Halva Recipe - Greek Halvas - Semolina Pudding with Raisins and Nuts

Greece, Plate of halva and coffee, close-up
Apostolos Mastoris / Getty Images
  • 40 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins,
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yield: 8 - 10 Servings
Ratings (22)
Halva is a semolina pudding that is sweetened with syrup and studded with nuts and raisins. It is a dessert that has Arabic origins but has been adopted into the Greek culture and is widely served during fasting periods because there are no eggs or dairy in the recipe.

What You'll Need

  • 2 cups of coarse semolina (substitute Farina or Cream of Wheat)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup walnuts (chopped coarsely), plus more for topping, if desired
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • For the Syrup:
  • 4-1/2 cups water
  • 2-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3 small pieces cinnamon stick
  • 3-4 whole cloves
  • 2-inch piece of orange peel
  • Ground cinnamon (for dusting)

How to Make It

Prepare the syrup: To a medium saucepan, add the water, sugar, honey, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and orange peel. Boil for 5 minutes then lower the heat and simmer gently. Remove the cinnamon, clove and orange peel before pouring.

In another larger saucepan, over medium high heat, add the oil and heat until shimmering. Add the coarse semolina and cook, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Cook the semolina in the oil until the grains begin to toast and turn a deep golden color.

Remove the pot from the heat and carefully add the hot syrup to the semolina mixture. The semolina is going to sizzle, bubble, and spatter so be careful not to burn yourself. Stir in the walnuts, raisins, and pine nuts and continue to cook until the semolina absorbs all the liquid.

Cover the pot tightly and set aside to cool for 10-15 minutes.

Spoon the mixture into a pudding mold or into individual ramekins. Allow the pudding to cool to room temperature before serving.

To serve, sprinkle with cinnamon and some more chopped nuts (if desired).