Greek Halvas - Semolina Pudding With Raisins and Nuts

Greece, Plate of halva and coffee
Apostolos Mastoris / Getty Images
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Cool: 45 mins
Total: 85 mins
Servings: 8 to 10 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
541 Calories
30g Fat
71g Carbs
2g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 541
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 30g 38%
Saturated Fat 7g 33%
Cholesterol 27mg 9%
Sodium 21mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 71g 26%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Protein 2g
Calcium 78mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Halva is a semolina pudding that is sweetened with syrup and studded with nuts and raisins. It is a dessert that has Arabic origins but has been adopted into the Greek culture and is widely served during fasting periods because there are no eggs or dairy in the recipe.

Ingredients

  • For the Syrup:
  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3 small pieces of cinnamon stick
  • 3 to 4 whole cloves
  • 2-inch piece of orange peel
  • For the Pudding:
  • 2 cups of coarse semolina
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup walnuts (chopped coarsely; plus more for topping)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • Garnish: ground cinnamon

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a medium saucepan, add the water, sugar, honey, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and orange peel.

  3. Boil for 5 minutes then lower the heat and simmer gently.

  4. In another larger saucepan, over medium-high heat, add the oil and heat until shimmering.

  5. Add the coarse semolina and cook, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.

  6. Cook the semolina in the oil until the grains begin to toast and turn a deep golden color.

  7. Remove the cinnamon, clove, and orange peel from the hot syrup.

  8. Remove the semolina pan from the heat and carefully add the hot syrup to the semolina mixture. The semolina is going to sizzle, bubble, and spatter so be careful not to burn yourself.

  9. Stir in the walnuts, pine nuts, and raisins. Continue to cook until the semolina absorbs all the liquid.

  10. Cover the pot tightly and set aside to cool for 10 to 15 minutes.

  11. Spoon the mixture into a pudding mold or individual ramekins. Allow the pudding to cool to room temperature before serving.

  12. To serve, sprinkle with cinnamon and more chopped nuts if desired. Enjoy.

Recipe Variation

  • Use farina or cream of wheat as a substitute for the semolina.