Semolina Halva (Χαλβας-σιμιγδαλι)

Feb 24th, 2008 | By | Category: Dessert, Greek, Semolina, Spices, Sugar

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.

This dessert can be served all year ’round but I do really enjoy it cool in the summer, with a cold glass of water on the side.

Semolina Halva (Χαλβας σιμιγδαλι)

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Remove your aromatics/spices from the liquid, pour it into the reserved pot with semolina and add the reserved 1 cup of sugar.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Allow the Halva to cool before refrigeration. Carefully cover with plastic wrap. Halva is good for one week.
  7. Serve the Halva cool or room temperature with a topping of cinnamon and a glass of cold water.

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© 2008 – 2010, Peter Minakis. All rights reserved. If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://kalofagas.ca then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at truenorth67 AT gmail DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author.

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44 Comments to “Semolina Halva (Χαλβας-σιμιγδαλι)”

  1. glamah16 says:

    Now Ive never heard of this. I have heard of halava, but it didnt look like this. I’m sure this heavenly.I too like my sweets accompanied by a nice plain simple glass of water!

  2. Bellini Valli says:

    This is a treasured family recipe Peter :D

  3. Maryann says:

    I’ve never heard of this either, but it looks great. I hope you have a big family. Who eats all this food? :)

  4. Cakelaw says:

    This looks like a great dessert – I have never tried Halva before. Love the cute little individual serves.

  5. Allen says:

    Looks and sounds great, Peter! When I was in college there was this great little shop down the street that made Halva — I loved it. Lucky me, I just bought semolina and pine nuts yesterday!

  6. Pam says:

    I’ve never heard of this either, but it sounds wonderful! I love pine nuts!

  7. Peter G says:

    Hey Pete..you’re not wrong about the variatons in this…my mum makes it with olive oil and almonds..Halva is different but I still enjoy it…great pics and thanks for sharing another version of this recipe.

  8. Kevin says:

    This dessert sounds pretty interesting. Bookmarked to try.

  9. Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm) says:

    Thanks for all the info re halva. Here in SA we have bars of halva(almost like a chocolate bar) and the base is sesame seeds. I would love to get my hands on those cinnamon sticks.

  10. Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm) says:

    Thanks for all the info re halva. Here in SA we have bars of halva(almost like a chocolate bar) and the base is sesame seeds. I would love to get my hands on those cinnamon sticks.

  11. Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm) says:

    Thanks for all the info re halva. Here in SA we have bars of halva(almost like a chocolate bar) and the base is sesame seeds. I would love to get my hands on those cinnamon sticks.

  12. Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm) says:

    Thanks for all the info re halva. Here in SA we have bars of halva(almost like a chocolate bar) and the base is sesame seeds. I would love to get my hands on those cinnamon sticks.

  13. Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm) says:

    Thanks for all the info re halva. Here in SA we have bars of halva(almost like a chocolate bar) and the base is sesame seeds. I would love to get my hands on those cinnamon sticks.

  14. Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm) says:

    Thanks for all the info re halva. Here in SA we have bars of halva(almost like a chocolate bar) and the base is sesame seeds. I would love to get my hands on those cinnamon sticks.

  15. Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm) says:

    Thanks for all the info re halva. Here in SA we have bars of halva(almost like a chocolate bar) and the base is sesame seeds. I would love to get my hands on those cinnamon sticks.

  16. Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm) says:

    Thanks for all the info re halva. Here in SA we have bars of halva(almost like a chocolate bar) and the base is sesame seeds. I would love to get my hands on those cinnamon sticks.

  17. Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm) says:

    Thanks for all the info re halva. Here in SA we have bars of halva(almost like a chocolate bar) and the base is sesame seeds. I would love to get my hands on those cinnamon sticks.

  18. Emiline says:

    Your a cold glass of water.
    Heh, heh.

    I’ve heard of this, but never made it. I’m going to, for sure. I love pine nuts, and I have access to semolina.
    I almost want something creamy to go with it. Creme fraiche, yogurt, cream, ice cream, you know?

  19. Mike of Mike's Table says:

    I’ll have to join the “never heard of this” crowd but I’m really intrigued. I’m glad to have started reading your blog lately–I’d never appreciated how much awesome looking Greek food is out there that I’d never seen or tried before. I will definitely be doing this one as soon as I can my hands on some semolina (you wouldn’t think that would be so difficult…)…

  20. Mike of Mike's Table says:

    I’ll have to join the “never heard of this” crowd but I’m really intrigued. I’m glad to have started reading your blog lately–I’d never appreciated how much awesome looking Greek food is out there that I’d never seen or tried before. I will definitely be doing this one as soon as I can my hands on some semolina (you wouldn’t think that would be so difficult…)…

  21. Mike of Mike's Table says:

    I’ll have to join the “never heard of this” crowd but I’m really intrigued. I’m glad to have started reading your blog lately–I’d never appreciated how much awesome looking Greek food is out there that I’d never seen or tried before. I will definitely be doing this one as soon as I can my hands on some semolina (you wouldn’t think that would be so difficult…)…

  22. Mike of Mike's Table says:

    I’ll have to join the “never heard of this” crowd but I’m really intrigued. I’m glad to have started reading your blog lately–I’d never appreciated how much awesome looking Greek food is out there that I’d never seen or tried before. I will definitely be doing this one as soon as I can my hands on some semolina (you wouldn’t think that would be so difficult…)…

  23. Mike of Mike's Table says:

    I’ll have to join the “never heard of this” crowd but I’m really intrigued. I’m glad to have started reading your blog lately–I’d never appreciated how much awesome looking Greek food is out there that I’d never seen or tried before. I will definitely be doing this one as soon as I can my hands on some semolina (you wouldn’t think that would be so difficult…)…

  24. Mike of Mike's Table says:

    I’ll have to join the “never heard of this” crowd but I’m really intrigued. I’m glad to have started reading your blog lately–I’d never appreciated how much awesome looking Greek food is out there that I’d never seen or tried before. I will definitely be doing this one as soon as I can my hands on some semolina (you wouldn’t think that would be so difficult…)…

  25. Mike of Mike's Table says:

    I’ll have to join the “never heard of this” crowd but I’m really intrigued. I’m glad to have started reading your blog lately–I’d never appreciated how much awesome looking Greek food is out there that I’d never seen or tried before. I will definitely be doing this one as soon as I can my hands on some semolina (you wouldn’t think that would be so difficult…)…

  26. Mike of Mike's Table says:

    I’ll have to join the “never heard of this” crowd but I’m really intrigued. I’m glad to have started reading your blog lately–I’d never appreciated how much awesome looking Greek food is out there that I’d never seen or tried before. I will definitely be doing this one as soon as I can my hands on some semolina (you wouldn’t think that would be so difficult…)…

  27. Mike of Mike's Table says:

    I’ll have to join the “never heard of this” crowd but I’m really intrigued. I’m glad to have started reading your blog lately–I’d never appreciated how much awesome looking Greek food is out there that I’d never seen or tried before. I will definitely be doing this one as soon as I can my hands on some semolina (you wouldn’t think that would be so difficult…)…

  28. StickyGooeyCreamyChewy says:

    Looks delicious! The pictures jump right off the page. My mom makes a similar cake with semolina flour and pine nuts. It is Italian, but I don’t know what it’s called.

    By the way, I’ve tagged you for a meme. Hope you don’t mind.

    http://stickygooeycreamychewy.blogspot.com/2008/02/its-raining-memes.html

  29. Núria says:

    Hola Peter! Never heard of it but the ingredients look very appealing to me.
    You made a good bunch of Semolina!!! What a party :D

  30. Happy cook says:

    I love dessert like this. I do have a bit of semolina left. Should try these

  31. Peter M says:

    To Glamah and the others who have never heard of this dessert: this IS different from the dessert made of sesame seed paste…a whole other treat.

    Val, my mom’s got a whole whack of recipes jotted down, I must organize them.

    Maryann, family & friends and hey…big Greek family…it’s gone!

    Allen, it’s a simple dessert.

    Pete, I love the almond variety too!

    Emiline, a good French vanilla scoop would be wonderful here.

    Mike, I’m glad you’re visiting more often. One of my goals is to show that Greek food IS beyond souvlaki.

    Sticky, it is very delicious for how good it tastes. MEME noted!

  32. Lisa says:

    What a fantastic recipe. I’ve never made my own halva, but I have been meaning to try my hand at it. You inspire me to try it sooner than later.

  33. David Hall says:

    Hi Peter

    Enjoying your Blog, got here from Aimée’s. For a northern British lad, I’m always singing the beauty of Greek food. And I’ve never had this dessert. Baklava is probably my fave dessert outside of treacle pudding, but this one is a must try. Will be stopping by again soon, great stuff.

    Cheers
    David

    PS Good to see you have a decent taste in music too!

  34. winedeb says:

    What a treat these woudl be! Pine nuts are a very favorite of mine! And I am all for the “not so sweet” as I like a savory dessert. They look like they are very moist and would not need a sauce of any type.
    Just catching up with you and those mussels look awesome! And lemon poppyseed muffins are on the top of my list! As usual, your site stirs up my taste buds!

  35. Ivy says:

    Like Peter G I also make it with olive oil and almonds and sometimes with fruit. I have been saving mine to post in a couple of weeks as I usually make it during lent. Nice pictures.

  36. Proud Italian Cook says:

    Wow!!! Pine nuts semolina flour? The texture and taste must be phenominal!!

  37. Rosie says:

    This dessert of yours looks stunning Peter! I have never heard of this before and you are very inspiring for tempting me to try new tastes and dishes – thanks

  38. MARIA V says:

    we made this dessert regularly in new zealand during fasting period, using basically the same recipe as you’ve printed here – to make this lenten fare, use a cup of oil rather than butter, as we did. I used to call it the 1234 cake: 1 cup of oil, 2 cups of semolina, 3 cups of sugar and 4 cups of water – i’ve always had a thing for numbers…

  39. noble pig says:

    Wow, my husband would love me forever if I made this for him. He adores halva.

  40. Heather says:

    I had also only ever had the sesame halva, but this looks very interesting. I do enjoy working with semolina.

  41. Andrew Abraham says:

    I love Greek Food and I love Halva..great dessert…thanks

    Andy
    http://www.recipebuddys.com

  42. [...] Semolina Halva (replace butter with vegetable or olive oil) [...]

  43. [...] Semolina Halva (replace butter with vegetable or olive oil) [...]

  44. [...] Farsalon (not to be mixe-up with the other better know halvas). Many of you are familar with the semolina halva and there’s also the “Makedonikos Halvas”, a name given to the halva made [...]

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