Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Halva with Toasted Pine Nuts

I realize it’s only October, but, it’s never too early to start thinking about the holidays.

Before you know it, Thanksgiving and Christmas will be here, so I’m taking the opportunity to practice making some recipes I plan to serve when the jingle bells start ringing.
Halva with Toasted Pine Nuts
I’m starting with an old-time favorite, halva. It takes very little time to prepare and is easy enough for a beginning cook to master. If you like this recipe, check out my version of Baneerov Halva (Halva with Cheese).

Serves 4

NOTE: This recipe can easily be doubled for a larger crowd, but use a 12-inch skillet instead.

Simple Syrup Ingredients:
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Prepare simple syrup:
Bring sugar and water to a boil. Reduce heat, add lemon juice, and stir until sugar is dissolved. Keep syrup warm until ready to use.

Halva Ingredients:
1 cup farina (Cream of Wheat may be used)
½ stick unsalted butter (4 Tbsp.)
½ cup lightly toasted pine nuts or chopped pecans or chopped walnuts

  • Melt the butter in a 10-inch skillet, over medium heat. Allow butter to brown a little – do not   let it burn!
  • Add the farina (or Cream of Wheat), stirring so it absorbs the butter and starts to turn a light brown. Slowly ladle-in the warm syrup, stirring until smooth, about 5 minutes.
  • Add nuts; continue to cook for 5 more minutes, stirring so nuts are evenly distributed. Remove skillet from heat; cover the pan and allow rest to for 30 minutes.
  • Serve warm with cinnamon sprinkled on top, if desired. 


  1. Thank you for this recipe, which totally takes me back to my childhood! My mother would make this as a special treat. She compressed it with her fingers on a plate and cut it into diamond shapes. She called it "poor man's cake." I can't wait to try it.

    1. I'm so glad this brings back childhood memories, and hope you'll enjoy it!