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Halva And Pistachio Sweet ©

July 25, 2013







To celebrate my Birthday I made a delicious sweet which was given to me from a dear Lady on the island of Alonniso! It is very easy to make, light as a feather, cooling and perfect for a big party, as it cuts into 40-50 pieces.

The island of Alonniso, part the Sporades islands of Greece, is very beautiful, peaceful and  blessed with gentle and polite inhabitants. The island has many beautiful coves, many of which can only be reached by footpath and this delicious sweet was offered to us, along with an ice cold glass of water, after a long walk through the olive trees and pines, next to the turquoise waters of the Aegean.










Halva And Pistachio Sweet ©









15-20 Persons




Preparation Time : 1/2 an hour






The Semolina Halva

1 cups corn or sun flower oil. ( Not Olive Oil )

2 cups Semolina ( the thicker kind) Συμιδγαλη Χονδρό

2 cups sugar

4 cups of water

2 tbs finely chopped walnuts or unsalted pistachio

1 tsp ground Cinnamon


Instant Vanilla Pudding and Pie Filling : Kρέμα Στιγμής (AB or Giotis, if bought in Greece)

Two 62 g sachets of Instant Vanilla Filling (AB Kρέμα Στιγμής in Greece) or “home made custard.”

Cold milk according to instructions on back of packet, which makes  300 ml/1/2pint/13/4 cups.



4-5 tbs roughly chopped Walnuts or unsalted Pistachio

Ground Cinnamon




1. Oil your large square tin, roasting tin, 26 x 36 cm. Grind 2 tbs of nuts to be added to your semolina, in a pestle and mortar, until finely ground.

2. Measure out sugar and water and place in medium sized saucepan. Bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve sugar and simmer for 2 minutes. 

3. In the mean time, pour oil into larger saucepan, heat for three minutes over medium heat and pour in semolina and a teaspoon of ground Cinnamon. Stir continuously over a medium heat, making sure it doesn’t color at all, at the edges. You should see the semolina grains sizzling, if not increase the heat a little. Stir for 3-4 minutes, but unlike the usual way Halva is made, you do not want the semolina to color at all!

4. Important : Now take your two saucepans off the heat and leave 3 minutes to cool down a little. Once they are a little cooler, pour your sugar syrup carefully into the semolina..It may splutter! Add finely chopped nuts of your choice. Mix quickly with a wooden spoon as it thickens quickly and while still liquid pour into tin. Smooth out and flatten on top with a spatula.

5. In a medium sized bowl add your milk. Then add the 2 sachets of instant filling powder and using a whisk beat for 2-3 seconds. This also thickens quickly, so pour over semolina straight away, making a very thin layer on top. Smooth out with spatula. Cover with cling-film, (it doesn’t matter if it touches) and place in fridge for at least an hour to completely chill.

6. When it is completely cold, cut into small squares, or diamonds 2×2 cm, mouth sized pieces, or a little larger. Sprinkle with chopped nuts and cinnamon and arrange on serving dish. This can be done an hour before serving, though I did do it the day before and the pistachios did not become soft. Serve with extra cinnamon along side.

N.B. This recipe can be made the day before, the nuts do not soften. Always make sure your nuts are fresh, even when buying them wholesale. Rancid or stale soft nuts, could spoil your whole sweet, so try a few first!




****** Always take care when boiling sugar syrup and when adding to semolina with hot oil. Always leave 2-3 minutes off heat to cool slightly before mixing together.


Halva And Pistachio Sweet ©


Get all your ingredients ready before starting to cook. Grease tin 26 x 36 cm with oil.


Halva And Pistachio Sweet ©


For this recipe I chose unsalted pistachio nuts, but you can also use walnuts. Make sure the nuts are fresh first and have not gone rancid or soft.


Halva And Pistachio Sweet ©


Pistachio nuts give a wonderful color to any sweet and are light in texture.


Halva And Pistachio Sweet ©


Pound the pistachio nuts in a pestle and mortar or electric grinder…..


Halva And Pistachio Sweet ©


….until fine.


Halva And Pistachio Sweet ©


Place sugar in saucepan, add water, stir to dissolve sugar over medium heat and simmer for two minutes. Important: REMOVE FROM HEAT to cool slightly before adding to hot semolina or it will spit!


Halva And Pistachio Sweet ©


Place oil in wide based saucepan, to give more surface area to fry semolina. 


Halva And Pistachio Sweet ©


Pour in semolina.


Halva And Pistachio Sweet ©


Stir semolina in oil, you will see it sizzling and whitening where it touches the saucepan. It is important to stir continuously, as it must not color at all. Unlike the usual Halva,this halva is served white. Cook for 3-4 minutes. REMOVE FROM HEAT TO COOL DOWN FOR THREE MINUTES, BEFORE ADDING SYRUP.

Halva And Pistachio Sweet ©


Add syrup very carefully, when semolina and sugar syrup have been left to cool down a little, it shouldn’t spit, but always be prepared!


Halva And Pistachio Sweet ©


Your mixture will thicken quickly, so add nuts straight away.


Halva And Pistachio Sweet ©


Pour  in ground nuts and mix quickly and pour into tin before it starts to thicken, which it does quickly!


Halva And Pistachio Sweet ©


I used my oven baking tray, which was the perfect size.


Halva And Pistachio Sweet ©


Flatten out with spatula.


Halva And Pistachio Sweet ©


Place COLD milk in medium sized bowl, pour in “Instant Vanilla Filling.” Give it a couple of turns with a whisk and pour over semolina. This also thickens quickly, so you want to work quickly.

Halva And Pistachio Sweet ©





Halva And Pistachio Sweet ©


Spread out with spatula. Cover with cling film. It doesn’t matter if it touches the surface of the cream. Place in refrigerator to thoroughly chill. At least two hours.


Halva And Pistachio Sweet ©


Place the rest of your nuts in electric grinder and grind less finely than before, for topping.


Halva And Pistachio Sweet ©


You don’t want to over chop the nuts, so that the colors show!


Halva And Pistachio Sweet ©


When you are ready to arrange on serving dish, remove Halva from refrigerator, take off cling film and cut into squares or diamonds, about 2 x 2 cm, or larger. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon and nuts. Using a round ended knife remove pieces one by one and arrange on serving dish. KEEP COLD IN FRIDGE UNTIL READY TO SERVE.


Halva And Pistachio Sweet ©


Final result!


Halva And Pistachio Sweet ©


Very refreshing, light and not too sweet. Perfect for a summer sweet. 


Birthday ©


As always, thank you for following my Blog!






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