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Halvah


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64 replies to this topic

#1 helenas

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Posted 21 April 2003 - 09:58 AM

Today i shared a great turkish pistachio halva with some of my coworkers: one happened to be from Romania, and the other one from India, and both claimed halvah as their national dessert. Another guy joined us and said confidently, that halvah is jewish.
At this point we turned to Merriam-Webster:
"Etymology: Yiddish halva, from Romanian, from Turkish helva, from Arabic halwA sweetmeat .", so basically everybody was right.

Halvah was/is very popular in Russia as well. I can't forget some wonderful cake called "Slavyanka" that had a filling of halva's creme. I even tracked down a recipe for it from some russian food board.

Do you like halvah? What is your favorite type, brand? Any interesting recipes involving halvah?

And does anybody know anything about Kos-Halva :wub: , by any chance?

#2 Sandra Levine

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Posted 21 April 2003 - 10:07 AM

Helena, I am interested in the recipe for that cake. Is there a link in English? If not, can you post a translation? I love halvah. Years ago, it was usually available near the register at every Jewish deli. here is good bulk halvah available in Greek groceries in Astoria. It is now a once a year treat for me, since it is one of the most fattening things you can put in mouth.

#3 hollywood

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Posted 21 April 2003 - 10:10 AM

Welcome back!
I'm hollywood and I approve this message.

#4 cakewalk

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Posted 21 April 2003 - 10:16 AM

Halvah belongs to everybody. :wub: It is one of my most favorite sweets in the world. When I was a kid I loved to buy the Joyva chocolate covered halva more than anything (even Chunkies). Actually I still do, but as Sandra mentioned it is possibly the most fattening food in existence. I loved buying blocks of it in the shuk in Jerusalem, on any pretext. I would also love to see your recipe Helena (but what is halva cream?). Oh joy. va.

#5 swissmiss

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Posted 21 April 2003 - 10:25 AM

Halvah is also one of my favorite sweets, but I only buy it about every six months because I just sit with the container and eat it by the spoonful. :wub: I like the kind in the clear container with green writing, which also serves as a Tupperware-substitute once empty. I used to buy that brand in Switzerland too.
Anne E. McBride

#6 elyse

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Posted 21 April 2003 - 12:24 PM

I guess we all love halvah! I heard sesame seeds pulverized with honey will become halvah (just like that) but haven't tried it. Some chemical reaction. I believe that was a Wayne Harley Brachman foodtv tidbit. He has a halvah cream recipe there. I was never picky about what kind I ate. I never buy it anymore, because I don't eat some. I eat it ALL.

#7 Sandra Levine

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Posted 21 April 2003 - 12:29 PM

I think it's a love it or hate it proposition. I've heard some people describe it as "straw."

#8 elyse

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Posted 21 April 2003 - 12:36 PM

Well, Sandra, they're obviously insane. :wink:

#9 helenas

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Posted 21 April 2003 - 12:43 PM

The russian version of halvah cream includes sweetened condensed milk, butter and halvah, are you sure you want me to continue translation? :raz:

In the meantime, this is a recipe that i found a while ago, Halva Gateau, and it sounds interesting including the cake layers based on semolina/almond flour. Actually this recipe was on internet like forever, i wonder if anybody actually tried it?

#10 Sandra Levine

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Posted 21 April 2003 - 12:51 PM

Please...I can dream, can't I?

#11 elyse

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Posted 21 April 2003 - 01:13 PM

Is it me, or is anyone else having trouble getting to Helena's link? I tried other recipes there and they came up blank too. :huh:

#12 Rail Paul

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Posted 21 April 2003 - 01:51 PM

Is it me, or is anyone else having trouble getting to Helena's link?  I tried other recipes there and they came up blank too. :huh:

the link worked for me at 1653 ET
Apparently it's easier still to dictate the conversation and in effect, kill the conversation.

rancho gordo

#13 elyse

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Posted 21 April 2003 - 02:49 PM

:sad: I'm still coming up blank!

#14 helenas

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Posted 21 April 2003 - 05:03 PM

So here is the basic theme of the halvah cake "Slavyanka":

For the cream:
Butter 280 g;
Egg yolks 70g;
Sweetened condensed milk 170 g
Halva 80 g
powdered sugar 10 g
Vanilla;

Prepare sponge cake using your favorite recipe (3 layers)
Prepare cream.
Whip the butter, using hand-held mixer, add the crushed halva, the condensed milk, yolks, powdered sugar, vanilla and continue to whip until billowy. Sandwich the filling between the layers of sponge cake, as well as on the top and sides.

The variations are mostly following:
- no egg yolks;
- no powdered sugar;
- no egg yolks and no powdered sugar;
- more halvah;

Just beware, i'm not sure about the result. Products in Russia are so different. I just remember how many reliable russian baking recipes started to fail miserably when first tried in Israel.

#15 cakewalk

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Posted 21 April 2003 - 06:56 PM

I heard sesame seeds pulverized with honey will become halvah (just like that) but haven't tried it.

Try mixing tehina with honey. Spread on crackers. Or just dig in with a spoon. Yummm. (This should probably go in that "cravings" thread.) :rolleyes:

#16 Stephanie

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Posted 22 April 2003 - 10:47 AM

I think it's a love it or hate it proposition.  I've heard some people describe it as "straw."

Well, I would too if I'd only had the Joyva version. Fresh halvah is wonderful, especially the marble kind or the one with chocolate on top.

#17 Sandra Levine

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Posted 22 April 2003 - 10:51 AM

Thanks, Helena. The halvah cream might also be good spread thinly in the pastry shell as the base for a fruit tart.

Edited by Sandra Levine, 23 April 2003 - 06:00 AM.


#18 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 23 April 2003 - 05:45 AM

I like it when it's very dry and sand like, marbled is my flavor of choice.

Last couple times I've purchased it, it was very oily and not as dense as I like. I don't have a good source for it anymore.

#19 Steve Klc

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Posted 23 April 2003 - 07:14 AM

A link to a nice site:

http://www.gourmed.g...w.asp?recid=382
Steve Klc

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Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

#20 Suvir Saran

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Posted 26 April 2003 - 12:39 AM

And then we Indians have many Halwaahs in our culinary repertoire.

Sooji Halwah is the most common one. Sooji is Farina/Semolina.

It is often prepared for prasad. Offerings of food served to the deities being worshipped on special occasions.

Carrot Halwah, zucchini, lentils and beans, and whole wheat are some other halwahs from India.

#21 elyse

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Posted 26 April 2003 - 11:18 AM

That is so interesting Suvir. Thank you.

#22 pjs

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Posted 26 April 2003 - 08:18 PM

Lately I've been buying the Kasih brand imported from Jordan. I just noticed the ingredients. Tahini, Sugar, Sapponaria Officinalis, Glucose, Pistaschio, Citric Acid, Vanillin, E171, Stabilizer (E471 Vegetable Origin).

:blink:

Also noticed that I'm almost out--need to buy some more.

:laugh:

PJ
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--Lester Bangs via Bruce Sterling
(Dori Bangs)

#23 Ellen Shapiro

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Posted 27 April 2003 - 05:51 AM

I like to buy it from stores that do enough halva business that they sell it in bulk (and it’s fresh). I usually get mine from Economy Candy on the Lower East Side. They have a big block of the marble as well as chocolate covered layered halva in loaves, pistachio halva and also rings of Turkish Delight.

When I was a kid I went to some event where along with the other desserts someone had an entire block of halva (it must have been at least 10 pounds) sitting there for people to cut off pieces at whim. I thought I had died and gone to heaven.
Ellen Shapiro
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#24 cbarre02

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Posted 15 March 2004 - 12:41 PM

Just looked over a recipe for carrot halva, and was wondering if anyone has made this or varations of it? From the recipe that i read, it steams to be nothing more than spiced milk steeped carrots with some raisins. Is this presumtion correct, or is there something more to this Indian dessert?

If so there could be an unlimited amount of variations, any suggestions?
Cory Barrett
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#25 Michael Laiskonis

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Posted 15 March 2004 - 01:05 PM

Cory, I just spent some time immersed in Indian dessert traditions. This sounds interesting- is this recipe something you could link to, or at least flesh out in your own words?
Michael Laiskonis
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#26 cbarre02

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Posted 15 March 2004 - 01:47 PM

Well I just checked out a couple of other recipes for this same preparation. The idea seems to be to simmer the carrots in the spiced milk for some time (up to 3 hours), until the mixture is almost dry. Then remove to fry the carrot mixture in ghee until it has release all of its water content. My thinking is once the water is gone that the lactose would caramelize and leave you with some sort of buttery candied carrot concoction. Some recipes call for the addition of almond (though I think toasted pistachios would be more intriguing... and astatically pleasing), most call for raisins. Parsnips of course come to mind as an alternative, with the whole parsnip cake thing right now, though many other sweet vegetables could lend themselves nicely.



Here is a link to one of many recipes

I don't know the results of this recipe however, as I have yet to prepare this dish. I have found much unexplored (in terms of western pastry chefs) ideas and goods in Indian cuisine, and think that there is much possibility in this area. Today I even found that Kerala (one of India's States) produces cocoa beans, some thing I was unaware of. I also came across a pudding using ground dried peas, which sounded quiet interesting (though I have used dried legumes in cakes before, only to be left with a earthy metallic flavor).

India also offers a number of refreshing drinks that could easily be transformed to panna cottas, gellees, sorbets, foams, or many other things.

I know this is off the subject but is any one familiar with noodle koogle, and it's preparation. Soba noodles are just begging to be put into desserts some how; this may be another topic though
Cory Barrett
Pastry Chef

#27 Suzanne F

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Posted 15 March 2004 - 01:55 PM

Cory, you might check on the India board about this, if you haven't already. It may have been discussed there, as possibly also sheer korma (vermicelli pudding in a creamy sauce).

Also: there's a recipe for noodle kugel here in the eGCI session on Jewish Cooking Through the Year. If you do a search on +noodle +kugel you'll probably find more.

Edited by Suzanne F, 15 March 2004 - 01:59 PM.


#28 rnewman

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Posted 15 March 2004 - 02:10 PM

Cory,

The description you gave of the carrot halva in your second post is correct. The key is to cook the carrots in the milk quite slowly so the sugars in the milk caramelize properly. Additional sugar is then added after the milk has reduced and the carrots are soft. The cooking down of milk to an almost fudge-like consistency is used often in Indian desserts.

Most of the times that I have seen carrot halva made or made it myself, I have added slivered almonds and ground cardamom when the carrot/milk/ghee mixture is almost done. I recently went to a South Indian restaurant and they had halva made with beets which was very pretty and the taste was wonderful as well. Prior to this I had never had any vegetable halva except for carrot so this makes me think that, as you mention, other sweet root vegetables might lend themselves well to this cooking process.

#29 chromedome

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Posted 15 March 2004 - 08:28 PM

I made that for a homesick Punjabi friend, last year. I found that the end result (though sweeter than I like a dessert to be) tasted disconcertingly lemony. Actually not "lemony" as such, but more "lemon verbena-y" or "lemon grass-y". How that came out of carrots, cardamoms, milk and sugar I'm not sure.

Apparently in India it's common to add red food colouring, but I didn't bother.
Fat=flavor

#30 scott123

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 12:06 AM

http://forums.egulle...ndpost&p=227758