinged with nostalgia.
“In India, we would get red carrots in December, and they last only two weeks, “ she told me. “They are sweetest for this delicious dessert. Mom used to make batches of it and then throw it in the freezer, so that we could stretch it for as long as possible.”
Now she serves a version of it at her Indian street food restaurant Chaatable. But making it at home isn’t complicated. She describes the process as cooking grated carrots in milk and spicing them with saffron and cardamom. She continues to cook them over a low flame until the milk is absorbed and then adds ghee.
Read more: The Right Way to Cut Carrots, No Matter How You’re Using Them
“It gets this lovely roasted, nutty flavor. And then I finish it with sugar, condensed milk, and nuts. So the consistency is thicker than a rice pudding,” she said. It’s served warm or cold, and can be scooped into balls that are dipped in chocolate for gajar halwa truffles.
Briana Carson owns Crave Pie Studio in Duluth, Georgia, where I recently attended a pie tasting. In anticipation of fall, she gave us a taste of her carrot pie. It was similar in color to pumpkin and sweet potato pie, but the texture was different. “It’s not as gelatinous as pumpkin or sweet potato pie,” a friend of mine remarked. It was dense yet custardy, and the cinnamon and nutmeg gave it that familiar warmth we associate with fall pies.
Carson was inspired by gajar halwa, and wanted to adapt it for a pie. “I just started playing around and kind of decided to go with a spice profile similar to pumpkin pie or sweet potato,” she said. She roasted the carrots to bring out their sweetness and pureed them until they were as smooth as possible. The pie is then topped with a thick marscapone whipped cream.
Carson shared her carrot pie recipe with us. Go ahead and try it for yourself.
Get the recipe: Spiced Carrot Pie
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