March 16, 2013 • Category: Dessert
Lebanon is a small country with the distinction of having been occupied by many cultures through the ages; most recently, the Ottomans were in charge for a few centuries and left an imprint on food. In fact, a lot of the foods people eat is an Ottoman legacy (like shawarma or baklava). In my grandmother’s time, when she and her friends would play backgammon they’d say the numbers in Turkish. Here is a Turkish dessert that would feel right at home in Lebanon.
I saw this dessert on Claudia Turgut‘s blog. I had one unopened box of halvah in the cupboard (here called halawa). It is very simple and bakes in just minutes. Halvah is the equivalent of peanut butter in Lebanon. A former Lebanese Army general was telling me recently that it is eaten for breakfast in the Army ranks (with bread).
This simple but rich dessert is the Turkish equivalent of crème brulée, except it only contains halvah and milk and no eggs.
- 350 g. halvah (I used 1/2 a standard box)
- 1/2 cup milk (I used light whipping cream 20cl or 200 g.)
- juice of half a lemon (did not have a lemon, skipped it)
- cinnamon to sprinkle (I used ground pistachios)
- a few mini chocolate chips (optional)
- Place the halvah in the bowl of a food processor, in chunks if possible. Add the cream or milk and purée the mixture; it needs to be thick but a bit runny. If it is still slightly granular, don’t worry, it will be as smooth as silk after the time in the oven.
- Bake for 5 minutes in a hot oven. Sprinkle with cinnamon or pistachios and serve lukewarm.
NOTE: I confess I sprinkled a few chocolate chips in the cream prior to baking!
24 Comments • Comments Feed
Exquisite! I’m drooling over my kexboard…
On March 16, 2013 at 10:33 am
سيف الدّين الكيلاني says:
السّلام عليكم 🙂
إسمحي لي أن أشكركِ على هذا الموقع الذي أدخل السّرور إلى قلبي و حرّك في معدتي الشّوق إلى هذه الأطايب من الطّعام 🙂
لقد أمضيت نحو من ثلاثة أيّام أقرأ و أنظر بسرور إلى ما تجودين به علينا من وقتكِ و جهدكِ ، فشكراً لكِ .
أدع الله سبحانه أن يتمّ نعمته عليكِ و أن يحفظكِ ، اللهم آمين .
On March 16, 2013 at 12:25 pm
@Saifa al-din al-kilani: Shoukran jazeelan!
On March 16, 2013 at 1:51 pm
Denise Browning@From says:
Joumana: I love halvas and this cream looks so tempting and exquisite that I’ll have to try it. Wishing you a great weekend!
On March 16, 2013 at 2:11 pm
It looks delicious – do you think peanut butter could be used in the recipe if no halvas was available?
On March 16, 2013 at 4:06 pm
@twbarritt: Hello, why not try it and post about it? I’d love to know! (I’d worry the peanut butter would ooze out all its oil, I’d add an egg and sugar-remember halvah is made up of tahini (sesame paste) and syrup)
On March 17, 2013 at 1:37 am
Belinda @zomppa says:
Beautiful! The touch of chocolate is perfect.
On March 16, 2013 at 9:12 pm
Love halvah and this cream variation has my mind churning with new ideas for recipe 🙂
On March 17, 2013 at 2:16 am
Nathalie Saky says:
I can’t wait to try this recipe today, curious about the texture. LOVE your blog.
On March 17, 2013 at 8:06 am
This is a beautiful and easy dessert…love my halva and will have to try this out!
On March 17, 2013 at 9:25 am
So this is how they make halawa tart in Lebanon! I’d always wondered how they “liquify” the halawa yet retain its fragrant flavor.
On March 18, 2013 at 5:51 am
I’ve just been reading about Turkish food, and now I’m reading The Lebanese Kitchen. It’s interesting to learn about the shared food legacy. And, this dessert looks delicious!
On March 18, 2013 at 11:50 am
We, Turkish people love halvah and have it at breakfast, as a snack or after eating fish. We make this dessert exactly the same way and yours look so divine!
On March 18, 2013 at 4:30 pm
Je ne connais pas ces saveurs, même pas celle du beurre d’arachide…alors je ne saurait commenter cette douceur
On March 18, 2013 at 11:26 pm
Hi there! I am so pleased you tried my helva recipe!! It looks great and as we all know it tastes divine :))
On March 19, 2013 at 5:11 pm
Oh gosh! What a concept! I love this and that creamy texture is unbelievable – no cream or eggs – who would have thought! My hubby who is creme brulee crazee would polish off a bunch of these. Love the pistachio sprinkles on top 🙂
chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors
On March 21, 2013 at 8:38 am
Oh wow that looks incredible! I have seen halvah in markets around here but I never thought of baking with it. I’ve been trying to get out of my comfort zone in cooking and I think this would be a perfect recipe to try. I have a book (Health on Your Plate) that suggests trying recipes with soy or almond milk replacements…do you think it would work with almond milk? I think the flavor would work well with the tahini. Thank you for sharing! 🙂
On March 26, 2013 at 6:42 am
@Dahlia: Since the original recipe called for regular milk, I think almond milk would work fine. The flavors certainly would, I am just not sure if it would provide enough fat to make the cream, well, creamy. I would try it though, why not?
On March 26, 2013 at 9:14 am
Oui, Chef says:
Creamy, pudding-like desserts are my favorites….YUM!
On March 27, 2013 at 7:33 pm
How hot is a hot oven…?
On April 3, 2013 at 12:23 pm
@Georges: sorry I should have been more specific: 375F or 190C and above.
On April 3, 2013 at 11:02 pm
this looks delish 🙂
On April 4, 2013 at 12:03 pm
I made this – sort of.
I turned it into a Halvah Creme Brulee with the addition of 4 egg yolks, 2 Tbl of tachina & 1 Tbl of sesame seeds.
On February 14, 2023 at 9:09 pm
@Diane Great idea!!!!!!! Bet it was amazing too~~
On February 15, 2023 at 1:28 am