Persian Halva is a sweet dense paste made of flour and butter, mixed with a syrup of sugar, saffron, rosewater, and cardamom that gives it a pleasant taste and smell.
Halva is originally an Arabic dessert literally meaning “sweet”, but it has found its way to many Asian and North African countries, and in every region, it is prepared and served differently. In Iran it is usually served at funerals or during Ramadan(fasting) month, garnished with slivered almonds and pistachios.
How to cook the perfect Persian Halva
- 2 cups whole wheat flour, sifted
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup rosewater
- 1/4 teaspoon powdered saffron dissolved in 2 tablespoons of hot water
- Chopped almonds
- Chopped pistachios
- Rose petals
- Combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle boil, Add the saffron and the rosewater. Set aside to cool.
- Place a heavy-bottom pan over medium-low heat and lightly toast the wheat flour for 8-10 minutes, until you smell the aroma. Stirring frequently. Remember that flour doesn’t have to change colour.
- sieve the flour to smooth out any lumps before adding the oil,
- Add the oil and stir continuously for about 15 minutes over low heat.
- While stirring slowly pour the sugar syrup into the saucepan, until the syrup is fully absorbed.
- Cover and cook over low heat for another 10 minutes so it starts to form like a very soft even dough, Remove from the heat.
- Garnish as you desire with almonds, pistachios and rose petals and serve with tea.