Carrot Halwa Tarts {With Vanilla Orange Custard}

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Carrot Halwa Tarts {With Vanilla Orange Custard}

Warm, rich and seductive, these carrot halwa and custard tarts are the perfect Valentine’s day dessert. From the flaky, buttery homemade tart crust to the decadent carrot halwa based filling, and topped with a light and fresh vanilla-orange custard, this is one luscious treat to share with your loved ones!

Ingredients:

For the shortcrust pastry dough,
All purpose flour – 1 cup
Unsalted butter – ½ cup, cold and cut into small cubes
Ice cold water – 2-3 tablespoons (or as needed)

For the carrot halwa,
Ghee – 2 tbsp
Carrots – 2½ cups, grated
Sweetened condensed milk – ⅔ cup
Almonds – 2 tbsp, chopped
Golden raisins – 2 tbsp
Cardamom powder – ½ tsp
Salt – a pinch

For the vanilla-orange custard,
Whole milk – 2 cups
Cornstarch – 3 tbsp
Sugar – ¼ cup
Vanilla extract – 1 tsp
Fresh orange zest – 2 tbsp (from a large orange)
Unsalted butter – 1 tbsp

Method:

1. Shortcrust pastry dough: Crumble the flour and cubes of butter together to form a breadcrumb like mixture. A food processor makes this step really easy. If you are using your fingers, be very quick as you do not want to melt the butter.
2. Add water a tablespoon at a time till the dough just comes together. Form dough into a tight ball, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least half an hour or up to one day. For long-term storage, the dough can be froze, then thawed and used.
3. Carrot Halwa: Melt the ghee in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the carrots and saute for 4-5 minutes, stirring often.
4. Then add the condensed milk, almonds, raisins, cardamom powder and a pinch of salt. Cook till carrots are tender and almost all the liquid is absorbed. Taste and adjust sweetness if desired. Keep stirring every now and then.
5. Once all the milk has been absorbed, keep stirring the halwa continuously till it begins to leave the sides of the pan and starts chasing the ladle. The halwa will be thick and glossy now. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
6. Vanilla-Orange Custard: Mix the cornstarch in ¼ cup of milk. Set aside.
7. Heat the remaining milk in a deep saucepan. When the milk just begins to boil, add the cornstarch slurry and sugar. Keep cooking, whisking the mixture constantly. In 4-5 minutes, the custard will start to thicken and turn glossy.
8. Now add the vanilla extract, orange zest and butter. Whisk well for a few seconds till butter is melted. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Custard will thicken further once cool.
9. Carrot Halwa Tarts: Pre-heat the oven to 400 deg. F. Brush six 4″ mini tart pans lightly with oil and set aside.
10. Take out the dough from the refrigerator. Roll the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface to ¼ inch thickness. Cut circles slightly larger than the size of your tart pans. Place the dough circle in the tart pan, pressing it up the sides. Trim the edges by running your rolling pin over the pan. Prick the dough crust with the tines of a fork. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
11. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix the carrot halwa with half the amount of custard. You are looking for a filling that is thick, but creamy.
12. Once crust is sufficiently chilled, fill the tart pans with this mixture. Bake for 20-22 minutes or till tart is puffed and the crust can be seen pulling away from the pan sides.
13. Remove from oven and cool tarts slightly on a wire rack. Carefully remove the tarts from the tart pans. Serve warm tarts with a dollop of the custard on top.

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