Posts Tagged ‘pine nuts’


Semolina Halva with Pine Nuts

November 27, 2009

As part of a European food tour hosted by Kuchnia Ireny i Andrzeja called “Traveling Europe by Fork,”I prepared semolina halva with pine nuts. Every week, Irena and Andrzej choose a country in Europe (and the vicinity) and cook dishes that are traditional to that region. This week the chosen country is Armenia. After looking through dozens of dessert recipes, I decided on semolina halva, which is a dessert that is very popular in the Caucasus.

I always associated halva with the very sweet nut-butter block, and was very surprised to learn that the term “halva” covers a variety of desserts. The main ingredients include semolina and sweetened condensed milk. It’s very easy to cook, but it does require you to stand by the stove for about an hour. The smell of the toasted semolina with the sweetened milk while it was cooking was just lovely. It wasn’t spicy, but it was a sweet and comforting smell.  I would make this recipe again just for the aroma. My family enjoyed the halva, but nobody was crazy about it. Next time I will cut the recipe in half.

Toasted pine nuts.

Butter melting with oil.

Semolina being toasted in butter and oil.

Semolina soon after adding milk mixture.

Semolina Halva with Pine Nuts
(adapted from Cafe Fernando)
makes 6-8 servings

80 gr of unsalted butter
2 tbs of vegetable oil
250 gr of semolina (1 1/3 cup)
50 gr of toasted pine nuts (1/4 cup)
1 can of condensed milk (I used one that had 300ml)
1/3 cup of milk
ice cream and nuts for decoration (optional)

1. Melt butter with oil at medium heat in a wide saucepan.
2. Add semolina, stir and spread across the bottom of the saucepan. Stir every few minutes.
3. In the meantime, boil 1 1/4 cups of water in a separate pan and then add condensed milk and milk. Keep the mixture warm.
4. When the semolina has browned (about 20 minutes) pour in the milk mixture. When I did this, the contents of the saucepan began to spatter intensively, which really scared me, but it settled down after about 10 seconds. The semolina thickened almost immediately.
5. Cook on a medium-low for about 15 minutes, stirring every five minutes.
6. Take the skillet off the heat, place a couple of paper towels over the skillet and secure by placing the lid. Let steep for 15-20 minutes until extra moisture is absorbed. (I didn’t have to go through this step since the halva was already dry enough).
7. Add toasted pine nuts. Portion about 1/2 cup of the halva in ramekins or serving bowls. Add ice cream, sprinkle nuts and enjoy!