Halva is a well known dessert in the Balkans and in the Mid East…..but they are different. Every culture has their own traditional ways of making it. In the Mid East halva is made with tahini and is commonly found in Middle Eastern stores ready in a plastic container….very sweet and hard sometimes with added pistachios, although I did find one that is soft and more like cotton candy and that is really yummy as well.
Albanian and Turkish halva is made from either farina or semolina or flour and has a soft texture, it is also light to dark brown and for the most part tastes the same…..depending on how much sugar or the use of butter verses margarine or oil texture of the semolina, the browning of it ….all these things makes a difference. You can add raisins and walnuts to it if you like, my mom always does.
In Pakistan they make halva from semolina as well, but with added flavours, added ingredients for taste, texture and colour. It is more firm like chewy almost.
I am so happy to be able to share this family recipe with you! This is usually made without pumpkin, I added the pumpkin to the recipe as I love it! You can make it with or with out pumpkin.
For those that are not familiar with the making of halva, I do suggest getting someone to help you, as it is recipe where a second set of hands does come handy!
What you will need:
- 2 cups Cream of Wheat (semolina or farina)
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup semolina
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp pumpkin spice
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup oil
- 3/4 cup raisins
- 2 cups sugar or desired amount may use less
- 1 cup pumpkin
- 5-6 cups boiling water
- 1 cup hot milk
Melt butter, add oil and stir in cream of wheat and flour…stir until brown and looks like brown sugar, add in cinnamon and pumpkin spice at the end of the browning process.
Remove from heat, and add the boiling water and milk stirring in quickly using a whisk…you may need assistance. Add pumpkin, sugar and raisins. You need to stir fast with wooden spatula or whisk, add back to heat and cook on very low heat till mixture is cooked and is pulling from sides of pot.
Add to a 13x 9 inch pyrex pan…let stand, and cover with cling wrap and a tea towel for 2o minutes, to allow to set. When set cut into it in diamonds or squares. Serve warm and store the rest in fridge can be eaten cold or warm, but is best served when freshly made.