On a very hot summer day (yes, it DID get really hot for a few days last summer…) I met Ozlem. We were a bunch of Turkish people sitting in Kaisaniemi park on a sort of spontaneous picnic. We talked a bit that day and that was it. A few months later, I would get to know her better and see what a lovely person she is to talk to!
Ozlem is calm, sweet, always smiling and kind. She’s been here for quite a long time and she is now living in the part of the city that I would love to live if not here – close to Vaasankatu (Bar Molotow, Made in Kallio, Döner Harju, yayyy!).
There is something about her that feels so restful. I feel like I can tell her anything and she will listen – she will then calmly and wisely but all the time positively give me advices..
As for this dessert.. This is one of the many kinds of “halva”, made throughout Turkey, Middle East, Asia, North Africa etc.. Semolina Halva is one of the grainy textured versions. There are also denser halvas, such as tahini halva. Semolina in this recipe makes it filling while butter gives richness to the taste. As pine nuts are roasted in the meantime, besides sweetness and buttery taste, the taste gets even richer and nuttier.
If you are not such a sweet tooth you might think of this dessert too sweet even if you use the minimum amount of sugar given in the measurements below, I warn you. But I suggest you try it nonetheless because even if it is really sweet, it has a rich mouthfeel – one not to miss.
(serves for 4)
1 cup / 2.4 dl semolina
1 cup / 2.4 dl water
50 gr. pine nut
1 cup / 2.4 dl milk
110 gr. butter (unsalted)
3/4 cup / 1.8 dl sugar (if you want it really sweet, you can put 1 cup / 2.4 dl sugar)
1 tbsp / 5 ml sugar
a pinch of vanilla
1. In a frying pan, put pine nuts and butter. Put on medium heat and start stirring. You will stir it all the time, do NOT forget that!
2. In another pan or casserole, put milk and sugar (you cannot see sugar in the photo, sorry!). Add water and heat on medium heat. You will heat and stir time to time until sugar is absorbed.
3. When butter melts in the first pan, add semolina and continue stirring.
4. Eventually, the colour of the mixture in the first pan will turn to brown.
5. Add a pinch of vanilla into milk-water.
6. Pour milk onto the semolina mixture gradually while continuously stirring.
7. Non-stop stirring! Eventually, semolina mixture will absorb all the water.
8. When it is not so wet anymore and looks quite brown, add final amount of sugar and stir a bit more.
9. Take it out of the heat. Fill small bowls or ramekins with halva and turn it upside down on plates. If you have some pine nuts left, you can use them for decoration. Enjoy!