Nothing says celebrations the way that sweets do, bring in Ramadan this year with these delicious and easy-to-make desserts. No one needs to be an expert chef to tackle these treats, they’re tasty and a fabulous way to impress your family too.
Here’s 5 desserts that’ll leave your sweet tooth satisfied:
Dates are a staple for Ramadan, and they’re a wonderful source of natural sweetness for those a bit more conscious about sugar. This recipe is sugar free, you’ll get all the sweetness from the dates.
- 300 grams of dates (seedless) (Tip: Opt for Medjool, they’re soft and yield a great texture as well)
- 150 grams of almond meal*
- 1 tablespoon of Ghee or Oil, as per your choice
- 2-3 tablespoons of chopped nuts (pistachios, almonds, cashews)
Optionally: 1 tsp of rose water
*You can make almond meal at home by soaking 1½ cups of almonds in hot water for 2 minutes, draining them and putting them in cold water for a further 2 minutes. Drain them and leave to dry completely. Peel the skin off of the almonds, and pulse in a blender for a short while. Do not run the blender for too long, the almonds shouldn’t release their natural oils.
- Chop your dates and blend them in a mixer until you get a paste. Do this in batches to not crowd your mixer. If the dates are hard, soak them in some hot milk or water until softened.
- Heat a pan on a low flame with the ghee, adding the date mixture and your almond meal. Add the almond meal in batches as it would be too difficult to incorporate all at once. Add in your optional rose water as well, for flavour.
- Mix well until completely combined, keeping it on a low heat. It should turn into a mass and leave the sides of the pan, if needed add a little more ghee or oil to keep the mixture smooth.
- Place into a pan or tray lined with parchment paper or foil, for easy removal once cool. Level it well with greased hands or a spatula.
- Press in your chopped nuts on top of your leveled burfi.
- Allow it to cool down completely and cut into squares in the size of your choice.
- Tuck in and enjoy!
Gajar Ka Halwa (Carrot Halwa/Pudding)
A deliciously simple dessert, full of flavour. Carrot halwa is a great comfort food – warm, sweet, and a true Indian classic. It’s a pudding made by cooking carrots in whole milk, and is bound to be a hit at Iftar.
- 650 grams of fresh carrots* – yielding approximately 4 to 4½ cups when grated.
- 4 cups of full fat milk
- 4 tablespoons of ghee or butter
- ¾ cup of sugar
- 5-6 ground cardamom seeds – about one teaspoon of cardamom powder
- 10-12 whole cashews – chopped
- 10-12 whole almonds – chopped
*Use young carrots as they’re softer and more juicy. Older carrots tend to be more fibrous and affect the texture of the pudding.
- Rinse and peel your carrots. Grate the carrots using a hand grater or food processor.
- In a relatively thick-bottomed pan add your carrots and saute them in the ghee for a few minutes on a low to medium flame.
- Add in the milk and let it come to a boil, reducing to a simmer. The milk will start to froth and then work to slowly reduce.
- Keep stirring this mixture often, you do not want to let the milk stick to the bottom of the pan. Keep scraping the milk solids off of the sides of the pan as it reduces as well.
- Keep cooking until you see the milk reduce to 75% of the amount you started with. Add in your sugar and stir well.
- Add in your cardamom powder and continue cooking on a simmering on a low flame. Stir this mixture often.
- Keep stirring and whilst the milk reduces and the mixture thickens. When it’s reached a pudding consistency add your chopped nuts and stir well. Continue to simmer and stir still.
- The mixture should continue to dry up with the ghee rising to the top as well.
- Serve warm or hot, and enjoy!
This dessert should keep well in the fridge for up to one week, but certainly won’t last so long once your family members have had a taste!
A milk-based pudding enjoyed across Asia and the Middle East, Kheer is a hit at any meal! Rice kheer is simple to make, and you can easily control the amount of sugar without compromising on flavour. It’s a hearty dessert that can be enjoyed hot or cold.
- ¼ cup basmati rice (you can opt for any other fragrant rice of your choice if you don’t want basmati)
- 4 cups whole milk
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom powder
- A pinch of saffron strands, 3-5 strands
- 10-15 chopped mixed nuts (almonds, cashews, pistachios)
- 2 tablespoons golden raisins
Optional: 1 teaspoon of rose water, for flavour
- Rinse the basmati rice a few times until the water runs clear. Leave the rice to soak for 15-20 minutes in water.
- In a thick-bottomed pan, set your milk to boil on a medium-low flame. Stir at intervals to prevent the milk from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- In a small bowl, take a tablespoon of hot milk from the pan and drop in the strands of saffron. Set this aside for later.
- Once your milk is boiling, drain the water from your rice and add it to the milk. Mix well. You do not need to cover the pan to let the rice cook.
- Once your rice is halfway cooked, add in your sugar and mix well.
- Continue to cook your rice on a low or medium-low flame, stir at intervals and simmer it until the rice is almost cooked.
- Add the cardamom and chopped nuts, give it all a good mix. Add your saffron milk afterwards and stir again.
- Continue cooking on a low flame, allowing the rice grains to cook completely and the milk to thicken.
- Take it off the heat once the rice is completely cooked. Upon cooling, rice kheer tends to thicken further. Make sure to scrape the milk solids from the sides of the pan and incorporate it into the kheer.
- Lastly, add the golden raisins and the optional rose water, stir in.
- Enjoy it warm or chilled! Place any leftovers in the fridge.
A delightfully bright, citrusy dessert that’s perfect for every mood. It’s homemade lemon curd on a shortbread crust, tangy and sweet all at once. A great springtime dessert, you can make them with any citrus fruits of your choice – you can never go wrong with the classic lemon though.
For the shortcrust pastry:
- 230g of unsalted butter, melted
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
For the lemon filling:
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 6 large eggs
- 1 cup (240ml) lemon juice (approximately 4 lemons juiced)
- 2-3 tablespoons lemon zest (zested from approximately 2-3 lemons)
- Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
- Preheat your oven to 163ºC, and line a 9x13in baking sheet with parchment paper. Leave some overhang on the sides to make it easy to lift the finished bars afterwards.
- In a bowl mix your butter, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. Add the flour and stir to completely combine. This should form a thick dough, press this on the bottom of your pan and make sure it is an even layer.
- Bake this shortbread crust for 18-20 minutes or until the edges are very lightly browned. Remove from the oven and set aside then.
- Sift your flour and sugar together into a mixing bowl, add the eggs and lemon juice and whisk until completely combined.
- Pour the filling over the crust. Bake for 22-26 minutes or until the center is relatively set and doesn’t jiggle anymore (give the pan a gentle tap with an oven mitt to check).
- Remove the bars and let it cool completely at room temperature. Cutting it while it’s still warm runs the risk of it crumbling and falling apart.
- Once cool, lift the parchment paper using the overhang on the sides and set on a flat surface. Dust liberally with confectioners’ sugar and cut into squares or any desired shape.
- Eat and enjoy! Store leftovers in the fridge for up to one week.
Extra Fudgy Brownies
It’s right in the title, these brownies are extra fudgy – gooey and soft, they’re any chocolate lover’s dream come true. This is a quick one-bowl recipe where you’ll have decadent brownies with that perfect crackly top. These go great with a scoop of ice cream on top, or a little dollop of whip cream for that extra treat.
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted and hot
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 1⅛ cup fine sugar (caster sugar)
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ cup all purpose (or plain) flour
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Optional mix-ins: chopped nuts, chocolate chips, dried fruit (cranberries, raisins), chocolate chunks, etc.
- Preheat your oven to 175°C
- Lightly grease a 9-inch square baking pan with butter or oil. Line with parchment paper and set aside.
- Combine the hot melted butter, oil and sugar together in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Whisk together until combined. Add the eggs and vanilla; beat until you achieve a lighter colour.
- Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until it is just combined. Do not over beat your batter, as doing so will affect the texture of your brownies. The longer you beat the batter, the more cakey than fudgy the texture of the brownies will be.
- If you want to add mix-ins, fold them gently into the batter before pouring into the greased pan. Make sure to smooth the top out evenly.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the centre of the brownies no longer jiggles and is just set to the touch. If you’re testing with a toothpick, the toothpick should come out dirty for fudge-textured brownies, but not too wet.
- Remove from the oven and set aside to cool at room temperature before slicing.
- Top with ice cream, and dig in! Microwave the brownie for around 15 seconds to get it even more gooey before tucking in.
Share these desserts with family and loved ones this Ramadan, you’ll certainly wow everyone with these treats. Baking and making sweets is also a great way to get the family together for a fun activity. These recipes can be adjusted for sweetness as well, so everyone can tuck in without feeling too guilty!