Welcome to my recipe for Greek Halva with Almonds! As an Israeli chef, I have always been fascinated by the diverse and rich culinary traditions of the Mediterranean. Greek Halva has always been one of my favorite desserts because it is sweet, yet not overly so, and packs a punch of creamy texture with every bite.
Halva has been a staple dessert in Mediterranean cuisine for centuries, as it is easy to make and uses simple ingredients that are readily available in any pantry. Traditionally, halva was made with sesame seeds, flour, butter or oil, and sugar syrup. Throughout generations, halva became more versatile and developed various flavors using a variety of ingredients such as semolina pudding, raisins, tahini, honey, cinnamon sticks, cloves, orange peels and more.
The Greek version of halva is made from semolina – coarse wheat flour – mixed with olive oil and then drenched in sugar syrup infused with cinnamon sticks and cloves. This delicious dessert has many different names across the Mediterranean region such as helwa in Arabic (halawa/halwa), ibrik/loukoumi in Turkish or xalvá in Greek (halvas), but one thing remains the same: each recipe wonderfully captures the cultural expression of each region.
My recipe for Greek Halva with Almonds is a twist on the traditional recipe that utilizes the nutritional value of almonds which adds an extra crunch to the texture while also enhancing its nutritional value. Whether you are reminiscing about your travels to Greece or simply looking to add something new to your dessert repertoire, this recipe is guaranteed to leave a lasting impression.
So roll up your sleeves and let’s get cooking!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
If you are looking for a sweet and nutty dessert to satisfy your cravings, then this Greek Halva with Almonds recipe is perfect for you! This traditional recipe is rich in flavor and texture, and it will leave you wanting more.
One of the reasons why you will love this halva recipe is because of its ingredients. The mix of semolina pudding, almond slivers, cinnamon stick, honey, and orange peels creates an irresistible blend that is both exotic and familiar at the same time. These ingredients are widely used in Greek sweets and desserts, making this dessert a delicious representation of Greece’s culinary culture.
Another reason to try this recipe is that it’s versatile. You can easily adapt it to suit your preferences, whether you prefer chocolate halva or gluten-free options. Additionally, you can swap out the almonds for other nuts like pistachios or hazelnuts if you like.
Furthermore, making this dessert is an easy process that involves simple steps such as mixing ingredients together, cooking them over low heat until the mixture thickens into a coarse semolina texture, and serving with toasted almond bits on top. The buttery flavor adds richness to the pudding while the aroma from the orange peels makes it refreshing.
Lastly, this halva recipe is perfect for any occasion. Whether it’s a special dinner party or a family gathering, this dessert will impress your guests with its unique flavors and attractive presentation.
So why not give this Greek Halva with Almonds recipe a try? It’s an excellent way to experience Greek cuisine while enjoying a sweet and nutty dessert that appeals to everyone’s taste buds!
Before we dive into making this delicious Greek Halva with Almonds recipe, let’s check the ingredient list to make sure we have everything we need.
For the halva:
- 2 cups of semolina
- 1 cup of olive oil
- 4 cups of water
- 2 cups of sugar
- 1/2 cup of butter
- 1 cinnamon stick
For the syrup:
- 2 cups of water
- 2 cups of sugar
- Juice of half a lemon
- Almond slivers for garnish
You may already have most of these ingredients on hand, but if not, be sure to grab them before beginning. Let’s get started on making this mouth-watering dessert!
The Recipe How-To
Now that you have all of your ingredients ready, let’s dive into how to make this delicious Greek Halva with Almonds.
Step 1: Toast the Semolina
Start by toasting two cups of semolina in a dry skillet over medium heat for approximately 10 minutes, or until it is lightly browned and has a nutty aroma. Be sure to stir frequently while toasting to prevent burning. Once toasted, remove the semolina from the heat and set it aside.
Step 2: Prepare the Sugar Syrup
In a small saucepan, combine two cups of water, two cups of sugar, and a cinnamon stick. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove the cinnamon stick and set the syrup aside to cool.
Step 3: Cook the Halva
In a separate pot, melt one cup of butter with one cup of olive oil. Once melted, add in the toasted semolina and mix well. Cook the semolina mixture over medium-low heat for approximately 15-20 minutes, or until it starts to pull away from the sides of the pot.
Step 4: Add in Extras
At this point, you can add in any extras that you’d like. For this recipe, we recommend adding in one and a half cups of chopped almonds and cinnamon powder to taste. Mix everything together well.
Step 5: Combine with Syrup
Once mixed well reduce heat to low, pour in your sugar syrup little by little while stirring to incorporate well into your halva mixture. Keep on stirring for another few minutes until all combined.
Step 6: Serve and Enjoy!
You’re done! You can serve Greek Halva hot or cold, either as is or with toppings such as fruit or whipped cream.
Enjoy this traditional recipe with its unique blend of nutty and sweet flavors that make it such an excellent Greek sweet!
Substitutions and Variations
While the traditional Greek halva with almonds recipe is already so delicious and comforting, it doesn’t mean that you can’t switch things up a bit to make it even more interesting. Here are some substitutions and variations that you can try:
– Nuts: You can use other types of nuts aside from almonds. Walnuts, pecans or pistachios are great substitutes. You can also experiment with mixed nuts for added texture.
– Syrup: Instead of using honey cinnamon syrup, you can opt for a fruit-based syrup such as orange, lemon or grapefruit. This will give the halva a fresh and tangy taste.
– Flour: If you’re looking for a gluten-free option, you can swap out the semolina flour with rice flour or almond flour. This will create a grittier texture but still delicious nonetheless.
– Chocolate: If you’re a chocolate lover, then you might want to try making chocolate halva or halawa. Simply add cocoa powder to the mixture before cooking and replace honey syrup with chocolate sauce.
Remember that these substitutions and variations should only enhance the recipe, not completely change its essence. Feel free to play around with different ingredients until you come up with your own perfect recipe.
Serving and Pairing
Serving the Greek halva with almonds is a treat for all your senses. The rich aroma of cinnamon and toasted almonds will leave everyone wanting more, while the deliciously sweet and nutty flavor of the halva will leave your taste buds dancing. Serve it in small slices after dinner or as a midday snack with a cup of hot coffee or tea.
Pairing this halva with some fresh fruit like sliced strawberries, figs, or pomegranate seeds is a great way to balance out its sweetness. A dollop of high-quality Greek yogurt on top can also add some tanginess and creaminess to the dessert. If you’re feeling adventurous, try drizzling a bit of tahini honey over the halva for an extra layer of flavor.
This dessert pairs well with a variety of beverages such as black tea, green tea, or coffee. For a non-alcoholic option, try serving it with some warm chai latte or hot chocolate. If looking for something stronger, opt for a glass of sweet port wine or a shot of ouzo.
Overall, this Greek Halva With Almonds recipe is an excellent choice for dessert lovers who want to indulge in something sweet and traditional with a touch of modern flare. Whether enjoyed alone or paired with other sides or drinks, this halva recipe will leave you feeling satisfied and craving more.
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
Once you’ve made this delicious Greek Halva With Almonds recipe, you’re going to want to keep it as fresh and tasty as possible. Luckily, there are several ways to make sure your halva lasts and stays yummy.
To make ahead, you can prepare the halva and let it cool completely before covering with plastic wrap or an airtight container. You can store it in the refrigerator for up to five days or freeze it for two months. When reheating, use a microwave or stovetop on low heat while stirring frequently until warmed thoroughly.
For long-term storage, you can also keep the dry ingredients separately and make the syrup ahead of time. Then, when ready to serve, prepare the halva fresh and add the mixed syrup on top. This is especially helpful if you have any dietary restrictions since this dish is gluten-free and made with sesame seeds and tahini.
Whether you’re having brunch with friends or satisfying your sweet tooth cravings at home, this Greek Halva With Almonds recipe is perfect for any occasion – from breakfast to dessert. So don’t be afraid to make extra and freeze it for later!
Tips for Perfect Results
When it comes to making Greek halva with almonds, there are a few tips that can guarantee perfect results. For one, make sure to use coarse semolina instead of fine semolina, as the coarse variety will give the dessert a nice texture. Toast the semolina in olive oil until it turns golden-brown before adding any liquid to bring out its nutty flavor.
Additionally, be sure to use quality ingredients such as Greek honey and tahini to enhance the taste of the halva. Adding lemon or orange peels to the sugar syrup can also add a refreshing citrus twist to the dessert.
It’s important to note that halva recipe can be quite forgiving, so feel free to experiment with different variations and substitutions based on personal preferences or dietary restrictions. Gluten-free and vegan versions of halva made with sesame seeds or tahini can also be found for those looking for alternative options.
If you’re feeling extra adventurous, try incorporating chocolate into your halva recipe for a decadent twist. Chocolate halva, also known as “halawa,” is a popular Middle Eastern take on traditional halva that adds cocoa powder into the mix.
Lastly, when serving Greek halva with almonds, consider pairing it with a cup of strong black coffee or tea to balance out its sweetness. This delicious Greek sweet is excellent as an after-dinner dessert or served during special occasions such as weddings, baptisms, and religious holidays.
By following these simple tips, you’ll surely impress your guests and have them craving more of this delicious treat.
Now that you have learned all about the ingredients and how to make Greek Halva with Almonds, let’s address some commonly asked questions about this delicious dessert.
What is the difference between halva and halvah?
Halvah is a sweet treat that comes in different textures and varieties around the world. In Israel, it is commonly made using a combination of tahini and honey, resulting in a flaky and satisfying fudge. Meanwhile, Indian halva is known for its crumbly and grainy texture, which is achieved by using semolina in the recipe.
Does halva have almonds?
Halva is a versatile treat that can be enjoyed alone or as a key ingredient in many cultural sweets. To make this delectable snack, you’ll need some tahini, ground sesame seeds, almonds, glucose syrup, cocoa powder, palm oil, and a hint of artificial flavor (vanillin). Keep in mind that there may be traces of peanuts or other nuts present.
What is Greek halva made of?
To whip up a scrumptious flour or nut-based halva, certain ingredients are certainly essential. Flour, semolina, butter, oil or ghee, water, and sugar join hands to form the base of the flour halva, while sesame or sunflower seeds constitute the heart of the nut-based halva, which is later merged with hot sugar syrup to concoct its form.
In conclusion, the Greek Halva with Almonds recipe is a classic dessert that has been enjoyed for centuries in Greece and the Middle East. With its delicious blend of semolina, sugar, cinnamon, and almonds, it’s no wonder why this dessert has remained popular for so long.
Not only is this recipe easy to follow and highly customizable to suit individual preferences and dietary restrictions, but it also offers versatility in terms of serving and pairing options. Whether you enjoy it with coffee or tea, as a snack or dessert, this dish is sure to satisfy your cravings.
So if you’re looking to try a new dessert that’s both delicious and unique, then give this traditional Greek Halva with Almonds recipe a try. Trust me, your taste buds will thank you.
Greek Halva With Almonds Recipe
- 1 cup butter
- 2 cups cream of wheat (semolina, not instant)
- 2 1/4 cups sugar
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup slivered almonds
- cinnamon stick
- In a pot, mix water, sugar and cinnamon stick and bring to a boil. Remove cinnamon stick.
- Meanwhile, in a large pot over medium heat, melt butter and then add the cream of wheat and the almonds. Keep stirring until the semolina turns a golden brown, being careful it doesn't burn.
- CAREFULLY pour liquid into the semolina. It will bubble voilently. Mix it thoroughly and then pour the mixture into a mold. Let cool and then remove from mold.