Traditionally speaking, halvah has a very important place among desserts in our culture. There are many varieties of halvah, made with semolina, plain flour or starch. Although each of these varieties are very tasty and delicious treats they all have disadvantages in terms of healthy diets. Halvah is truly not a good choice at all for those who have to watch their weight or for people who have special dietary restrictions due to medical conditions such as diabetics or celiac disease. So I decided to try making a totally different variety using unconventional ingredients. 

“Leblebi,” made from roasted chickpeas, is a highly popular snack in Turkey. They are low in calories and in fat content compared to many other nuts. A small amount will keep you full for quite a while so they are good to have as a snack in between meals. Roasted chickpeas are also available in the form of flour, which enables its incorporation into some baked goods. So with that in mind as a starting point, I figured why not try making some halvah with roasted chickpea flour. And while I was at it, I thought why not use some alternative to caster sugar as a natural sweetener in this dessert. Speaking of natural sweeteners, I use date nectar in most of my sugarfree desserts because it is readily available and relatively low in cost. But you may just as well replace it with any other natural sweetener of your choice, like pure maple syrup, agave nectar or stevia (if you are accustomed to the taste).   And then of course I also had to omit the butter! But to my sweet surprise hazelnut oil worked just fine as a replacement for butter. All in all here’s what I came up with. And if you already know the basics of making halvah you’ll whip this one up in a flash! 

This dessert is dedicated to and named in memory of Grandma Ayla. May she rest in peace.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup roasted chickpea flour
  • ¼ cup hazelnut oil
  • ¼ cup date nectar (or other natural sweetener)
  • 1 tbsp pine nuts
  • 1 cup milk*, at room temperature
  • Cinnamon and confectioner’s sugar to serve (optional)

You can use soy or almond milk or other non-dairy alternative to make this dessert suitable for vegans.

Step by step method

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  1. Place a casserole over medium heat and add hazelnut oil. Wait a couple of minutes for the oil to heat and then add the roasted chickpea flour and the pine nuts. Cook for three to five minutes, making sure you constantly stir mixture preferably with a wooden spoon.
  2. Pour milk and date nectar (or other sweetener) in a bowl or jar and combine. Pour over the mixture in the casserole. Continue to stir mixture until all milk is absorbed and the halvah starts pulling off the sides of the casserole.

  3. Take off heat and leave to cool a little. Shape with your hands or by pushing dollops of the mixture into silicone molds of your preference. If you want you can use cinnamon, a little bit of confectioner’s sugar, ground pistachios etc to decorate and add flavor.
  4. Keep leftovers in an airtight container, in the refrigerator.

Bon Appétit!