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Semolina helva (irmik helvasi) recipe

Semolina helva (irmik helvasi) and pin nuts with a spoon in a serving dish

A recipe that takes time (to cook the semolina on the heat) and attention (so you do not burn it!) and, in the end, a flavour with a hint of toasted grain and caramel.


Pomme Larmoyer


100 g (3½ oz) butter
200 g (generous 1 cup/7 oz) fine or medium semolina
40 g (¼ cup/1½ oz) pine nuts
190 g (scant 1 cup/6¾ oz) caster (superfine) sugar
400 ml (14 fl oz) milk
ground cinnamon for dusting

Cook's notes
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Melt the butter in a medium, heavy-based saucepan, add the semolina and pine nuts, and stir over very low heat for 45 minutes (yes, that long). The semolina will take on a caramel colour; make sure that it does not burn. Dissolve the sugar in the cold milk, and add to the semolina, still stirring. Once the first blisters appear on the surface, run a fork quickly through the semolina several times, to separate the grains – as if you wanted to stripe it – still over low heat. Remove from the heat (the semolina will be compact), divide the mixture between ramekins or small bowls, and wait for it to cool completely. Unmould and dust with cinnamon before serving.

From SBS

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