Greek halva recipe
Greek Halva recipe
|250 ml||light vegetable oil or olive oil, as that is what the Greeks would use|
|650 g||sugar, adjust between 600-700g for required level of sweetness|
|peeled zest of an orange or lemon|
|dried fruit, nuts and candied peel to decorate OPTIONAL|
In a large saucepan, preferably one with a heavy base, place the sugar, zest, cinnamon, cloves and water and allow it to boil for about 10-12 minutes or until slightly thick and syrupy. Allow it to cool and pass through a sieve into another large bowl or pan. Set aside until required and discard the sieve contents.
In a dry pan, mix the oil and semolina and heat on a medium heat until the semolina turns light golden brown. Do not turn your back on it as it can easily burn. Remove the pan from the heat and slowly and carefully add the syrup. It will boil and possibly splatter so use due care. It may be better not to have young children in the vicinity.
As you add and mix in the syrup, the mixture will cool. At some point, it will absorb most or all of the syrup and form a mass that easily leaves the sides of the pan. If you wish to add the fruit, do so now. Leave some to decorate the top.
Pour or spoon the mixture into a mould and allow it to cool completely and set. Invert onto a serving dish and decorate with extra fruit etc.
About this recipe:
This version came via the British wife of a Greek-Cypriot friend of a few years ago and ultimately from his Greek sister-in-law. It came about because a mutual friend had bought a snack bar which had a nutty halva centre and I happened to comment that I often found it too sweet.
There are several varieties of Halva, some based on flour or semolina – as here, and others either on sesame seeds or nuts such as pistachio and almonds. Supposedly originating in India in ancient times, it moved through Persia throughout most of the middle-East and as far west as the Balkans. Although each country has its own preferences and its own variant of the name for the dish, the methods of making it vary but they all have one thing in common – they are all very sweet and are often flavoured with something other than the main ingredients.
The Greeks serve this primarily as a dessert on festive occasions although it may also be used when entertaining guests. Cooked in a pan, it is usually poured into a heavily decorative jelly or ice cream mould to set, and then decorated with nuts, raisins and chopped candied citron peel. Sometimes, a syrup containing orange flower water, rose water or another aromatic may be poured over the dish before serving.
ca. 30 min
ca. 2 hrs
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