Halvah cream

March 16, 2013  •  Category:

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)


  1. 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. 
  2. 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!

whirl in processor

halalwa treat-2


24 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Rosa says:

    Exquisite! I’m drooling over my kexboard…



  2. 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 .

    سيف الدّين

  3. 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!

  4. twbarritt says:

    It looks delicious – do you think peanut butter could be used in the recipe if no halvas was available?

    • Joumana says:

      @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)

  5. Belinda @zomppa says:

    Beautiful! The touch of chocolate is perfect.

  6. Kiran says:

    Love halvah and this cream variation has my mind churning with new ideas for recipe 🙂

  7. Nathalie Saky says:

    I can’t wait to try this recipe today, curious about the texture. LOVE your blog.
    Thank you!

  8. Peter says:

    This is a beautiful and easy dessert…love my halva and will have to try this out!

  9. Danielle says:

    So this is how they make halawa tart in Lebanon! I’d always wondered how they “liquify” the halawa yet retain its fragrant flavor.

  10. lisaiscooking says:

    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!

  11. zerrin says:

    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!

  12. domi says:

    Je ne connais pas ces saveurs, même pas celle du beurre d’arachide…alors je ne saurait commenter cette douceur

  13. Claudia says:

    Hi there! I am so pleased you tried my helva recipe!! It looks great and as we all know it tastes divine :))

  14. weavethousandflavors says:

    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

  15. Dahlia says:

    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! 🙂

    • Joumana says:

      @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?

  16. Oui, Chef says:

    Creamy, pudding-like desserts are my favorites….YUM!

  17. Georges says:

    How hot is a hot oven…?

  18. Rabi'a says:

    this looks delish 🙂

  19. Diane says:

    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.


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