Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Greek Food: Macedonian Halva

There are probably as many variations on this recipe as there are Greek matrons with culinary opinions. My recipe is quite basic, feel free to add or substitute other elements like pine nuts, sesame seeds, walnuts, or whatever else tickles your fancy. A few drops of orange blossom water or even some lemon rind in the syrup could also be a nice touch. Greek Food

I should mention that not only are there numerous permutations for this recipe, there are also alternative preparation methods involving the oven, for instance. To add to the complexity of the matter, Greeks apply the term halva interchangeably to flour or nut-based  versions of this confection.

Thus much have I for you today on the topic of my Macedonian halva recipe. I hope you try it. If you know any Irish folk, give them a hug today. Greece and Ireland have a lot in common these days.


=1 cup coarse semolina
=1 cup Greek blossom honey
=4 cups of water
=¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
=¼ cup blanched almonds, chopped
=¼ cup sultana raisins
  Ground cinnamon


for those of you with a keener sweet tooth, adding a ½ cup or so of sugar to the syrup is an option. I prefer the simple purity of the honey as my sweet tooth has dulled with wisdom... ;-)


  1. =Combine honey and water in a pan, and set to boil as our syrup. When it has boiled, set it to simmer while you prepare the semolina mixture.
  2. =Heat olive oil in a pot over medium to high heat
  3. =When the oil is hot, add the semolina to the pot and mix it continuously with a wooden spoon to brown the semolina thoroughly; try to keep it from smoking much, keep it moving in the bottom of the pan. About Six–eight minutes. Do not burn it.
  4. =Once the semolina has been browned, use a deep kitchen spoon or ladle and gradually add the still-simmering honey-water mixture to the pot. Be careful, do not add it all at once and keep your hands away from the pot opening.
  5. =Mix the thickening semolina mixture well and keep adding the syrup until it is fully absorbed then add the almonds and raisins, lower the heat to medium low and continue mixing well for a few more minutes.
  6. =Spoon the mixture quickly into two small six inch spring-form jelly/cake moulds which you have pre-greased with olive oil, and then use a spoon to pat the mixture down well and evenly into each mould; take care to ensure a uniform and level finish.
  7. =Set the moulds to cool. Turn out onto a service plate and sprinkle with cinnamon before enjoying.

Total preparation time: 25 minutes

Desserts like this one are about getting back to the basics. Did I mention it is cholesterol free?

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