Greeks love tahini halva. And when Lent comes around, it truly becomes a staple sweet in our homes. Traditionally, it is made with sugar, because it is technically a candy. It is made all over the Middle East and Balkans.
In Greece we call it “halva tou bakali” or the halva from the grocer. The local bakali (or grocer) would carry traditionally carry this confection. Today, this is still where you find it. At the local grocers and markets.
The traditional way to make this is with a slightly caramelized sugar syrup that you stream into the tahini in three parts, stirring and folding until you see the texture start to create fibers from the sugar. Then you spoon it into a parchment lined pan, press it to make it compact, and allow it to set and cool. It is relatively easy to make and you can make it in a variety of flavors. My favorite has always been pistachio! If made with sugar, you really only need two or three basic ingredients.
There is a way to make it keto and sugar free and keep that dry halva texture that it has. You would need to use erithrytol or stevia for that. And still it may not have the exact reaction that sugar has with the tahini. However, I am allergic to stevia, and erithrytol is not great for gut health. I have a recent history with candida, so I had to make a different type of halva using a sweetener that I can tolerate.
In my experiment, I decided on trying this with yacon syrup. Yacon syrup is a prebiotic making it great for the gut. It does not spike your insulin at all. And it gave my halva fudge a lovely rich flavor. In the end, it tastes exactly the way I want my tahini halva to taste, but the texture is softer.
You will also keep it in the freezer.
2 cups tahini
1 cup yacon syrup
1 cup pistachios
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup almond flour
3 tsp psyllium
1 tsp xanthan gum
Line a loaf pan with parchment & lay a layer of pistachios on that. Reserve half of the pistachios to mix into the halva fudge.
In a medium bowl, stir your tahini in order to fully incorporate the natural oil separation that may have occurred in the container.
In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients. Leave the pistachios on the side.
In a medium sauce pan, heat the yacon syrup to the boiling point and simmer for 10 minutes. Slowly pour it into the tahini stirring it well. Sprinkle in the mixture of dry ingredients a spoonful at a time, mixing it well each time.
Lastly fold in the remaining pistachios.
Pour it into the loaf pan & press down the mixture. Fold the overlapping parchment over it. Let it cool down & place it in the freezer to set.
After a few hours, you can remove it & cut it into pieces. Keep it stored in the freezer & take out what you need.
It’s basically now become a halva fudge energy bar! Full of protein & good fats. A piece is very satisfying!