Halva is a sweet dessert served across the Middle East, West Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, North Africa, the Caucasus, the Horn of Africa, Eastern and Central Europe, the Balkans, Jewish diaspora, and Malta. In certain Indian cultures, the dessert is known as a soup-based sweet. Same sweets exist in some other countries, like China, though these aren’t generally known as “halva”. This is a general halva recipe that you can prepare very quick and it tastes like a haven. Try it!
- 1 ½ cups tahini
- 2cups granulated sugar
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch kosher salt
- Use a parchment paper to line an 8×8-in. baking pan.
- In a saucepan, combine ½ cup water, sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla over medium heat, stirring to until dissolved. Let the mixture simmer into a syrup, without stirring for 5 minutes.
- While syrup is cooking, apply tahini and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle. Mix on medium speed. With mixer running, gently stream syrup into tahini. Whisk until syrup is combined and mixture starts to pull away from sides of the bowl, around 30 seconds to a minute (do not overmix). The halvah texture needs to be fudge-like, not sandy.
- Immediately transfer mixture to the prepared pan, working fast with a heatproof spatula. Apply another piece of parchment on top and using your hands smooth the halvah on top. Cool completely to room temperature, then cut into squares and serve.
- Well wrap in plastic and keep at room temperature (for a week).