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User Rating 4 Star Rating (1 Review)


(c) 2009 Elizabeth LaBau, licensed to About.com, Inc.
“Halvah” can refer to a number of different sweets, but this particular version is based on tahini, or sesame seed paste. It also includes lots of pistachios, for crunch and flavor, and a hint of vanilla.


  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1.75 cups tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 cup shelled pistachios, toasted


1. Prepare a loaf pan (8x4 or 9x5) by lining it with cling wrap and spraying the cling wrap with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Place the sugar and the water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, and stir until the sugar dissolves. Bring the mixture to a boil and insert a candy thermometer. Continue to cook the sugar syrup until it reaches 250 degrees on the thermometer. After it reaches 250, remove it from the heat.

3. While the sugar syrup is cooking, pour the tahini into a large bowl and whisk it until it is a smooth, homogenous texture without any clumps. Stir in the vanilla extract.

4. Place the egg whites in a clean, dry bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or use a handheld blender with a whisk attachment.) Beat the egg whites until they hold stiff peaks but are not crumbly.

5. Gently fold the egg whites into the sesame paste. Once they are incorporated, slowly and gradually stream in the sugar, mixing well.

6. Stir in the nuts until combined, then scrape the halvah into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top.

7. Cover the pan tightly with cling wrap, and allow the candy to set at least overnight. If you have the time, it is better to let it ripen for 2-3 days in the refrigerator before eating. Once set, remove it from the pan and slice it into thin slices to serve. Halvah will keep for several weeks (or longer) well-wrapped in the refrigerator.

User Reviews

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 4 out of 5
Homemade is the best!, Member yomandan

Love halvah, specially homemade. Manufactured halvah sold in stores can be stale or have strange ingredients that make it taste weird. This recipe is the quintessential recipe for basic halvah. Be sure the tahini is super fresh (taste it, first). The only thing I would (and did) change is to NOT use cling wrap. Cling wrap has some kind of coating which transfers a chemical taste to everything. I avoid using it when it will touch the food. For the halvah, try using a buttered wax or pastry paper, instead. You can actually even use a good glass (i.e. Pyrex) loaf dish, lightly coated with FRESH sesame oil or unflavored cooking spray. The objective is for the halvah to bring out the FRESH nutty taste of the sesame and not funky chemicals. BTW, although I see it everywhere, I really don't understand chocolate, or 'marble' halvah. Neither the chocolate or the sesame flavors are enhanced, IMHO.

99 out of 104 people found this helpful.

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