Halvas meh Simigthali: Semolina Pudding with Honey, Nuts & Raisins
onounced hal-VAHSS meh see-meegh-THAH-lee
Halvas made with semolina, nuts, raisins, and cinnamon is a delightful, grainy textured dessert, and one of the more famous Greek sweets. This version is cooked on the stove, placed in a mold to shape, and served at room temperature.
* 2 cups of semolina, coarse grind (or cream of wheat or farina)
* 1 cup of oil
* 2 1/2 cups of sugar
* 1/2 cup of honey
* 5 cups of water
* 1/4 cup of walnuts, crushed
* 1/4 cup of pine nuts
* 1/4 cup of raisins (golden, seedless)
* 3 sticks of cinnamon
* 2-3 cloves, whole
* slice of lemon peel
* sugar for sprinkling
* ground cinnamon for sprinkling
In a saucepan, add water, sugar, honey, lemon peel, cinnamon, and cloves and boil gently for 1-2 minutes. Remove the lemon peel, cinnamon sticks, and cloves, reduce heat to lowest possible.
While the syrup mixture is coming to a boil, start cooking the semolina: Heat oil in a pot or high-sided frying pan over medium heat.
Add the semolina slowly, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the semolina absorbs all the oil. Add crushed walnuts, pine nuts, and raisins, and continue to stir. When the semolina turns a dark gold color, remove the pot from the heat.
Pour the hot syrup over the semolina mixture, taking care not to get burned (it will spatter and boil up). Return to low heat and stir until the mixture become creamy and thick and doesn’t stick to the sides of the pan. Remove from the heat, cover with a clean dry towel, and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
Spoon the mixture into a mold (pudding, jello or cake type) or large glass bowl and pat down with the back of a large spoon to fill the mold completely and create a level surface. Allow the halvas to cool and turn out onto a platter. Sprinkle with a little sugar and cinnamon, and serve. Yield: about 10 cups