This dessert has to be one of my favourites of Greek cuisine. It’s one of my faves because it’s not “over the top” sweet, as many Greek desserts can be.
Semolina Halva is also made in countries that surround the Mediterranean basin, the Balkans and as far east as India.
There are many Greek recipes for this dish. The nuts used in it can vary and many recipes will use oil (olive, sunflower or both).
This recipe is cherished by my family and my mom’s saved it from a cousin of hers in Greece. Having tried many versions of Halva Semolina, I’ve come to the conclusion this version is the richest in flavour and, obviously cost.
This recipe utilizes pine nuts and butter. Taking a spoonful of this Halva leaves you with a velvet flavour from the butter and the slight grit of the semolina…a wonderful textural contrast.
Semolina Halva (Î§Î±Î»Î²Î±Ï‚ ÏƒÎ¹Î¼Î¹Î³Î´Î±Î»Î¹)
2 cups fine (to medium) Semolina flour
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups sugar + 1 cup sugar reserved 1/2 cup whole pine nuts
4 cups water
10 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
2 strips of orange peel
cinnamon for garnish
- In a large pot over medium heat, add the butter and when it has melted, add the semolina while stirring constantly. When the semolina turns to a reddish colour, add the pine nuts and stir them for a minutes to toast. Remove from the heat and reserve.
- In another pot, add the water, 2 cups of sugar, orange peels, cloves and cinnamon stick and bring to a boil. Count 5 minutes from the point of boiling and then take off the heat.
- Remove your aromatics/spices from the liquid, pour it into the reserved pot with semolina and add the reserved 1 cup of sugar.
- Place back on the stove over medium and heat and keep stirring with a wooden spoon until the the mixture no longer adheres to the walls of the pot.
- For a family-style presentation, spray a Bundt mold and pour the mixture and allow to cool. For individual servings, dip a cookie mold (or similar) into water, spoon in the Halva; smooth over with a spatula and invert onto a tray.
- Allow the Halva to cool before refrigeration. Carefully cover with plastic wrap. Halva is good for one week.
- Serve the Halva cool or room temperature with a topping of cinnamon and a glass of cold water.
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