Sweeten up your spring quarter with this recipe for halva, a tasty dessert Persian families often prepare for special occasions such as weddings, engagements, and conclusions of various Jewish holidays.
Perhaps one of the tastiest parts of Persian cuisine is the dessert selection with its ice creams, cakes, cookies and—you guessed it—halva. Halva is a sweet dish prepared with oil, flour, sugar and rosewater, and is served during occasions as morose as funeral services and as exciting as engagement parties.
Growing up in a Persian American Jewish household, I have watched and sometimes assisted family members in making halva. Although the process of preparing it requires much time and keen observation (so that the flour does not burn), the experience has created memories that I will always cherish. In this article, I have provided the recipe my family uses for traditional halva. Chances are that the majority of the ingredients involved are already sitting in your kitchen, score! So bring out the bowl, the pan and that sweet tooth. It’s time to make some halva up in this campus.
Yields: 8 servings
½ cup water
1 cup white granulated sugar
¼ cup rosewater
1 cup vegetable oil
1½ cups all-purpose flour
- Using a saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil. Stir the two ingredients together until the sugar becomes completely dissolved. This should not take more than about five minutes.
- Once the sugar crystals are no longer noticeable, add the rosewater. Remove the saucepan from heat and cover.
- In another saucepan on low heat, add the oil. Then, begin to add in the flour.
- Stir the flour and oil together until they start to form a paste-like consistency. Once you see a paste forming, keep on stirring; stop for even 10 seconds and you have just burned your precious halva.
- After stirring for anything between five and ten minutes, the flour paste should be a golden color.
- While the saucepan with flour paste is still on heat, start adding in the dissolved sugar. Mix until the contents are smooth.
- Remove the saucepan from the stove and distribute the halva evenly onto a platter or a plate.
- If you are feeling festive, use the back of a fork to create fun designs while the halva is still fresh.
- Chill the plate or platter of halva in the refrigerator for about an hour, or until it is set.