Ghughras: A Diwali Sweet (Gujia)

Ghughras (Gujia or Karanji in Hindi) are an essential Diwali treat for Gujus. To celebrate this festival, my mom always went all out. She made a variety of different snack foods at home and ordered others from specialty sweet and snack shops.

Toffee Nut Hand-Pies (Ghoogra) by Indiaphile.info

There were many different sweets and snacks, but Ghugras were the one treat she made every year.  We started preparing days before and made everything in large quantities. There had to be enough to share with all of the friends and neighbors who stopped by to wish us well.

Toffee Nut Hand-Pies (Ghoogra) by Indiaphile.info
Toffee Nut Hand-Pies (Ghoogra) by Indiaphile.info

Making the Ghughras was a family affair. My mom made the filling and then we’d sit down on the floor and create an assembly line with my mom, grandma, my brother and me, while my dad was usually away at work.

We would watch a cricket match in the background and get to work.  He’d never admit to it now, but my little brother was great at crimping the little pastries. Much better than me!

I have been making my own ghughras for a few years now.  I love them and I always love trying a new variation on them. This year, I decided to make an “everything but the kitchen sink” filling and bake instead of fry them.

They came out delicious. And so much easier than frying them one or two at a time!

Celebrating Diwali with Homemade Hand-Pies (Ghoogra)

Ghughras: “Everything but the Kitchen Sink” Hand Pies

Ghughra, Karanji, or Gujia are an Indian sweet hand-pie always served at Diwali in my house
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: ghughra, handpie, Indian pie
Servings: 24
Calories: 271kcal

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp butter or ghee
  • ½ cup semolina
  • ¼ cup milk powder
  • ¼ cup dessicated coconut dry
  • ¼ cup almond flour
  • ¼ cup pistachio flour
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cardamom powder
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ cup golden raisins chopped
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • ½ cup toffee bits homemade (recipe below) or store bought
  • ½ cup milk for sealing
  • 2 tbsp butter melted (for brushing on to pastry)

Pastry:

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp cold butter
  • ¼ cup vegetable shortening chilled
  • 9 tbsp ice water
  • 3 tbsp vodka

Toffee:

  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp salt

Instructions

Filling:

  • Heat the butter or ghee in a skillet on medium high heat.
  • Add in the Semolina and roast till it is fragrant and starts to brown. Stir often.
  • Add in the milk powder, nut flours and cook for about 3 minutes.
  • Add in the coconut and poppy seeds. Continue to cook for about 2 more minutes.
  • Turn off heat and stir in the cardamom and nutmeg.
  • Let cool.
  • Add in the chopped raisins and toffee bits when cooled.

Toffee

  • In a heavy bottomed skillet, toss together all the ingredients.
  • Stir on medium heat until the sugar and butter melt into an amber colored caramel and starts to smoke slightly.
  • Pour onto a silicone sheet and let cool.

Pastry:

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt.
  • Mix in half the butter and shortening into the flour until it looks like cornmeal.
  • Mix in the other half of the fat until there are pea sized granules.
  • Add in the water and vodka to form a dough. This dough needs to be a little wetter than traditional pastry dough as it needs to be rolled our very thin.
  • Cut the dough into four pieces, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
  • Roll out the dough, one piece at a time, into a very thin sheet. Cut circles with a 3" diameter cookie cutter. Cover the circles with a damp paper towel until ready to use. Work quickly so that they don’t dry out.
    Cut circles

Assembly and Baking:

  • Position a rack on the top third of the oven. Preheat to 375 degrees.
  • Fill each circle with 1 tbsp of filling.
    Fill each circle
  • Wet the edges with either milk or water and press the two sides together to seal. Then either crimp the edge by using a press and twist motion or by pressing with a fork to ensure the seal is tight.
  • Brush the pastries with butter and bake, one batch at a time, for 18 to 20 minutes. Until just starting to turn golden.
    Bake
  • Cool on a cooling rack.
  • These can also be deep fried in oil if you prefer.

Nutrition

Calories: 271kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 34mg | Sodium: 229mg | Potassium: 76mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 312IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Toffee Nut Hand-Pies (Ghoogra) by Indiaphile.info
Toffee Nut Hand-Pies (Ghoogra) by Indiaphile.info

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