As I had mentioned in a previous post, this month I shall try and upload a couple of posts dedicated to Holi. The first one being the Kesar Thandai Cookies (Spicy Shortbread Cookies), this Holi post is especially for Hopscotch. Hopscotch is an online store, which sells baby and kids brands from around the world, but not in the traditional sense. Every day, the store launches new limited-time boutiques. Members receive a daily email revealing the latest boutiques. You can find more details here. Hopscotch has introduced a new feature at their Facebook & Instagram account where along with their merchandise. They also share recipes for kids every month provided by yours truly.
Although I am not fond of playing with colors on Holi but I love to feast on the Holi spread that my mum-in-law makes each year on this festival of colors. There are certain dishes that are made only on this festival and we eagerly look forward to this festival each year to gorge on all the goodies –gujiya, dahi bhalle, thandai, bhuna gosht or roasted lamb curry that is served with pua (not Malpua). That is a typical Bihari feast for Holi – rich, greasy and gratifying. In fact Holi without gujiya and Chhena Malpua is unthinkable. You will unfailingly find a gujiya post on almost every Indian bloggers portal. As for me, well, after much procrastination I am finally uploading a post on gujiya but not the typical way that it is served which is half moon shaped, crimped and deep fried. I have instead tried to turn them chic by transforming them into pop tarts. Here’s three reasons why – first and the foremost reason is that I have never made gujiya before (although I have seen my mil making it umpteen numbers of times) and I find it too tedious a job to roll the dough in discs, crimp/ pleat the edges with hands and them fry them in batches. Second major reason was, as I just said, hours of sitting by the stove to gently fry the gujiyas to golden perfection is asking too much from me. And third reason doesn’t really qualify to be a reason but which anyway led to a fusion kind of dessert that screams of ‘pick me up!’
Similar to empanadas, gujiya is deep fried pastry filled with a variety of fillings that can vary from semolina to khoya to only dried fruits or coconut and khoya (thickened solidified milk). The permutation combinations are a matter of choice. Aromatics such as cardamom and nutmeg are added to the filling. The pastry or the outer layer is meant to be crispy yet flaky in its texture. Although, it is native to Rajasthan, it is popular in different regions of India and each region has rechristened it with a different name – karanji, pedakiya or padaukiya, ghughra, karjikayi. Here, I have tried to give gujiya a makeover by turning it into Gujiya Pop Tarts. They are baked and instead of giving them a customary dip in the sugar syrup to heavily glaze them, I have brushed them with saffron sugar syrup to just glaze them on one side. They are yummilicious with crisp flaky shell and scrumptious filling of khoya. Irresistible for sure; try them to believe them. I have this obsession with saffron and I couldn’t resist adding some to the pastry dough and a little to the syrup. Feel free to skip it from the dough if you wish to and add cardamom powder instead to the syrup.
2 C APF (Maida)
1½ tbsp Semolina (Suji)
1½ tbsp Sugar
A pinch baking soda
5 tbsp Ghee
1/3 C Water
¼ tsp Saffron (optional)
1 tbsp Milk (to soak saffron)
300grams Khoya / Mawa (should be available at Indian stores)
3 tbsp Desiccated Coconut
2 tbsp finely chopped Almonds
2 tbsp finely chopped Pistachio
1/3 C Sugar
1 Egg, beaten OR a few table spoons of Milk (optional)
Flaked almonds for garnish/ decoration (optional)
For Sugar Glaze
¼ C Sugar
¼ C Water
A pinch of Saffron
If using saffron, crush and soak it in warm milk (to add to the dough later). Set aside.
Crumble or grate the khoya. In a thick bottom pan add the khoya and roast it on low flame till it changes colour to light brown (approximately 25 minutes or so). Add desiccated coconut and roast further for 2 minutes. Add nuts. Remove from the heat. When the roasted khoya is still warm, add sugar and mix it well. Set aside. (It took me approximately 25 – 30 minutes to bring the khoya to the desired color. Be careful towards the end of the roasting process so that the khoya does not turn too dry. It should be moist yet a little brownish in colour)
While you wait for the khoya to cool, make the dough. In a mixing bowl, whisk together APF, semolina, sugar and baking soda. Add the ghee and start rubbing the flour mix with the tip of your fingers. Add water gradually and as much as required to make medium soft dough. Knead the dough for 2 minutes. Divide the dough in two parts and make two neat balls. Set aside for half an hour covered with a moist cloth so that the dough does not dry out.
Making the pop tarts
Preheat the oven at 180 degrees C. Thinly roll one ball and use a cookie cutter to cut out dough in the desired shape – preferably round, square or rectangular. In case you don’t have a cookie cutter, roll the dough in rectangle shape of size 9 by 12 inches. Trim the edges. Cut it length wise to have approximately two and half inch wide strips. Cut these further to have the size you desire. 3’ by 2.5’ should be fine.
Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Place each cut out cookie on the baking sheet at an inch distance. Scoop one heaped teaspoon of cooled mawa filling in the centre of each cookie cut out and cover with another layer of cookies dough cut out. Seal the sides all around by pressing the edges with a fork. Repeat this process till all the dough is used and filled. Brush the top of the pop tarts / gujiya with beaten egg or milk to and sprinkle flaked almonds. Bake in the oven for approximately 15 minutes or till it begins to just turn golden brown. Remove from the oven over to the wire rack.
Meanwhile, quickly make the syrup by boiling together the sugar and water for one and a half minute along with the saffron. Keep it aside. While the pop tarts are still warm, brush them with the saffron sugar syrup. Once the pop tarts are completely cool and the syrup has nicely glazed them, store them in an air tight container.
Note: You may not need to add all 1/3rd cup of water mentioned in the ingredients. Add the water gradually till you have a medium soft dough.
Note: Basting the pastry with egg or milk is purely optional. However, I recommend doing that coz it gives a nice golden color to the pastry.
Note: Adding saffron to the dough is also optional. But using it really took the taste of the pop tarts to another level.
Yield: 20 pop tarts
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