The traditional semolina based Greek Halvas usually contains a lot of sugar. Try a new recipe with less sugar and more monastic honey!
• 1 c sugar
• 1 c monastic honey
• 3 c water
• 2 cinnamon sticks
• 1/2 c canola oil
• 1 c semolina
• 1/4 c slivered almonds
• 1/8 c walnuts or additional slivered almonds
• 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1. Get a simple syrup started: combine sugar, water and cinnamon sticks in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Lower heat to low-medium and allow to cook until you complete step 2. Make sure that your syrup remains thin! If it’s starting to thicken and you’re not yet done with step 2, remove it from the heat and set aside. It’s better for this to be too thin than too thick.
2. Add oil and semolina to another medium to large sauce pan over high-low heat. Brown the semolina, stirring constantly. This step is very similar to making a rue for gumbo. Be fearless. You don’t want the semolina to burn, but you want it to darken quite a bit. Halfway through this step, about 7-8 minutes through, add the almonds. This step should take a total of about 15 minutes.
3. When you’ve achieved the right color, pour the syrup into the semolina and almond mixture. It will bubble and pop at first. Keep stirring until all of the syrup is combined with the semolina. Turn the heat to low-medium and cook down for about 20-25 minutes, stirring frequently, especially towards the end of cooking. Keep in mind that it’s during this step that you achieve 95% of the dessert’s firmness. You should have something that forms firm peaks and is sliceable at the end of the cooking time.
4. Scoop halva into a 6 cup mini-bundt or any small mold. Immediately cover with a kitchen towel or lid. Set aside until just warm or completely cooled and firm to the touch.
5. In the meantime, pulse walnuts or additional almonds and cinnamon in a food processor until you get a fine chop (see picture above). When ready to serve, remove halva from mold and sprinkle with nut and cinnamon topping.
– Toast the semolina in the oil until it becomes golden brown.
– Allow the semolina to darken and get fragrant, but be careful not to over toast it or else it will burn and the halva will become bitter.
– Once you toast the semolina, remove the pot from the stove and add your hot syrup. (Be really careful, as the halva mixture is very hot!)
– When preparing the syrup for this halva recipe, you should never blend or stir the syrup to prevent it from getting grainy. Just bring to the boil, let the sugar dissolve in the hot water and boil for a few minutes, until it slightly thickens.
– You need to cook the halva, until almost solid, as it won’t solidify much more after cooling. Don’t forget to stir the mixture during the whole process.
– Allow the halva to cool for about 1 1/2 hour before serving, in order to become easily sliceable.