Greek halva is a semolina based vegan dessert; We have flavoured ours with apples and raspberry
This is an example of what happens when you take basic principles, and then let your imagination run free. The basic principle here is halva-making. Semolina based halva (not to be confused with the tahini based dessert which goes by the same name) is really versatile, and once you understand the basic premise of how to put one together, it becomes very easy to make it your own. We have already shared with you our parents’ basic halva recipe, flavoured with orange and studded with raisins. It’s delicious and it’s a very popular dessert during periods of lent (halva is both dairy and egg free). We’ve also shared with you a vegan chocolate halva, which is a bit more decadent, because, chocolate. But the halva story does not end there.
Thinking of our olive oil marble cake, and its delightful swirls of chocolate and vanilla, we wondered if we couldn’t come up with a two-colored halva. So, we did. Although layered and not marbled, this apple and raspberry halva is both pretty and delicious. The fruit flavours add a freshness and lightness which, we think, make this halva kind of special.
We don’t want to scare you away from making this recipe, but you will need to exercise some caution. This recipe, as our other halva recipes, requires that you combine a sugar syrup to a semolina and olive oil mixture. If not done carefully, this may cause some splattering. For this reason it is very important to cook the semolina in a large, deep pot, and to add the somewhat cooled liquid syrup slowly, and with the semolina off the heat.
You will need one entire apple for this recipe; entire because you will actually use every single part of it. As you will read in the recipe, the peel and core will be used to flavour the syrup while the grated flesh will be added to the semolina. We like to use Granny Smith apples for this halva, but any apple will do.
We have used raspberry jam to flavour this halva, because we love the combination of apple and raspberry. However, you can use your own imagination (or whatever jam you may have in your pantry), and play around with the flavours. We think that blueberry or strawberry would be equally lovely paired with the apple.
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If you’re looking for more vegan desserts try these:
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Apple and raspberry halva
For the syrup
- 4 cups (1,000 mL) apple juice
- 2 cups (500 mL) water
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 cups (400 grams) sugar
- 1 apple core
- 1 apple peel
For semolina mixture
- 2 cups semolina thick (or #2)
- 1 cup (250 mL) Greek olive oil
- 1 apple, grated
- 1/3 cup raspberry jam
- In a medium saucepan combine the ingredients for the syrup. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and then simmer, covered, for approximately 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. After the syrup has cooled, remove the apple core, apple peel and cinnamon sticks.
- In a large pot heat the olive oil and the semolina over medium heat. Stir well and cook, stirring constantly until the semolina starts to brown slightly and smells toasty. Add the grated apple to the pot and cook for an additional minute. Move pot off of the burner for the next step.
- Very carefully, add the syrup to the pot with the semolina and oil. It will likely splatter a little bit, so be very careful and be sure that there are no children or pets near the oven. Once all of the syrup has been added, return the pot to the heat. Reduce heat to low-medium.
- Stir constantly. The mixture will thicken and begin to pull away from the sides of the pot as you stir. Watch video here. When it has reached this consistency, remove from the heat and transfer approximately 1/3 of the semolina mixture to the pot which used to contain the syrup. Add in the raspberry jam and stir well until it is totally combined. Your semolina will turn a lovely pink colour.
- Ladle the semolina into a slightly greased mold like a bundt pan or a jell-o mold. First, ladle in 1/2 of the plain apple semolina, then the raspberry semolina, and then top with the rest of the plain apple semolina.
- Let the halva cool and then refrigerate it for at least one hour. Remove from the mould and cut into serving pieces.