This semolina halva is one of my favorite Turkish desserts. I have always thought of halva as a sticky and thick white block, and was delighted when Deniz introduced me to this very different type of halva. It’s buttery and slightly sweet, light and fluffy, and eaten with a spoon. Once I put one spoon in my mouth, I can’t stop eating until the bowl’s gone. And then I start looking around for more.
Turkish Semolina Halva (Irmik Helva)
- 3 c semolina
- 1 c butter
- 2½ c sugar
- 1 quart milk
- ½ c pine nuts or walnut pieces
- ½ c powdered sugar optional
- Heat a very large saucepan on high heat. Add and melt the butter, semolina, and nuts. Stir until semolina is roasted, about 10 minutes.
- Heat a separate saucepan, add the milk and sugar, stir to dissolve, and bring to a boil.
- Add the boiled milk to the semolina mix, stir to evenly combine, and cover. Reduce to medium high heat and cook for 3 minutes. Reduce to medium heat and cook until the milk is absorbed, approximately another 3 minutes. Stir the mixture well, and cook on very low heat for 10 more minutes.
- Remove the cooked semolina to a large bowl and fluff with a fork. If desired, mix in flavorings (e.g., small spoon of nutella or a drop of lemon extract or a drop of almond extract, etc). Dust with powdered sugar before serving.