Halva

Traditional Greek pudding, which can be kept for many days in the refrigerator or a few days on the kitchen counter. There are many recipes for halva, but here you get one with the few, basic ingredients, just the way I got it from a friend the first time I made halva.

  • 3 parts sugar
  • 4 parts water
  • cinnamon and / or cloves to taste
  • 1 part mild olive oil or sunflower oil
  • 2 parts semolina
  • nuts or almonds to taste, or raisins

Make a syrup of water and sugar and bring to boil with the spices, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Keep it at boiling point.

In a large saucepan, heat the oil and add the semolina. Cook gently until it is golden but not brown. Add whole or chopped almonds, walnuts, pistachios or whatever you like. (You can also use raisins.) Remove the saucepan from the heat.

Gradually add the syrup to the semolina, little by little. This splashes and splurts, so be careful. Simmer over low heat until you have a thick porridge, about 5 minutes.

Pour this in a bowl or other mould, and press it well into the mould. Put the bowl on a serving plate and turn.

Cool, and eat lukewarm or cold.

I think halva and vanilla ice cream is a nice combination, but I’ve never seen it served like that in Greece!

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