This post is also available in Italiano
Over the years, many readers of this website have asked me for a good recipe for everybody’s fave million-calories Middle-Eastern treat, halva. It has taken me quite a long while to figure out a fool-proof version of halva… but here it is, finally!
In case you’ve just landed from the moon and don’t know what halva is, take note that it’s some sort of a fudgy candy made with sesame and honey, which will change your life for the better when you taste it!
Making halva at home is not easy at all, which is why I was very slow to publish a recipe: like all the preparations in which you have to work with sugar and heat it to perfection, mistakes are lurking practically around every corner. After many attempts, however, I believe I have found a procedure that works, so please give it a try and let me know how it goes!
The recipe comes, with minor variations, from the book “Zahav” by Michael Solomonov, a book I wholeheartedly recommend: to give you a feeling of how much I love the book, I can tell you this is one of the 5 books (only 5!) I brought with me for my move to Israel.
- 550 g white sugar
- seeds of 1 vanilla pod
- 300 ml tahina well stirred
- 115 g water
- 1 pinch of salt
- Line an 8- x 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
- Combine sugar and vanilla with 1/2 cup water in a non-stick pot over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Allow mixture to simmer into a syrup, without stirring, until temperature registers 245 degrees on candy thermometer.
- While syrup is cooking, place tahini and salt in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle. Beat on medium speed and carefully stream syrup into tahini. Mix until syrup is incorporated and mixture begins to pull away from sides of bowl, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Be careful not to overmix.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and flatten it with a spatula; next, place another piece of parchment paper on top and smooth out the halvah with your hands.
- Let he halva cool and come to room temperature, then cut into squares.
- Store wrapped in plastc, inside a tin box, for a week or so.