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Halvah

(recipe, Matthew Barker)

Ingredients

  1. 1 cup cream
  2. 1 cup water
  3. ⅓ cup tahini
  4. 1 cup cream of rice, farina or semolina (Cream of Wheat, quick, dry)
  5. 1 cup brown sugar
  6. 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter or sesame oil
  7. ½ cup sesame seeds
  8. ½ cup hot water (or less)

Steps

  1. In a medium sized heavy bottomed saucepan, bring to a boil over medium heat the sugar, cream and water. Boil 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Meanwhile in a large pan, melt butter (or add oil) and stir in the (rice, farina, or semolina) and the sesame seeds.
  3. Continue cooking on medium heat for 15 minutes, scraping the the pan so that the dry ingredients won't scorch.
  4. Stir in the tahini as the mixture begins to thicken, working out any lumps until the mixture is smooth.
  5. Gradually add to the dry ingredients, combining all ingredients (including the water, sugar and cream) well and adding as much as ½ cup of water, as needed to make a paste-like consistency. Mixture should be thick.
  6. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
  7. Turn out onto a marble slab or other flat surface and when the Halvah is cool enough to handle, knead several minutes.
  8. Put the Halvah into an 8 inch square pan that has the bottom lined with a square of wax or parchment paper and smooth over the top with the back of a spoon.
  9. Allow to rest 20 minutes, loosen from the sides of the pan using a knife, and turn out.
  10. Cut into squares and store in an airtight plastic storage box or ziploc.
  11. Variation: Add ½ cup coarsely chopped pistachio nuts. Halvah squares may be dipped in melted, tempered or dipping chocolate and optionally rolled in chopped nuts.
  12. Enjoy!