Keto and sugar-free pumpkin halwa (a pudding-like dessert in India) is an ideal fall treat or dessert. Why? First of all, it uses a real pumpkin (sorry, you cannot use canned pumpkin for this recipe), which is pretty cool. Second, although using a real pumpkin may sound like a lot of work, this recipe is quite simple since there are only a few ingredients. Last, this delicious and cozy dessert (think warm pudding!) will surely satisfy your sweet tooth.
This yummy pumpkin halwa, adapted from Swasthi’s Recipes, uses grated pumpkin, ghee (or butter), Swerve sweetener, heavy cream and cardamom (you can replace cardamom with cinnamon if need be). Although pumpkin halwa is not necessarily a traditional halwa, the ingredients and process for making it are very similar.
A word of warning to use the right pumpkin. If you've only used canned pumpkin before, you might be surprised to learn the pumpkins you carve into jack-o-lanterns aren't ideal for cooking. Pumpkins for cooking are generally called pie pumpkins, sugar pumpkins, or sugar pie pumpkins. Pick one of those.
This recipe typically takes us about 20 minutes to make. The toughest part is cutting or peeling off the outer skin of the pumpkin (it doesn’t have to be pretty as long as it gets done!). After that, simply grate the pumpkin (just two cups needed) and cook it with the remaining ingredients in a pan. When the pumpkin cooks, you’ll notice that it shrinks down quite a bit. In fact, you may wonder if there is enough for three people. But a little is all you need since this dessert is quite filling and rich.
We hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do. I still remember the first time I fell in love with carrot halwa (Gajar ka halwa). It’s definitely one of our favorite Indian desserts!
More about Halwa
Halwas are traditional Indian desserts with a pudding-like consistency that range from sweet to savory in flavor. There are hundreds of variations of halwa, which differ by region as well. For example, there is carrot halwa, semolina halwa, potato halwa, date halwa, etc. Halwas are made for almost any and every occasion. Halwa is a simple dessert typically made with ghee, sugar, sometimes milk, and topped with roasted nuts.
Keto Pumpkin Halwa
- 2 cups grated sugar pie or pie pumpkin (2 cups grated is about 200g or 7 oz)
- 2 tablespoons ghee or coconut oil or butter
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons Swerve Granular (you may want to add more sweetener to taste - we prefer lightly sweetened)
- 1 pinch cardamom powder (or ¼ to ½ teaspoon cinnamon)
- A few slivered almonds per serving (we use 3 grams per person)
- Get started: Rinse pumpkin and cut in half. Cut one side in half again (you’ll use nearly a quarter pumpkin). Spoon out the insides (pulp and seeds) in one quarter section and cut off or peel the outer skin. Grate the remaining core into 2 cups (roughly 200 grams or 7 ounces).
- Make the halwa: In a large skillet, heat ghee on medium heat and add grated pumpkin. Cook for roughly 5 or 6 minutes until no longer raw and pumpkin darkens in color. Add heavy cream and cook until absorbed. Add sweetener and stir to combine. Stir in a pinch of cardamom. Remove from heat.
- Finish and serve: Serve in small dessert cups and top with roasted slivered almonds. You may also serve with sugar-free whipping cream or sugar-free ice cream if desired.
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