Monday, July 7, 2008

You'll Scream - Halvah Ice Cream with Poached Apricots

Halvah Ice Cream

Frighteningly addictive.
If you love halvah, you will understand.

Halvah Ice Cream with Poached ApricotsAdapted from Enjoy- New Veg by Nadine Abensur, highly recommended by Lucy

Halvah Ice Cream


1 pound vanilla halvah (found in Middle Eastern stores or in the Kosher or deli section of your supermarket)
4 ounces full-fat Greek strained yogurt
2 teaspoons orange flower water
1 tablespoon super-fine (caster) sugar
1 ½ cups heavy cream


In a large bowl, using a potato masher, break up the halvah and combine it with the yogurt. Add the orange flower water and sugar, beating it very well with a whisk or wooden spoon until the mixture is free of any lumps. It will look a mess initially, but slowly come together. Set aside.

In a separate, medium bowl, whisk the heavy cream until it becomes thick and billowy but not peaked. Beat the cream into the halvah mixture. Again, it will initially not appear to mix well, but consistent beating will create a smooth and luxurious texture. Pour the mixture into a container, cover securely, and place in the freezer at least six hours before scooping. (I used mini silicone muffin molds to shape each individual serving, covering the molds with foil before freezing. Bending the "tin" back and pushing on the bottom of each mold popped the servings out fairly easily.)

Dried Apricots

Poached Apricots


1 cup soft-dried apricots, sliced into slivers
½ cup water
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons orange flower water or vanilla extract
6 green cardamom pods

A handful of pistachio nuts for additional garnish (optional)


In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer ten minutes. Remove cardamom pods. Allow to fully cool before garnishing the frozen halvah. Scatter a few pistachio nuts on each serving if desired. Serves at least 8. --

Halvah Ice Cream

This post is being submitted to Mike of Mike's Table, hosting You Scream, I Scream, We All Scream for Frozen Desserts.


noobcook said...

This dish looks amazing! The food presentation is so gorgeous that I almost tried to eat the photo, haha ... I have never heard of halvah until I read your post, good to learn something new everyday, hee ;)

sra said...

That is completely exotic tho' I am familiar with the individual ingredients - I've had a sesame halvah, what does a vanilla halvah look like?

Dhanggit said...

this is exactly what i need against the blazing heat of the summer :-) i love the apricot photo..real gem for eyes and tummy!!

Asha said...

Most popular Halwa in Indian is Gajar (Carrot) Halwa, I bet Vanilla halwa Ice Cream tastes great!:)
To top with poached Apricot and Pistachios is Heaven!
I will be on blog break from Friday until September. My last post coming tomorrow, need a long break!:D

Ricki said...

What a brilliant idea! Can't wait to see if I can reproduce this (or something close enough, w/ all my food restrictions!). :)

Fearless Kitchen said...

This looks wonderful. I love halvah and making ice cream out of it sounds like my idea of heaven.

Katie said...

That looks wonderful! I am a big fan of apricots.

glamah16 said...

So exotic and stunning in presentation!

Simona said...

I must try and find some halvah, now: I want to know what it tastes like. A beautiful composition.

Lisa said...

Pure bliss. I plan on making my own halvah soon. I can only imagine how addictive it is with the homemade stuff.

krystyna said...

Wow, yummy and very beautiful!
Thank you for sharing!
Best to you!

Jeena said...

You are so right! I LOVE this recipe! The halva, the apricots and the pistachio garnish is just FABULOUS! This is so up my street, and I even love the dish you serve it on. :-D

Holler said...

I was looking at Halvah in the supermarket tonight and I had no idea why or what do do with it! Now I do :) Thank you!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Halvah is one of the great taste memories from my childhood. I can only imagine how wonderful it is in ice cream!

Sylvia said...

What a coincidence , yesterday I saw
halvah , and I though: "Buy or not buy?? I didn't, tomorrow ....will be another day :).
I love , love the recipe. For tomorrow holyday, Argentine independence day,I know what dessert I provably made

Suganya said...

I googled about orange water, and it sounds peculiar. I love anything citrusy. I would like to know where to find one. But, please respond only if you have the time.

Jeanne said...

Oh how wonderful this looks! Anything with apricots and pistachios gets my vote... And I love your serving dish too!

Astra Libris said...

Your sentence "If you love halvah, you will understand" absolutely made my day, because I understand!!! :-) Halvah ice cream sounds like the best thing ever - the merging of my two favorite desserts! Wow!

Kelly-Jane said...

Beautiful presentation Susan, sounds delicious too!

Lori Lynn said...

I used to eat halvah all the time as a kid. Don't know why I stopped. Thanks for the reminder. Yours looks absolutely incredible. Great pairing of flavors!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

I love Halva, so your ice cream makes me drool! Really delicious!



Lucy said...

Stunning. Rich, yes, but absolutely stunning.

Cardamom and apricot is a match made in summery heaven.

Oh, those golden, lit-from-behind apricots...a like the awe of stained glass windows.

That Nadine...she's my hero.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

I've never met halvah before, but I'm in love already.

bee said...

this has gotta taste fantastic. i love halva - a little too much for my own good.

maybelles parents said...

What a wonderful recipe. thanks for posting.

We Are Never Full said...

beautiful. i'm wondering why you used dried apricots instead of fresh? do they stand up to the poaching much better? or could you not find fresh ones? just curious if you could swap.

Jude said...

I love halvah and I definitely understand :) Very nice flavor combinations for sure.

Susan said...

Wiffy – Thanks! If you love sesame seeds, think of them as very finely crushed, almost to a powder, the natural oils intact. Then add a cooked sugar syrup or honey and let it cool in blocks. The texture and flavor are amazing.
Sra – Vanilla is sesame halvah with vanilla flavoring added. You can also get it chocolate flavored or a swirl of both vanilla and chocholate. So different from Indian halwa, isn’t it?
Dhanggit – Thanks. I’m sure the Mediterranean appreciates desserts on the other side of the sea. So much of southern Europe is influenced by northern Africa. Glad you like the apricots; they took backlighting very well.
Asha – I *love* Indian carrot halwa, so different from the sesame kind. Enjoy your break. You know where we are when you come back.
Thanks, Ricki – If fats are not on your OK list, this isn’t going to work for you, but poached apricots with a sprinkling of orange flower water and, perhaps, honey would make a lovely summer dessert in its own right.
Hi, Fearless Kitchen! Thanks. One of the easier ice creams ever. No need for special churning machines.
Thanks, Katie. As much as I love peaches, apricots have their own place in the exalted world of golden summer fruit.
Coco – TA!
Thank you, sweet Simona.
Lisa – Thanks. Bliss, indeed. I was about to resort to making my own (I had the tahini and other ingredients on hand, but humid summer temps are a terrible time to play with cooked sugar). I wound up finding it in a supermarket that caters to a large Hasidic community in the area.
Krystyna – Thank you so much! Good to see you.
Jeena – Thanks! So you know what I’m talking about. : ) The dish is from Tunisia, something I picked up in my travels last year in New England. I really adore its design.
Hi, Holler! You can also just break it apart and eat it plain, it is *that* exotically yummy.
Lydia – Homemade halvah was always available in huge cones that the Middle Eastern shopkeepers would cut from and weigh for you. Then there were the Joyva bars at the Jewish delis….
Good to see you, Sylvia! I hope you enjoy it.
Suganya – I just emailed you with particulars. Orange flower water is far more floral than it is citrusy. A bit of an acquired taste, but there’s a chance that if you enjoy rosewater and kewra, you will like this, too.
Jeanne – Thanks! Apricots and pistachios do go so well together. I regret not picking up more of the Tunisian ceramics when I happened upon them.
Hey, Astra! Kindred halvah spirits, you and I. Thanks!
Kelly-Jane – Thanks. Good to see you. Hope you are well.
Lori-Lynn – The only reason to stop eating halvah is the mega caloric content. Even so, who could resist a little crumbling cube of it? Glad you like this recipe. Thanks!
Hi, Rosa. Thank you so much. “Drool” is the ideal compliment.:)
Lucy – Thanks. Stained glass is exactly what I was thinking when I was reviewing the shots. Late in the day the sun settled exactly behind them. Good timing.
Susan – Halvah is easy to love.
Bee – It’s *too* good. And it scoops like a dream if you choose not to use molds.
Thanks, Maybelles Parents. : )
We Are Never Full – Thanks. Fresh apricots are many times mealy, watery, sour and flavorless. They can be poached, but only very lightly. It was a personal choice to use the semi-soft dried ones. They are usually imported from the Middle East and have excellent quality.
Thanks, Jude! Glad you understand. ; )