Mini Travel Articles
by Vasil Kadifeli

Sesame Halva in the Oven, a delicous desert from the Turkish fish restaurants

Sesame Halva in the Oven, a delicous desert from the Turkish fish restaurants

Sesame halva is popular in the Balkans, Middle East, and other areas surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. The primary ingredients in this confection are sesame seeds or sesame paste called tahini, sugar, glucose or honey, and egg white. Also other flavourings such as pistachio nuts, cocoa powder, orange juice, vanilla, or chocolate are often added to this basic tahini and sugar base and thus there is a great variety of sesame halva.

Sesame Halva Sesame or tahini halva has been produced since the classical times. The dish was popular in the Byzantine Empire, and today it is very popular desert throughout Turkey and Greece. It is very much consumed by the Orthodox Greeks during the Great Lent and other fasts. In Turkey the term "helva" is used to describe mainly tahini halva but there are also other types of deserts such as made with flour, semolina etc that are also called "helva".

Sesame Halva Tahini halva baked in the oven is one very delicious desert made and served in fish restaurants throughout the Turkish Riviera. You may find it in many of the fish restaurants so if you happen to dine in one of them make sure you ask for it.

But it is such an easy desert to prepare that you can try it also at home. Just use 300 gr tahini halva, 2-3 tbsp of milk, 1 tsp of butter, 1/2 of lemon's juice, and some lemon zest.

Sesame Halva In general the plain white halva is used in this desert but you may try also halva with pistachios or cocoa.

Adding the butter is up to you as tahini halva is already a fat produce and in my opinion there is no need for extra fats.

So mix all ingredients and mash them with a fork and put them in an ovenproof dish or better in an earthenware dish as it is baked and served here in Turkey. You may use a big single dish and share it with your company or you may use smaller separate dishes per person.

The dishes should be of such size that halva is not thicker than 1 cm.

Sesame Halva

Preheat your oven to 200 C and put the dishes directly below the grill. Preheating is very important as we only want the oven to melt the halva and roast its surface.

Bake it immediately before you will serve it as it has to be consumed hot. Bake for 4-5 minutes or until it forms a brownish crust on its top. Watch it closely as sugar burns easily. If you have some leftover you can microwave it the next day and it will be as good as it was the day before.

Sesame Halva If you want you may prepare different varieties of this desert and surprise your friends. You may add for example some cognac, or some orange liquor. Some pieces of crushed chocolate may add extra taste. Also some crushed hazelnuts or walnuts may be a good choice.

Bon appetit !

April 1, 2009