The holidays for me can be bittersweet because I love sweets but the gluten in cakes, pies and cookies really don’t love me back, which is why I love halva.
Halva is a traditional fudge from the Middle East. There are as many versions of this treat that you can think of from areas as diverse as North Africa, the Balkans, Eastern Europe, and the Mediterranean, as well as, South, Central and West Asia.
Some halvas contain wheat flour, rice flour or a variety of nuts, especially pistachios. Some contain egg whites, chocolate or coconut. Some halvas are soft and some are chewy. This one is my favorite because it’s slightly crumbly like a semi-soft meringue, sweet but complex and best of all, it’s gluten-free.
3 cups sesame seeds
3/4 cup tahini or ground sesame seed paste
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a skillet, heat sesame seeds over medium heat until lightly toasted.
- Once cooled, add sesame seeds to a food processor one cup at a time and blend.
- Add tahini, sugar, honey, cinnamon and allspice and pulse until mixture is thick and nearly solid.
- Press mixture evenly into a square or rectangular glass or plastic dish with lid.
- Cover and refrigerate until firm.
- Cut into squares and serve with espresso or Turkish coffee.