Monday, September 30, 2013

Vegan Mofo #34 - Mark’s Greek Halvah...

Vegan Mofo #34 - Mark’s Greek Halvah

The Region - Greece
The Book - The 30 Minute Vegan’s Taste of Europe
The Author - Mark Rienfeld
The Recipe - Greek Halvah
Page #177
Difficulty - Easy
Duration - Roughly 30 minutes

I love Halvah. Back in the day I used to work in a delicatessen, and it was there that I got my first taste of the stuff. I loved the rich flavor, and crumbly texture like chocolate almost but better. To this day I love it, though I don’t often eat it. Until recently I didn’t realize that there are actually two types of Halvah, and I also didn’t realize that it’s origins span a wide range of geographical locations from the Mediterranean, through te Middle East, Asia and, North Africa, and Eastern Europe. I’ve always thought of it as being a Middle Eastern dessert, but I suppose many cultures and traditions have their own variations on it.

Mark’s Halvah recipe is the kind of halvah that uses Semolina Flour rather then tahini. I have never tried this kind of Halvah before, and so I was really curious to give it a shot. As far as I can tell both versions are found in Greece, though this version may be more popular there. Where as the tahini version is more popular in the Middle East.

As strange as it sounds a semolina based halvah is actually pretty quick and easy to make by brining water and soy creamer to a boil then pouring in the flour, sugar, oil, vegan butter, rose water, cinnamon, and sea salt. After that you basically cook until it’s thick like polenta, and keep cooking until it’s thick enough that it pulls away from the sides of the pan. Then you mix in your raisins, almonds, and mint leaves place it in a casserole and refrigerated until cool and solid.

Instead of being crumbly this halvah is more gelatinous and at fist I found the texture weird, but I really enjoyed the flavor. Mark also includes a rose water syrup to go over top of the halvah but I didn’t think I needed all that sugar and so I neglected to make it, really the halvah is sweet enough as is so I don’t think I was missing out anyway. In the end I think I like the crumbly Tahini based halvah’s better, but this was certainly a nice change of pace and I look forward to maybe making this recipe again with a few different ingredients. I’m thinking pistachio’s and cranberries!

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