'Helva,' 'halva' or 'halwa.' However you choose to say it, these traditional Middle Eastern desserts have a lot of history and culture behind them. And they are delicious comfort food. That means loads of carbs, fat and sugar. But that's what makes them so delicious!
In Turkish cuisine, the most popular 'helva' is made with semolina and pine nuts. Uncooked semolina and a handful of pine nuts are slowly browned in large amounts of butter until golden brown.
When both ingredients become a deep amber color, they're saturated with sweetened and sometimes flavored milk and left to solidify. Then the 'helva' is either spooned out, shaped in a mold or separated grain by grain with a wooden spoon before serving.
There's nothing like a plate of still-warm 'helva' with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
What's so special about this Turkish classic? It's always made to announce, commemorate or share important milestone events in life. Happy or sad, events like births, deaths, circumcisions, landing a new job, returning home from military service. All are occassions commemorated with 'helva.'
Try this simple recipe for Turkish semolina 'helva.' It's very easy to prepare and only contains a few ingredients. Just this recipe and a gallon of ice cream can feed a large group and keep them smiling. Try Turkish semolina 'helva' with pine nuts the next time you have important news to share.