This month, Food of the World is in Middle Eastern country of Israel. I made a very quick and easy halvah with tahini. I had some leftover store bought tahini from this hummus preparation and it's sell by date was fast approaching. I used all of it to make this halvah.
Tahini is a condiment prepared with sesame seeds. It is used in middle eastern and North African cuisines. It is served as dip or as a main component in hummus, baba ghanoush and halva preparations.
Halvah is a fudge like dense sweet prepared with tahini and sugar syrup. It is a popular sweet or dessert sold in Middle Eastern markets. I followed NYT recipe which is adapted from the cookbook “Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking,” by the chef Michael Solomonov. Halvah can be served as it is or can be dipped in chocolate and garnished with sesame seeds.
I made this over the weekend and we were had mixed feeling of it's taste. It had a slightly bitter taste but that did not stop us from eating. I guess it is an adapted taste and everyone might not like it. Each time we passed by the dining table, we gobbled a piece or two. I gave a piece to my nephew who visited us this past Sunday and he did not like it at all. I guess it is not a kid friendly recipe. 🙁
Total Time: 15 - 20 minutes + cooling time
Cooking Time: 15 - 20 minutes
- 2 cups Granulated Sugar
- Zest of 1 Lemon (I used lime)
- ¼ tsp. Vanilla Extract (or ½ vanilla bean, scraped)
- ½ cup Water
- 1 ½ cups Tahini
- Pinch of Kosher Salt (i used Morton iodized salt)
Note: I had about 1 ¼ cup tahini and adjust rest of the ingredients accordingly. I used 1 ⅔ cup sugar (little less than 1 ¾ cups) and ⅓ cup water.
- Line a 8x8” baking pan with a parchment paper or wax paper.
- Take sugar, vanilla, lemon zest, water in a saucepan and heat on medium flame to melt sugar. Stir the sugar mixture until it dissolves.
- Reduce flame to low, simmer until syrup is formed and temperature reads 245 F on candy thermometer.
- While syrup is cooking, take tahini and salt in a bowl and mix on medium speed until salt and tahini is mixed. I used a handheld mixer. If using a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment.
- When syrup is done, gradually add syrup when it is still hot, while the mixer is running. Mix until syrup is incorporated and texture of the mixture is fudge like and not sandy. This will take about ½ - 1 minute.
- Quickly transfer the mixture to prepared baking pan and even it with a spatula. Place another parchment paper or wax paper on top. Using hands press and smooth out the halvah.
- Let it cool to room temperature and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container or well wrapped in plastic. It stays good for a week but we finished it in couple of days.
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