Halvas – Χαλβάς (plural Halvades) is one of our favourite Lenten desserts, which is cooked on the stove top and then drenched in syrup.
The semolina is toasted in oil or other fat until fragrant and then a simple sugar syrup is added and mixed to thicken. It is then molded and cut into pieces.
Due to Lent we make it “nistisimo” which means that it does not contain any dairy, so oil is used instead of butter. The oil can be either vegetable or olive oil.
The basic ingredients for Halvas are four: oil, semolina, sugar and water. The ratio is 1 (for fat) 2 (for semolina) and 3 & 4 (for sugar and water) to make the syrup.
We usually flavour the syrup with cinnamon stick, cloves and lemon peel but you can add any flavouring you like.
I shall try in the next few days to write some of my Lenten recipes, which were prepared on Kathara Deftera but have not managed to post them yet.
I shall start with one of my favourite Lenten desserts, Halvas Katsarolas, which means Pot halva to distinguish from the one we bake in the oven.
I have added my touch to this recipe by adding fruit in it but it you don’t want to add the fruit just go along with the recipe by omitting the fruit as the dosage does not change.
Since Kathara Deftera I made a second one as well and again I made a different kind of halva by reducing the amount of sugar and water and adding ready-made syrup from what has remained of my bergamot spoon sweet and that gave it an extra flavour.
Halvas Katsarollas (Pot halvas)
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 – 20 minutes
Setting time: about 1 hour
- 1 cup mild olive oil
- 2 cups semolina
- 3 cups sugar*
- 4 cups syrup*
*For the syrup:
- 3 cups sugar
- 4 cups water
- 3 -4 whole cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 lemon peel
- cinnamon to sprinkle on top
Pot Halvas with fruit and almonds
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups fine Semolina flour
- 1 cup blanched almonds, chopped
- 1 apple
- 1 pear
- 1 tbsp cane sugar
- A dash of cinnamon
For the syrup
- same as above
- In a sauce pan prepare syrup by adding the water, sugar, lemon peels, a few cloves and a cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil for a five minutes and then set aside.
- Discard the cinnamon stick, the cloves and lemon peel.
- Peel and cut the fruit into small pieces. Sprinkle some sugar and cinnamon and cook in the microwave for 3 minutes. (If you don’t have a microwave oven saute the fruit when toasting the almonds, without the sugar and cinnamon).
- In another large sauce pan, heat the oil and add the almonds and mix until they roast (light brown colour).
- Add the semolina and stir constantly to toast as well but not to brown.
- Add the fruit and stir.
- Remove from the heat and add the syrup. Be careful to stir constantly as this may overflow. Once the mixture has settled put it back on low heat and mix until it sets.
- Empty it in a mold and let it cool down before refrigerating.
- Unmold in a platter and sprinkle some cinnamon on top.
Update with more Creative Halvades:
This time I made the basic recipe which was divided in two parts. In the first one I made a strawberry coulis which part of it was mixed inside and the other served on top of the dessert.
The other was made with lots of leftover ingredients I had in my cupboard such as craisins, sprinkles etc.
I didn’t want to use the same mold I’ve been using for ages, so I gave it a different design by adding a smaller mold inside.
Halvas with Strawberry Coulis
- Basic Recipe as above
For the Strawberry Coulis
Cooking time: 10 – 15 minutes
- 500 grams fresh strawberries, cut into small pieces
- ½ cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 shot brandy or other liqueur
- 1/2 cup coarsly cut and roasted almonds
- Prepare halvas as above.
- Divide the mixture in two molds and add the respective ingredients.
- Place the first one in a mold and let it cool down before placing in the refrigerator.
- Unmold in a platter and decorate on top with the strawberry coulis.
To make strawberry coulis:
- Wash and cut fruit into small pieces. Put the strawberries in a frying pan, as well as sugar, water and brandy. When it starts to boil, lower heat and mix continuously for about ten minutes, or until sauce is thick. Set aside to cool.
- Mix some of the strawberries (without the syrup) in the halvas and mix.
- Put the remaining stawberries with syrup in a food processor and mix to make the sauce.
- Leave it to cool down and then serve halvas with roasted almonds and strawberry coulis.
- Store remaining sauce in the refrigerator.
Chocolate Halvas with Craisins and Sprinkles
Prepare halvas as above. Leave it in the pot until it becomes lukewarm and mix in 75 grams chocolate. If added while hot, the chocolate will melt. However, do add half of it while it is still warm as the melted chocolate inside is wonderful and some while it cools. I also mixed in 1/2 cup craisins (you may also add raisins) and 1/2 cup desiccated coconut.
I molded it in a heart shaped pan.
To make the Chocolate topping:
- 75 grams couverture chocolate
- 1 tablespoon vegan margarine
- 1/2 cup vegan syrup (I used citrus syrup from my spoon sweet)
- Roasted Almonds and sprinkles.
- In a double boiler melt the chocolate and mix in the margarine and syrup.
- Unmold halvas and pour the chocolate on top.
- Decorate with roasted almonds and sprinkles.
Halvas Nistisimos with Fruit and Almonds
Other relevant recipes:
Kopiaste and Kali Orexi!