Thursday, August 04, 2011

Un Helvasi for the Soul


Food for good times, food for bad times. Desserts for celebrating happy moments, desserts for sharing grief. Life is ironic.

I was visiting my dearest Nihan abla last March in South Florida. She got the bad news by then that her cousin passed away. We said our goodbyes to him by opening a bottle of wine and raising our glasses to his freed soul. She wanted to celebrate his life, what a beautiful irony.

The next day was the time for cooking halva. Looking for a recipe, I came across with Gonul Palaoglu's cookbook. One of my all-time go-to book for basic recipes. She is also the paternal grandmother of my cousins. I'd have never thought that I would cook halva from her recipes in Ft.Lauderdale, Florida. Probably, she wouldn't either... Now her halva recipe will be tasted halfway across the world with prayers for Nihan's cousin. This one is for him with my prayers.

Here is the recipe from Gonul Palaoglu's Tatlidan, Tuzludan book:

2 cups of flour (we used 1 cup wheat flour and 1 cup white flour)
1 1/8 stick of butter
1 cup of milk
1 cup of sugar
1/3 cup of pine nuts

1- Melt the butter in a large skillet, add the flour
2- Cook them together stirring all the time until the flour gets a brownish color and gets crubmly
3- Add the pine nuts, keep stirring in low heat

4- In another pot, warm the milk and add the sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved
5- Pour the milk to the flour mixture in small amounts. It is really important to not the pour the whole milk at once. Another hint is to  use wooden spoon for the whole recipe
6- Keep stirring in medium/low heat until the mixture gets consistent and the milk is soaked.
7- When the halva gets a firmer texture and appears to be non-sticky, turn off the heat. Let it stand for 15-20 minutes.
8- Shape your halva with a spoon to make flat, round halva balls

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