Friday, December 20, 2013

Greek Halva with Nuts and Orange Taste

Greek halva with nuts and orange taste
The end of the Nativity fast is coming soon. This fasting season (one of the four canonical fasting seasons in the Church year) prepares the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches for the Nativity of Christ - 25th of December.
Meat and dairy are not permitted throughout the whole fasting period (from 15th of November until 25th of December). 
There are many feasts in Bulgaria in December and one of them is Ignazhden - the 20th of December, the feast day of Saint Ignatius of Antioch. It is believed that the Virgin's labor pains started on this day and continued until Christmas. The Christmas and New Year festivities start on this day and according to the old traditions in Bulgaria, Ignazhden is perceived as the actual beginning of the New Year. There is a very interesting belief connected with this day - it is very important who will first enter the house on this day - if it is a good and lucky man or woman, the following year will be good and there will be success and lots of luck in the house. 
The Christmas eve dinner contains only no-meat and no-diary dishes and today's recipe is a good option for a dessert -  Greek Halva with lots of nuts. Greek halva is a semolina pudding - sweet and tasty. Similar to the famous Baklava, Halva is a dessert with Arabic origins, but it was adopted in many cultures like Greek and Indian. Unlike the Indian badam halwa, which is prepared with milk and ghee, this recipe does not contain dairy products.   

Greek Halva

  • 1 cup coarse semolina
  • 3/4 cup sunflowers oil
  • 1/4 cup blanched almonds, chopped coarsely
  • 1/4 cup raw pistachios, chopped coarsely
  • 1 tsp cinnamon for dusting
For the syrup:
  • 2 1/4 cups water, hot
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • peel of half an orange
Prepare the syrup:
Put water, sugar and orange peel in a saucepan and boil for 5 minutes until sugar dissolves completely. Lower heat and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Take out orange peel and set aside.
Greek halva with pistachios and almonds
Prepare semolina:
While the syrup is simmering, pour oil into a large saucepan on medium heat and add semolina. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking and cook until the color of semolina changes to goldenCarefully add the syrup to the semolina. It will start to bubble, so be careful. Add the chopped nuts, mix well to incorporate, cover with a lid and cook on low heat until semolina absorbs all the liquid. Cool for 10 minutes and pour into a pudding mold. 
Sprinkle with cinnamon and serve.

1 comment:

  1. Looks outstanding! I will try it, love this kind of desserts.
    Dear Meli, Wishing you a holiday full of snowflakes, mistletoe and sugar cookies!