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Sun, Nov 01, 2020
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Halvas (Χαλβάς)

Cretan cuisine (Κρητική κουζίνα) - Halvas (Χαλβάς)

Halva is a semolina pudding that is sweetened with syrup and raisins/sultanas. It is a dessert that has Arabic origins but has been adopted into the Greek culture and is widely served during fasting periods because there are no eggs or dairy products in the recipe. It has many variations and you can add anything you want to it, this is the way Ελένη told me how to make it.



for the cake:

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups coarse semolina
  • 1/2 cup sultanas or raisins or nuts

for the syrup:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3.5 cups water
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 medium orange, juiced and grated rind


  1. Place the syrup ingredients in a small pot and let them boil for about 10 minutes, and set aside but keep warm.
  2. In a large pot add the oil and when it is hot pour in the semolina. 
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and using a wooden spoon stir constantly. 
  4. The semolina will gradually start turning a lovely golden colour, and if you leave it will burn, so be careful.
  5. The colour really is matter of taste: the darker the halva the heavier the taste.Medium golden colour is ideal. 
  6. Towards the end of the cooking time add the fruit or nuts (or both if you want) and let them toast a little bit.
  7. Now comes the “tricky” part: you will need to pour the syrup into the very hot semolina. 
  8. However it will bubble and spatter everywhere so you need to be a little bit away from the pot when you do that. otherwise you may get nasty burns.
  9. When you have poured all of the syrup into the semolina return the pot to the fire and stir until the halva starts to thicken. 
  10. The final consistency should be that of a runny dough.
  11. Pour the halva into your pan of choice and let it cool a little bit before serving. 
  12. You can dust it with some extra cinnamon if you want and decorate with almond slivers.
  13. Once it is set, you can cut into small squares to serve with coffee, raki, or wine.

Enjoy your meal (Καλή όρεξη)

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