Now here’s something special, one of my favorite desserts from my “bachpan” - my childhood… Kalakand! Bringing this memory with me into the kitchen, I wanted to recreate that magic for Diwali, so I decided to renew the kalakand by giving a fun little spin and turning it into this beautiful free tart…
Its a modern interpretation of the traditional Indian sweet which is so so easy and quick to make recipe, away from rustling for hours in the kitchen traditionally.
Diwali and sweets are two things that go hand in hand - barfis, laddoos and many other desserts are what we first think of when we think of festive desserts. However, my story’s a bit different…when I was younger, everyone would enjoy the traditional desserts, but my dad would always make it a point to treat me to my favorite kalakand on Diwali! When I recount my memories of Diwali in my early childhood, amongst the precious memories of watching fireworks, lighting diyas and having a great time with my family and friends, the distinct delicious taste of kalakand remains with me. It was something super special just for me - the milky, creamy taste and delicate grainy texture of the khoya was such a divine experience, and in this tart, the crumbly crust alongside the rich Indian flavours of saffron, pistachio, cardamom and rose petals really rejuvenate my memories.
I'm also providing a gluten-free alternative!
Do give it a try this Diwali and give your festivities a modern touch!
PREP TIME: 15-20 minutes
BAKING TIME: 15-18 minutes
COOKING TIME: 12- 15 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 50 minutes
For normal tart pastry:
3 cups all purpose flour
250g unsalted butter, cold and diced
1 tsp kosher salt
3 tbsp granulated sugar
6 to 7 tbsp chilled water
For gluten-free tart pastry (check Cook's Notes)*
1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
3/4 cup almond flour
3 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 cup ghee, slightly condensed
1/4 tsp almond essence
3 to 4 tbsp chilled water
425g ricotta cheese (full fat)
395g condensed milk
1/3 cup milk powder (full fat)
1/4 tsp green cardamom powder
1/2 tbsp sliced pistachios
125ml whipping cream
1 1/2 tbsp confectioners sugar
Pinch of saffron
1 tbsp sliced pistachios
1/2 tbsp sliced almonds
Dried rose petals
6x4.5” flan tart tins
Ceramic Baking Beans/ dried Chickpeas/ dried kidney beans, for baking the pastry
To make the pastry add flour, salt, sugar and butter in a stand mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, blend everything together until the mixture resembles like bread crumbs, just for two 2 minutes. While the mixer is still on, add chilled water using a tablespoon at a time. Blend for just a minute or until the dough starts forming into a ball.
Transfer the dough on bench top and knead lightly with gentle hands to combine it together, taking care not to over-work the dough.
Divide the dough in 6 pieces, shape them into slightly flat balls. Wrap it in cling film individually and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, place the empty baking sheet in the oven and preheat it for 30 minutes at 200°C.
Remove cling wrap from the dough and place between two large parchment sheets. Roll it out to 3mm thickness, cut into six 6-inch wide circles, lift carefully and transfer on to flan tins.
Using the fingers, press the pastry gently against the edges of tin and trim off any excess. Score the pastry with fork. Cover them with a sheet of baking paper, drop the ceramic baking beans on the paper to put weight and stopping the pastry to puff. Place the prepared pastry tins carefully on preheated baking sheet and bake it for 18 minutes. Remove the baking beans along with baking paper and further bake it for 5-7 minutes until it turns golden brown.
When using gluten-free Reduce temperature to 180°C and bake it for 15-18 mins until it turns golden brown. Cool on wire rack.
In a non-stick heavy based shallow pan, pour condensed milk, ricotta cheese and milk powder. Stir on low heat for 12-15 minutes until milk mixture starts to thicken and leaves sides of pan.
Add cardamom powder and pistachio slices. Mix well and cook for another 2-3 minutes until slightly more thick in consistency but not dry. Remove from fire and let cool for 5 mins.
Now, equally distribute the kalakand into tart shells and spread it evenly with offset spatula. Let it cool to room temperature. Stick it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour to chill.
Grind the saffron in a small mortar and pestle.
Using the handheld mixer or an electric mixer, fitted with the balloon whisk attachment, whip the cream along with saffron and confectioner’s sugar.
Fill the whipped cream in a piping bag fitted with a flower nozzle, (I used #2D tip of Wilton). Pipe it on the chilled kalakand tarts and garnish with sliced pistachios, almonds and rose petals.
If you are gluten intolerant the pastry shells can also be made with gluten-free flour. Check the ingredients used to make the gluten-free pastry tart.*
For making gluten-free pastry, add all the pastry ingredients except water in the stand mixer bowl fitted with paddle attachment. Blend everything together until the mixture resembles like bread crumbs, just for a minute. While the mixer is still on, add chilled water using a tablespoon at a time. Blend for just a minute or until the dough starts forming into a ball. Transfer the dough on bench top and knead lightly with gentle hands to combine it together, taking care not to over-work the dough. Divide the dough in 6 pieces and shape them into slightly flat balls. Wrap it in cling film individually and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, place the empty baking sheet in the oven and preheat it for 30 minutes at 200°C.
To bake gluten-free tarts, reduce oven temperature to 180˚C after preheating and bake them for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown. ( Follow rest of the recipe above to make kalakand tarts)
Chilling the pastry in the fridge makes it more crispy, hence its an important step.
Preheating the baking sheet before baking the tart shells helps to crisp up the bottoms without burning. Baking the tarts directly on the oven rack might burn the pastry shells.
If you cannot find ricotta cheese, replace it with creamy paneer, grated coarsely.
Keep kalakand filling bit soft and into spreadable consistency as it will condense as it cools down. Reducing it too much will leave your kalakand filling bit stiff and not soft, creamy and melt in mouth consistency.