Gujhia, Guzia or Karanji, you might like to call it a sweet puff pastry, this is something you cannot go wrong with. Err..you cannot go wrong with it when you bake it. Many of my friends have been bugging me for ages to post a baked Gujhia recipe as there is no fear of the Gujhias getting punctured while deep frying. Yes, many people just fear that the most, the stuffing and sealing the edges is a skill and many beginners have a problem with this step. So this baked Gijhia is not at all low calorie of tinted as healthy food, the baking part is just to make the process convenient. Deep frying can be scary with a sugary stuffing for a beginner cook.
If not sealed properly the Gujhias just open up like a book in the hot oil and all the stuffing comes gushing out. Not a good sight, leads to a lot of frustration as the most laborious work goes down the drain. Even a small puncture in the seal can make the sugared stuffing ooze out and the molten sugar keeps browning in the hot oil and keep coating the other Gujhias being fried in the same batch. A frightening thought for all the dough challenged people. Yes, a dough sounds fun and easy to many and it just frightens so many others, be it bread or puff pastries or a crust of a pie.
And please do not be in an impression that the baked Gujhias are any lower on fat content. There is enough shortening (called moyan in hindi) in the pastry dough to make them crisp and there is more melted ghee brushed on them during baking too. So the deadly flour, fat and sugar combination is very much there to make you run an extra mile on the treadmill.
Having said that, you can always make the Gujhia using whole wheat flour and lesser ghee for shortening. That would result in a rustic pastry and a cracker like texture around the same khoya (evaporated milk) stuffing. While that might be a good idea if you are making it regularly for your kids, during festivals I feel like doing it the traditional way as it is a once in a year ritual.
Other sweet treats were made healthier using lesser sugar, a Besan and coconut burfi and a Sesame burfi is on the way. In quick succession I hope.
For ingredients and instructions to make this Gujhia, follow the list and procedure explained here...
- After stuffing the Gujhias as suggested, arrange all of them on a greased baking tray.
- Preheat the oven first and bake them at 200 C for the first 5 minutes and then at 150 C for 20 minutes more. The pastry ( the shell) would change the color to a pale white first and then it goes on to get pinkish brown. Take the baking tray out of the oven and brush all the Gujhias with melted ghee and proceed baking. You might like to brush then with ghee once again after a light pink color appears. Results in a fluffy and light baked pastry.
- The baking time can vary according to the size of the Gujhis you make and the thickness of the pastry you roll for stuffing. So keep a watch on the color of the baking Gujhias as you will be taking them out anyways for brushing molten ghee on them.
- Tap them with a knife to check if done, a hollow crisp voice indicates it's done and a pinkish brown color is desirable. Though a lighter color doesn't make a difference in taste. You won't want the Gujhias to brown more as it would result in caramalising the inner stuffing too much , a lightly caramalised stuffing is normal, but deep caramalisation would result in a tough texture when it cools. The Gujhia stuffing is supposed to be light and delicate normally.
I baked four batches of Gujhia this Holi..
Chandrakala is a cousin of Gujhia, just the shape is different as it is a full moon shape hence the name Chandra-kala (Chandra is moon in Sanskrit ; Kala is art). Gujhia is half moon :-)
The instant Gujhia/Chandrakala stuffing ...
milk powder 1/2 cup
sugar 1 tbsp (or more to taste)
chopped nuts 3 tbsp
poppy seeds 1 tsp
roasted semolina 1 tsp
grated fresh coconut 3 tbsp
green cardamom or clove powder a pinch
Mix everything well and use as stuffing.
The moisture in the fresh coconut ensures the milk powder and other ingredients get nicely homgenised while baking , the end product was a nicely caramalised stuffing.
Baking instructions are the same as Gujhia.
Some people like a thin coating of sugar syrup over the Gujhia and Chandrakala both. I like mine plain as the sugar syrup makes it heavy and too sweet to enjoy the delicate taste of Gujhias.
If planning to coat them with sugar syrup, make a syrup with 1/2 cup of sugar and 3 tbsp of water, cooked till frothy and poured over all the Gujhias to coat them lightly.
Would you overcome your reservations about making a perfectly shaped and nicely browned, crisp Gujhia?
Or there is a fear of baking?
Edited to add :
A few of my readers and friends were skeptical about the texture of the pastry cover, so I thought of posting a picture showing just how delicate and crisp the pastry was. Crumbling with every bite.
See how nice it looks when I took a bite. The color is lighter than the already roasted stuffing used for the Gujhias above, but the light caramalaisation worked great too.
Instant solutions re not always compromises. They yield great results sometimes.