This traditional halwa recipe is in essence a gloriously squidgy date and walnutfudge, but in Peter Joesph's elegant Indian dessert recipe it is upgraded from mere sweet snack with the addition of hazelnut Chantilly, vanilla ice cream and caramelised walnuts. With cardamom adding a wonderful aroma to the halwa fudge and nuts, seeds and dried fruits providing beautiful texture, any leftover fudge can be enjoyed with a cup of tea or coffee in place of petits four.
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Start by softening the dates before cooking. Place in a bowl and cover with the milk, then leave to soak for 2–3 hours
350g of dates, pitted
500ml of milk
After this time, transfer the soaked dates and milk to a food processor or blender and blitz together to form a thick paste. Transfer to a pan and place over a low heat
Cook for 5 minutes, stirring continuously, until the liquid has mostly absorbed to leave a thick purée. Stir in half of the melted butter and continue to cook for another 5 minutes until fully incorporated
28g of butter, melted
Add the sugar, condensed milk, walnuts, seeds, raisins and cardamom to the pan, stirring continuously to mix through evenly without the mixture catching
50g of sugar
3 tbsp of condensed milk
3 tbsp of chopped walnuts
3 tbsp of dried melon seeds
3 tbsp of golden raisins
1 pinch of ground cardamom
Cook gently for another 10 minutes, then stir in the remaining melted butter while stirring until the mixture comes together as a thick, sticky fudge
28g of butter, melted
Transfer to a greased baking tray or tin, spreading out to a thickness of 1.5cm. Allow to cool to room temperature before serving
Meanwhile, make the caramelised walnuts. Place the sugar and water in a small pan and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Add the walnut halves and cook over a gentle heat for 10–12 minutes
100g of sugar
100ml of water
8 walnut halves
Place the oil in a separate, deep frying pan and place over a high heat. Once heat, drain the walnuts from the syrup and fry in the oil until golden brown. Drain any excess oil on kitchen paper and set aside until ready to serve
500ml of oil, for frying
To make the hazelnut Chantilly, place the cream and icing sugar in a bowl and whip to form soft peaks. Mix in the hazelnut praline paste until evenly combined, transferring to a piping bag until ready to serve
100ml of double cream
2 tbsp of icing sugar
2 tbsp of hazelnut praline paste
To serve, cut the set date fudge into 5cm squares, slicing these in half diagonally into triangles. Divide between serving plates, piping the hazelnut Chantilly across the plates. Top with the walnuts and slivers of date, then sprinkle crushed biscuits to one side and top with a generous scoop of ice cream. Garnish with freeze-dried raspberries and serve immediately
4 dates, pitted and cut into slivers
4 tbsp of chocolate biscuits, such as Oreo biscuits, crushed
1 tsp freeze-dried raspberries
vanilla ice cream
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