A Canadian Whisky Caramel Sauce and an Indian Carrot Pudding

carrot pudding with whiskey caramel sauce

We are sweating over summer plans. Did I mention that ever since we moved to Canada in January this year, we have been living a vagabond life between BnBs and service apartments? With most of our belongings from our previous life in Dubai tucked away in a self-storage somewhere in Toronto, we are lugging around a few suitcases and cartons around the city till we buy and move into our own home. I will save the rant about finding a house in Toronto for another day, another post.

For the past two months, we have been growing roots at a service apartment downtown, but they are kicking us out next month to accommodate the influx of international summer tourists! I have kind of gotten attached to this place. It is where I started my blog, I have become comfortable with this kitchen and the oven. It is not amazing, but it is functional, clean and spacious. I am dreading moving into another BnB that looks great in pictures and then you find that basic pots and pans are missing or there is way too much clutter from the owner or the bed creaks precariously everytime you move!Gajar Halwa with Caramel sauce4

Since we are both jobless and living the, we-sold-all-our-stuff-and-now-we-travel-the-world, kind of life albeit without the Instagram posts that makes the whole world jealous, we decided to do some local exploration. So we are looking at spending a few weeks in Montreal, Ottawa, Prince Edward County, eat lots of great food, sip lots of good wine, and basically chill in the Canadian heat. I have no idea how I am going to run a baking blog while living out of a suitcase, but this calls for more planning, nail biting and more sweat! We put our Canadian and Indian head together and hopefully come up with an awesome summer vagabond plan. Looking forward to that!

Gajar Halwa with Caramel sauce5

Meanwhile, a Canadian twist to this classic Indian dessert – Gajar ka Halwa or Indian Carrot pudding. I had been thinking of doing something with alcohol. Recently I have been trying different types of whiskey, bourbon trying to figure out what kinds I like. So I absolutely had to do something with whiskey. It lends a beautiful subtle undertone to the dessert depending on what kind you are using. We had some Collingwood whiskey which has undertones of maple, apple, and caramel so it got me thinking along those flavor lines.

Gajar Halwa with Caramel sauce8

Gajar Halwa with Caramel sauceThis beautiful caramel sauce by Sally’s Baking Addiction got me thinking about homemade caramel sauce with whiskey. Also we recently learnt to make caramel at my baking class, so I felt confident and wasn’t nearly as scared of cooking sugar in my kitchen as I used to be. Is it mental to slurp on spoonfuls of caramel sauce?

Caramel Sauce1

What I learnt

  • It is important to not be afraid of caramel making. Just be bold and calm. Sugar is sensitive and temperamental and it can sense your anxiety…
  • Cook on medium heat in a very clean saucepan. Always use a big saucepan as it bubbles when you add butter and cream.
  • Do not move away from the stove. You have to watch it like a hawk! It can go from slow and boring to burnt very fast!
  • Don’t stir it too much, just hold the handle of the sauce pan and swirl it gently a few times during the process.

Gajar Halwa with Caramel sauce2Now that we have tackled the hard part, the pudding is really a breeze. Just make sure to cook it on a gentle heat and stir often to avoid it sticking to the pan. Since the Whisky has undertones of apple and maple I added those flavors to the Halwa which is not traditional at all. Also I added ginger to give a bit of zing and heat. The fried ginger for garnish gives it a something. Please don’t skip it!

Gajar Halwa with Caramel sauce6

Gajar Halwa with Caramel sauce3

A Canadian Whisky Caramel Sauce and an Indian Carrot Pudding

Serves – 2 guilt-free portions

Ingredients

For the Whisky Caramel Sauce
1 cup sugar
Water for brushing sides
4 tbsp butter
¾ cup cream
3 tbsp whiskey

For the Indian Carrot, Apple and Ginger pudding/halwa
1¼ cup grated carrot (one medium carrot)
1 cup peeled, cored and grated apple (one medium – any tart type)
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 cup milk (I used low fat)
¼ scant cup sugar (since I served the pudding with the caramel sauce, I kept the sugar level low. But you can increase it a bit if serving the pudding on its own)
¼ cup maple syrup
3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp whiskey

For garnish
2 tbsp oil for frying
1 tbsp thinly sliced ginger
Nuts

Directions

For the Whisky Caramel Sauce
Start melting the sugar in a very clean big saucepan on medium heat. Keep a bowl with water and a pastry brush at hand. Once the sugar starts to heat, you will see little crystals form on the sides of the pan. Brush them with water. This is so that the melting sugar does not react with the crystals and go crazy.
Just give the pan a swirl once in a while. Gradually the sugar will start to melt and then very fast it will start to change colour. Swirl if you see it melting unevenly.
Once it turns a golden, amber colour take it off the heat and add the butter. Be careful as it will bubble up. Then add the cream and whisky. Stir till incorporated then place the saucepan back on the heat till just heated through.

For the Indian Carrot, Apple and Ginger pudding/halwa
In a heavy bottomed pan, on medium heat, add the grated carrots, apple and ginger and fry till the natural juices are almost dried up.
Add half cup milk and cook till the milk is almost evaporated. Add the remaining milk and repeat. Do not forget to stir so that mixture does not stick to the pan.
Once all the milk has evaporated, add the sugar and maple syrup once again let the juices dry up.
Finally add the butter and stir till completely incorporated. Remove pan from heat.

For the Garnish
Fry the ginger in the oil till light brown and crisp. Remove and place on kitchen paper. Do the same with whatever nuts you are using. Almonds or pistachios are the most traditional. I didn’t have any so I used Sunflower seeds. Indians, please do not judge me! Serve the pudding/halwa with a generous drizzle of the caramel sauce and the fried goodness.

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