The flaky pastry crumbles under the pressure of the knife and when you bite into it, it's an explosion of textures and flavours! : The modern gujiya
The flaky pastry crumbles under the pressure of the knife and when you bite into it, it’s an explosion of textures and flavours!: The modern gujiya

Holi does call for delicacies and desserts! Given my penchant for no-sugar added cooking and doing something out of the box, I gave the traditional gujiya a twist! Gujiyas are nothing but sweet dumplings made of maida and filled with a delightful khoya and dry fruits mixture that are popularly made in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh during the festive season. Sadly, they are deep-fried in ghee and dipped in a sugary syrup! Not something I would cook in my kitchen and yet one has to keep up with tradition! I trapped my dry fruits mix in phyllo pastry and baked it! The sweetness came from the dry fruits and the crispy crackle of the pastry, just added to the delight!

The slightly well done edge
The slightly well done edges of the filling will add flavour!

I don’t usually use ready-made pastry, but this phyllo was sitting in the deep freeze for the past three months, and was begging to be used! Given that I was cooking for a chaat party that called for Pani Puri, Bhel and Ragda Pattice, I did have my hands full and could do with saving three hours of my kitchen time! Sadly I pulled it out way before time and couldn’t separate the layers as I would have liked to. I thus rolled it and give it a crunchy pastry base! Should you want to go all healthy, you could make a base with almond meal or almond flour and add just a wee bit of cornflour to it.

Time taken: 55 minutes

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 35 minutes per batch

Skill level: Basic

Serves: 12 adults

Equipment needed: Oven, pie dish

Ingredients:

  • 250 grams mawa or khoya
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup black raisins
  • 14 dried figs
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup poppy seeds
  • 1/4 cup pistachio
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 2 tablespoons cardamom powder
  • 2 tablespoons Everest Milk Masala
  • 1 packet (500 grams) Phyllo sheets (if you want to make your own, here’s the recipe)
  • 1 tablespoon homemade cow’s ghee

Method:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degree centigrade.

The dry fruit needs to be pulverised such that it still has a bite on it!
The dry fruit needs to be pulverised such that it still has a bite on it!

2. Grind together all the ingredients except for the mawa, and powders. Place all of this in a deep bowl.

Add the khoya and mix it by hand!
Add the khoya and mix it by hand! That’s the only way to this awesomeness!

3. Add the mawa and the powders and mix well by hand. The body heat will help bring the ingredients together. (This mix is enough to make 2 12-inch diameter pies)

4. Cut the pasty dough into 4 equal halves. Roll out one half on a well floured surface. And another too.

5. Brush your pie dish with the ghee and cover it with the rolled out pastry. Add half the filling and cover it with the second rolled pastry.

Make the bottom layer fairly thin, but remember to not put too much pressure when you're rolling the pastry out.
Make the bottom layer fairly thin, but remember to not put too much pressure when you’re rolling the pastry out.

6. Brush the top with ghee. Make a cross-cut in the centre of the top and bake for 35 minutes at 180 degree centrigrade. You could brush your pie with milk too, but I prefer the taste and crispness from ghee.

The cross mark on top lets the trapped air escape while its baking andgives you a crispier top
The cross mark on top lets the trapped air escape while its baking and gives you a crisper top.

7. When the top is golden and the pie has opened up to reveal it layers, take it out of the oven and let it cool down.

8. Serve it cold. You could add ice cream to it, if you wish. Given the occasion I would have gone with a thandai ice cream. But it’s just as beautiful without it too!

The beauty of the Mawa and Dry fruits pastry, without the sweetness of added sugar!
The beauty of the mawa and dry fruits pastry, without the sweetness of added sugar!

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