What is Halva?
Halva is a sweet dense confection which have very different varieties. Persian halva is a brown paste made with flour, sugar and butter and most of it flavor is because of the saffron. People in Iran making Halva in very different ways, but the recipe that I share with you is what I learnt from my grandma. She used to use rose water in her recipe but I also made it without rose water before and the tastes was still awesome.
Halva traditionally is a sweet that Iranians eating in the funerals, but I’ve never understand why should we limit ourselves to make this, just when an unfortunate event happens. So since Halva is one of my favorites Persian desserts, I just make it whenever I’m craving for (which to be honest it happens a lot!).
The key to make a really great halva is:
-Make sure that you keep stirring the flour constantly and don’t let it burn.(Be patient in this step).
-Ground and dissolve saffron in hot water (this is a trick for all the recipes with saffron to get the best color).
-In the last step, once you add the water sugar syrup to the flour butter paste, just fold it till everything comes up together and don’t over mix it.
Vegetable Oil 150g
Saffron 1/2 tsp (ground and dissolved in 3 tablespoons hot water)
Water 2 cups
Rose water 1/4 cup
Boil water, sugar and saffron together in a saucepan. Once it’s start boiling and sugar dissolved, turn off the heat and add the rosewater. Set it aside.
Place the flour in a large pan on a low heat. With a spatula or wooden spoon start stir the flour. This might take 15-20 minutes and you have to keep stirring it constantly otherwise your flour will burn. You will see the color and smell changes slowly. We want to reach a lightly brown color. The darker it gets, the color of your Halva will be darker at the end, but be carful to not burn it.
Once you reach the desire color, sift the flour in a bowl. We sift the flour to make sure that no chunks left in it, so we can have a consistent texture at the end.
Put back the flour in the pan, add the butter and canola oil and start to mix everything. Once everything incorporated, slowly add the sugar syrup to the flour and keep stirring. Since the flour butter paste is extremely hot, the mixtures starts to boil right away, so be very very careful not to burn yourself.
In this step, flour absorb the water really quickly and you will have heavy brown-ish paste. You just need to keep mixing it for couple more minutes and once the whole thing comes up together, Halva is done.
Place the Halva in your serving plate once it’s hot and make a flat surface on top of it with a wet spoon. The traditional way to decorate it, is with a spoon tip just like what you can see in the photo. But you can also decorate it with slivered almonds or shredded coconuts.