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Baked Tahini Halva with Pine Nuts; Firinda Tahin Helvasi

Tahini based helva or halva, is a delicious treat enjoyed in Turkey; I especially love the baked tahini halva served in kebab houses and restaurants at home, such a heavenly taste.

Helva, the Turkish name, derives from the Arabic ‘halva’ meaning ‘sweet confection’. Halva is a very popular candy in Turkey, Armenia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East served in cafes and kebab houses. Halva is made primarily with honey and tahini and there are many variations of it.  In the old days they would grind oily sesame seeds into a paste (tahini) and then mix it with hot honey.  This halva has a dry, deliciously crumbly texture and keeps in the fridge well for a long time. You can slice the halva and have with crackers or toasted slice of bread; the taste is just wonderful. I especially enjoy Ozerlat UK‘s Tahini Helva, Tahin Helvasi, made in Turkey with gorgeous pistachios from Gaziantep.

Here I chose to bake the tahini halva in the oven with sautéed pine nuts over the top. This dessert takes only minutes to make and it is so delicious; great for sharing with friends and family. The sautéed pine nuts add a lovely additional flavor and texture; I hope you enjoy it.

Serves 6

350g  precooked helva/halva– plain or with nuts

juice of half a lemon

100ml/4fl oz. whole milk

For sautéed pine nuts:

30ml/2 tbsp. pine nuts and drizzle of light olive oil

Ground cinnamon to serve

Plain crackers to serve

Preheat oven to 200C/400F

Mash the helva with a fork and then add the other ingredients, for a loose hummus consistency.

Mash the helva with a fork and then add the other ingredients, for a loose hummus consistency.

Mash the helva with a fork and then add the other ingredients. If you like, use an electric hand mixer to reach a smooth consistency which should become like ‘a loose hummus’. Pour into a large baking dish or 6 individual or small ovenproof dishes. Sprinkle with cinnamon and place in the hot oven for about 5 –  10 minutes, depending on how deep you filled the ramekins.

Sauteed pine nuts add a lovely texture and taste to the halva.

Sauteed pine nuts add a lovely texture and taste to the halva.

In the meantime, sauté the pine nuts in a drizzle of light olive oil for a few minutes in a pan, until they are golden.

Once the halva is baked, sprinkle the sautéed pine nuts over the halva and serve hot, with plain crackers by the side. Baked or fresh apricots or figs would be lovely to serve with this baked tahini halva too.

Afiyet Olsun,





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14 Responses to Baked Tahini Halva with Pine Nuts; Firinda Tahin Helvasi

  1. seniordogsabroad December 11, 2013 at 12:42 pm #

    [Marked as spam by Antispam Bee | Spam reason: Server IP]
    Özlem, Just reading your recipe made my mouth water. I have so many wonderful memories of halva, as we knew it as children in the predominantly Jewish neighborhood where I grew up. But the heated version I first tasted in a meyhane in Bursa and thought I’d died and gone to heaven. Your touch with the pine nuts sounds delicious. Thanks. (BTW, I’m also quite a fan of Claudia’s.)

    • Ozlem Warren December 11, 2013 at 1:51 pm #

      Merhaba Jolee, many thanks for stopping by; halva has such a historic food isn’t it, enjoyed by many communities thoroughout centuries, what a special treat. I love this aspect of food that it has no boundaries, glad it brought back good memories : ) Cok selamlar, Ozlem

  2. Peri December 12, 2013 at 5:09 am #

    Wonderful and seasonal recipe, Ozlem and I love the flavor of sesame with pine nuts, delicious combination! So comforting, a time of year when my thoughts turn to all kinds of helva or halwa as we call it back in India. Stay warm. XxPeri.

    • Ozlem Warren December 12, 2013 at 10:58 am #

      Thank you dear Peri, this halva brings lots of smiles to the faces, I am with you : ) Best wishes, Ozlem xx

  3. Alan December 12, 2013 at 8:16 pm #

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – ‘You iz a wickid woman!’ What a fantastic confection!

    • Ozlem Warren December 13, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

      🙂 we all love a bit of a delicious helva!:)

  4. BacktoBodrum December 13, 2013 at 4:17 pm #

    [Marked as spam by Antispam Bee | Spam reason: Server IP]
    I crumbled helva over very ripe white peaches in the summer and popped it under the grill and then added slivers of almonds . It went down very well!

    • Ozlem Warren December 16, 2013 at 11:09 am #

      Now, this is a brilliant idea; I can imagine how well the rich helva works with juicy peach, you have inspired me here : )

  5. Turkey's For Life December 14, 2013 at 6:56 am #

    [Marked as spam by Antispam Bee | Spam reason: Server IP]
    Helva in blocks has always been a bit too much for me but we love tahin and to see it all mixed up and gooey like this…think I could get with that one. Looks like a naughty treat! 🙂

    • Ozlem Warren December 16, 2013 at 11:08 am #

      It really is a special treat Julia, I couldn’t have it on regular basis but it just hits the spot when we make it once in a while : ) Ozlem x

  6. TasteofBeirut December 14, 2013 at 6:21 pm #

    Hello Ozlem,
    Delicious confection! I just wonder why here in Lebanon people don’t bake their halva halawa as it is called; yet it is one of the most popular foods, and is eaten a lot for breakfast as a spread on bread or kaak etc/ I prefer it the way you made it, by far.

    • Ozlem Warren December 16, 2013 at 11:08 am #

      Merhaba Joumana, it is widely enjoyed as cold and cut in slices in Turkey too; this is a bit of a treat – and quiet frankly rather difficult to stop eating:) You are right, this would make a delicious breakfast spread. Thank you for stopping by : )

  7. A Cat From London December 28, 2013 at 10:04 pm #

    We love tahin helva and keep always a pack of Koska tahin helva with pistachio in the fridge. It’s our favorite desert after eating fish, if we can be patient, baked, if not, as it is 🙂 .

    • Ozlem Warren December 29, 2013 at 11:34 am #

      Merhaba 🙂 thank you for stopping by – Koska helva is heavenly just itself, I agree with you! Cok Selamlar, Ozlem

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