carrot baklava

Makes approximately 40 pieces
Tin size – 13 inch x 9 inch

Carrot Halwa

1 ½ kg carrots, grated
100g ghee, plus 1 ½ tbsp extra
100g sugar
8 cardamom pods
40 pistachio nuts, roughly crushed
6 tbsp milk powder
3 tbsp buttermilk

Baklava layer
200g ghee

375g pack filo pastry
½ cup pistachio nuts, finely crushed

Syrup
2 cups sugar

1 cup water
1 tsp rose water
Squeeze of lime or lemon juice

Place carrot in a covered microwave proof dish with ½ cup of water.
Microwave for 5 minutes. Remove and turn carrots to ensure even cooking.
Microwave for another 5 – 6 minutes until soft.
Make the milk mix – in a microwave proof bowl, mix together 1 ½ tbsp ghee, milk powder and buttermilk. Microwave for 30 seconds. Remove from microwave and stir until smooth.
Crush cardamom pods and extract seeds.
In a large fry pan, melt 100g ghee.
Add cardamom seeds, and fry until fragrant. About 1 – 2 minutes.
Add carrots and continue to fry over high heat for 3 minutes, then add nuts.
Keep cooking, stirring occasionally, until ghee starts to separate from the carrot mixture.
Add sugar and mix well. Continue cooking for another 5 – 7 minutes, until carrots become very soft.
Add the milk mixture, and stir until well combined. Continue cooking for another 2 – 3 minutes, until carrot mix becomes almost like a paste.
Remove from heat, and allow to cool a little. 

Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celcius.
In a small saucepan, melt the ghee for the Baklava pastry.

In your tin, start layering half the filo pastry (approx 20 layers). Ensure to brush each layer with ghee before placing the next layer of pastry.
Once you have finished half the pastry, layer with the cooled carrot mix.
Then start layering again.
Once all pastry has been used, carefully cut the top set of pastry into diamonds.
Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, or until golden and crispy.

While the baklava is baking, prepare the sugar syrup.
Place the sugar and water into a saucepan, and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally.
Keep on medium boil until the mixture starts to thicken, about 12 – 15 minutes.
Add the rose water, and squeeze of lime.
Continue to boil for another 2 minutes.

Remove the baklava from the oven, and pour over sugar syrup while both are still hot.
Sprinkle over the finely crushed pistachios.
Allow to cool in the pan. All the syrup will be soaked up by the pastry.
Carefully cut through to the bottom layer of pastry and serve.

* Halwa recipe adapted from SBS Food,  http://www.sbs.com.au/food

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