Serves: Makes ~40 servings
Preparation time: ~15 minutes cooking time and ~12-24 hours setting time
Calories: ~100 calories per serving
Greetings all, I had originally intended posting something else today but when I looked over the photos I realised that it was ridiculously simple, and after posting two ridiculously easy recipes over the past few days I decided that maybe it might be fun to intersperse them with something which requires more than just one, lone step! So what am I posting today? Halawa, or Halva as it’s also known (among about 10 alternative different names and spellings) is an absolutely delicious confection served across the Middle East, the Balkans and eastern Europe. The primary ingredient is nut butter – most often Tahini paste – which is mixed with sugar. As it cools it will form a block of a crumbly, delicious, hardened paste-like mixture. You can either eat it on its own, or with something else, and a truly wonderful way to eat it is spread, with a little butter, on to fresh baguette.
What I didn’t realise, until researching Halawa was that there is actually another kind – a flour-based Halawa, usually made from semolina, which is common in south, central and western Asia. I absolutely love the nut-butter based one, so it’s only fair that I give the other one a shot – but not today! Today I’m sticking with what I know. As always, I love it if someone feels inspired enough to try something after seeing my posts, but in the case of Halawa, if you do feel like giving this a shot I feel I should share some notes beforehand. Firstly – you’re going to need a sugar thermometer before you get going on this. You have to cook the sugar and water solution to 125 degrees Celsius, and this part is fairely important. If you don’t get it hot enough the Halawa will not set properly. Too hot and the result will not be nicely crumbly and spreadable like it should be.
Another fair warning – you might not like this. If you’re fine with the taste of tahini paste then that’s awesome – imagine sweet, solid tahini paste, with delicious, crunchy pistachio nuts inside. Some people find this very dry and unpleasant to eat – I guess it’s a bit like Marmite – you either love it, or hate it :).
Anyway – today I’ve got a day off and I’m off to my favourite store in the whole wide world to buy such fun things as a new couch, new dining table and so forth – No doubt I’ll come back armed with myriad cookies as well from the food-store! Have a wonderful day everyone – I know I will. I’ll be back on Monday with either something to start off my English dish run or the “simple” dish I made last weekend.
Almond Butter Halawa
- 300g Caster Sugar
- 240g Tahini Paste
- 150g Roasted, shelled, unsalted Pistachio Nuts
- 100g Almond Butter
- 100ml Water
You’ll also need
- A Sugar Thermometer
- Start by transferring the tahini paste and almond butter into a large bowl and whisking until well blended and smooth. Next, take an appropriately sized container – I used a small loaf tin, and oil the inside before lining with baking paper or aluminium foil.
- Next, place the sugar and water into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Using the sugar thermometer, bring the temperature of the solution to 125 degrees Celsius.
- When the mixture reaches the required temperature, immediately add in the Pistacho nuts and mix into the solution before removing from the heat.
- Pour the sugar solution gradually into the tahini paste and almond butter mix while whisking well to blend together.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared container and allow to cool before covering and placing in the refrigerator for ~12-24 hours, to completely set.
- When set, you can cut into slices and eat on its own, or serve spread on bread. Enjoy!