GAJAR HALWA FILLING (Carrot Pudding)
- 600gms grated carrots (use food processor or hand-held grater)
- 3 tbsp vegan butter/margarine*
- 4 cups plant-milk (I like using soy or Oatley oat milk)
- ½ cup raw sugar
- 1½ tsp cardamom powder (or finely grind 8-10 green cardamom pods)
- ½tsp cinnamon
- 2tbsp cashew meal (finely ground cashews)
- 3tbsp pistachio kernels
- 3 tbsp raw cashews
- 3 tbsp raisins/sultanas
- 1 pinch of saffron soaked in 1 tbsp of water
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup water
- Few strands of saffron
- 2 tsp orange peel finely chopped/grated (optional)
- Add sugar and water in a small pot and bring to boil. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer until the syrup coats the back of spoon. Keep it aside.
INGREDIENTS FOR ROLLING BAKLAVAS
- 3 Vegan Filo pasty sheets, thawed (Mine were 18”x10”inches i.e. 46cms x 26cms in size )
- Vegetable/light olive oil
- Heat up 2 tbsp vegan butter in a deep and wide heavy bottomed pan.
- Add carrots, milk, sugar, and spices.
- Bring to boil on medium heat with no lid.
- Mix in the remaining vegan butter, turn the heat to simmer and cook until the milk evaporates completely and you are left with a gooey mixture. Stir occasionally during this process to avoid burning, and the milk to boil over.
- Add nuts, sultanas, and saffron (along with the water it was soaked in) and mix well.
- Transfer it into a container, cover and keep it in the fridge for 2 hours before using. (If you have time keep it in the fridge overnight)
THE BAKLAVA CIGARS
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 Deg C/355 Deg F
- Wet two tea towels and wring them until you have squeezed out most of the water.
- Cut the filo pastry sheets in half along the widest edge. Cover them with one of the damp tea towels.**
- Take out one piece of filo pastry and place it front of you. Lightly brush the whole sheet with oil.
- Place about 2 to 3 tbsp of Gajar halwa mixture at the bottom of the sheet. Mould the filling into a long sausage using your hands. Leave 1 inch gap at the bottom and at the sides.
- Fold the bottom gap over the filling and then fold in the sides. Roll the cigar tightly over the filling. Use a little oil to seal the edge. Place the rolled cigar in a plate/on a clean surface, and cover it with the second damp towel. Repeat the process with the remaining filo pastry sheets.
- Tightly pack them next to each other in a lined and greased baking tray. Keep the seam side down. Using a knife cut the cigars into 2 pieces and brush them with some oil.
- Bake them for 25-35 minutes or until golden brown. Check after 25 minutes, as each oven can be a little different.
- Take them out and let them cool completely. Brush them with cold sugar syrup and drizzle any left-over extra goodness. You can garnish with some chopped nuts.
*Can use salted or unsalted vegan butter, they both with work just fine.
**You can fold the filo sheet in half and roll the cigar in a doubled-up sheet, it’s makes rolling a little easier. In this instance you will need 6 filo pastry sheets