Have you ever had halva made from semolina? This is the recipe that my mother would make when I was a child. Halvas Simigdalenios – or Semolina Halva. It is studded with nuts like pistachio, pine nuts or almonds, and dried fruit like raisins. Spiced with cinnamon & flavored with orange or lemon zest.
It’s a simple old world Greek dessert that is customary during the days of the Great Lent and the Holy Week leading up to Easter. It uses no eggs, butter or milk. But rather, the semolina is cooked in olive oil & a simple syrup.
I actually halved my recipe because I wanted to make 6 small bundt cakes out of this instead of one large bundt cake. If I had made the full amount I would end up with 12 small bundt cakes. There are only two of us in my home, so a smaller amount was much more suitable! If you want to make a full size bundt pan, then simply double the below recipe.
2 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar (or any non sugar sweetener)
1 cup semolina powder
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup of roasted nuts (I mixed pistachio & pine nuts)
1/4 cup raisins
Orange zest or lemon zest
1 tbsp Cinnamon powder
(Extra cinnamon for dusting)
This makes 6 small bundt cakes.
Start by making a simple syrup. Bring the water, sugar, lemon peel, cinnamon stick & cloves to a boil & allow to simmer for a few minutes. You will have a loose syrup.
In a medium sized pot, heat your olive oil on medium heat. Add the semolina & stir continuously. You are basically cooking the semolina and enhancing its flavor. The oil will absorb into the semolina. Add in the powdered cinnamon. Stir continuously.
Slowly pour in the simple syrup & continue to stir. The semolina will absorb all of the liquid & become pudding like. As you stir you will see it pulling away from the sides of the pot.
Pour in the nuts, raisin and orange zest. Continue to stir until incorporated.
Pour into your molds. Smooth it out with the base of a spoon. This made 6 mini semolina bundt cakes. Let it set till completely cool before you remove it from its mold.
Garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon.