Sesame halva

Halva (aka “halwa”, “helva”, “halvah”) is possibly one of the first desserts ever created. You will find it celebrated in innumerable forms, each dependent on its country of origin, and there are many countries willing to claim this sweet treat as their own.

My two-toned raw halva recipe [below] is inspired by this Turkish sesame halva recipe (and this one!), and a recent raw post on Hot Pink Chilli. I developed my version during our recent 4 weeks of 100% raw.

The ingredients I use are raw and organic, comprising hulled tahini as the main ingredient in the vanilla/almond layer for reasons of aesthetics and taste. Unhulled tahini is slightly bitter and more nutrient-rich, and I prefer to use it in the cacao/choc chip layer.

Tahini boasts a number of health benefits, containing nutrients including calcium, manganese, copper, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamins B1 & E, zinc, protein and fibre, as well as sesamin and sesamolin.

Recipe #135: Raw two-toned sesame halva. Makes 25+ servings, depending on how small you cut your pieces. My Thermomix (TM) method is shown here, however you could equally use a food processor or decent blender. To mould: a square 20cm silicon cake tin, or a mini muffin tray.

You will need:

– for the vanilla/almond layer –
► 200g tahini
► 50g Brazil nut butter [you can make your own by processing Brazil nuts into a paste]
► 65g honey [you can substitute agave or maple syrup for a truly vegan recipe]
► seeds from 1 vanilla pod [or 1 tsp ground vanilla pods/vanilla essence]
► a decent pinch of salt
► 1/3 cup of activated almonds, roughly chopped
► black sesame seeds, for sprinkling over the top

– for the cacao/choc chip layer –
► 200g tahini
► 50g Brazil nut butter
► 65g honey
► 30g cacao powder
► a decent pinch of salt
► 30g cacao nibs

Start with the vanilla/almond layer. Combine all ingredients in the TM — except for the almonds and sesame seeds — and process on speed 8 for 10 seconds. Use a spatula to ease the mixture from the TM and into a mixing bowl. Fold the almonds evenly through the mixture and set aside.

For the cacao/choc chip layer, place all ingredients except for the cacao nibs into the TM and process on speed 8 for 10 seconds. Add the cacao nibs and process on reverse, speed 3, for 5-10 seconds. Using a spatula, ease this mixture into the cake mould and press down with the palm of your hand until you have a fairly flat layer.

Place the cacao/choc chip layer into the freezer for ~30 minutes, then remove the halva from the freezer and squish the vanilla/almond layer over the top (while still in the mould). Sprinkle with the black sesame seeds and press in lightly with your palm.

Freeze for at least 2 hours before de-moulding, cutting and serving; store in the freezer.

When I first made this recipe, I wasn’t sure about it. I decided that it tasted ‘passable’ and that I would share it here once I had the time to tweak it. The tahini flavour was too strong and it didn’t seem sweet enough for me. But, inexplicably, I needed to test another piece. Then another. And another. Before I knew it, I was making another batch following exactly the same recipe. I was hooked.

So there you have it: my not-so-guilty pleasure. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I have.

H 🙂



  1. I made this and it went really soft soon after taking it out of the freezer, like it melted or hadn’t set. Is this normal? I know you said to keep it in the freezer, but within half hour of serving it, it was super soft.


    • Thanks for your comment, Renae – and sorry for my late reply!

      When I make this, I use a big jar of tahini and I don’t stir the oil in before I take out what I need. I also store my halva in the freezer until right before it’s ready to be eaten.

      I hope this helps – and thank you for reporting back,

      H 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s