Semolina Halva is one of the most popular desserts in Turkish cuisine and we make it quite often. Although it is a favorite sweet treat of many people in Turkey, semolina halva is not produced at sweetshops or patisseries, so people make it at home. Semolina Halva with Pine Nuts is a traditional sweet treat, and known as a specialty of moms or grandmas. You know that it’s absolutely tasty if it’s made by an elderly woman! I know I can’t compete with such experienced masters of semolina halva, but I do love making it and my friends and guests always ask for a second one!
Semolina halvah is traditionally made with pine nuts, and it’s sometimes made with hazelnuts or walnuts depending on your taste. However, I’ve decided to make a twist on it and used dried currants this time! I love tiny size of currants and thought unlike nuts, their softness would go very well with this halva. It was like finding something precious when you feel these seedless small grapes in your mouth. If you like traditional way or if you like nuts more, you can definitely substitute these for currants.
I used half water, half milk when making it as I think milk helps it be creamy when boiling and it gives a creamy flavor when combined with the flavor of butter. But if you run out of milk, you can leave it out and use water instead. It will still be yummy! As far as I know there is no milk in recipes of most moms and grandmas, so it’s an addition of me, from new generation.
I must tell you that you shouldn’t be impatient when sauteing semolina in butter. You need to stir it continually not to burn it and it takes some time, about 15 minutes until you have the right light brown result.
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Semolina Halva with Currants
A wonderful halva with semolina and currants flavored with lemon zest
- Prep Time: 3 minutes
- Cook Time: 22 minutes
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 6 1x
- 125g butter
- 1 and ½ cup semolina
- 4 tbsp currants
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tbsp lemon zest, grated
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tbsp pistachio powder
- Melt butter in a pot and add semolina.
- Bring it to medium heat and stir semolina continually so that all of it changes color equally.
- Saute it until it gets light brown, for about 15 minutes.
- Add currants and stir a few times.
- Bring it to the lowest heat and add sugar, lemon zest, water and milk one by one.
- Stir with a wooden spoon a few times and let it absorb liquids within 7-10 minutes.
- Take it from stove when it gets thick and a little creamy.
- Share it into small bowls and let it cool.
- It gets thicker when cooled.
- Top with pistachio powder and lemon zest and serve.
Note: As an alternative serving as the one you see in pictures, you can wet a small bowl, fill it with semolina halva when it’s still hot and turn it upside down on a plate and then let it cool. Top with pistachio and lemon zest and serve.