This recipe takes me back to my childhood. Memories of my beloved grandmother, who was born and raised in Constantinople, making this dessert with so much love and quite often for us. Her original semolina halva was rich in taste, consisting of milk, butter, sultanas and roasted pine nuts but she also made a vegan alternative (usually during the 40 days’ fast before Easter) that was equally yummy!
This vegan semolina halva recipe was created by chance while I was cooking for our Sunday lunch with friends. The filo pastry sheets were thawing out for my original plan to make a baklava and the ingredients for my grandmother’s vegan semolina halva that our friends love were resting on the table -and then I realised that I didn’t have any sultanas to include into the halva mixture! What I did have in my pantry was dried cranberries & coverture chocolate melt drops which I decided to use instead.
The thin and crunchy filo pastry sheets were ideal to be included in this recipe, as they are easy to work with and do not tear when you fold the filo pasty. After taking the halva rolls out of the oven, the idea of melting of the coverture chocolate came about. Dipping the edges of the halva rolls, with coverture chocolate made this dessert just perfect!
This is how these fantastic crunchy small semolina halva rolls with melted coverture chocolates sauce came about. This, dessert is also ideal for those who fast during the lent period and it is so delicious that I once you try it I bet you will bookmark the recipe!
Ingredients for 30 -40 pieces
For the semolina halva rolls
1 packet Chrysi Zymi filo pastry sheet thawed
120 ml sunflower oil
250 gr thick semolina
350 gr sugar
600 ml water
1 Lemon Rind
1 Orange Rind
2 Cinnamon Sticks
80 gr cranberries
80 gr of dark coverture chocolate drops
For the coverture chocolate sauce
100 ml water
100 gr sugar
2 sprinkles of vanilla
40 gr cocoa powder
100gr coverture chocolate
30 ml rum or whiskey
Defrost the filo pastry in package for about 2 hours.
In the meantime, prepare the semolina halva. In a pot add the water, sugar, the lemon and orange rinds with cinnamon. Heat until boiled, remove from stove, allow to cool for 15 minutes. By allowing the syrup to cool, it absorbs all the flavours and aromas before you strain it.
In a pot add the sunflower oil and, once heated, add the Semolina and stir constantly on medium temperature for about 10 minutes. Once the semolina mixture starts to brown, remove from the stove. Then, pour in the syrup mixture very carefully, constantly stirring at the same time. Keep stirring until the syrup is absorbed into the semolina mixture until a thick consistency is created and pour mixture into a bowl. When it starts cooling pour in the coverture melt drops and dried cranberries and stir mixture gently.
Unfold the filo pastry sheets and place them on a flat surface, covering them with a clean, damp kitchen towel to keep them moist. Take 2 sheets one on top of the other and cut them across in about 10 cm stripes.
Put about 1 tablespoon of the halva filling on one side of the filo stripes and roll them, coating slightly the edges and the surface with olive oil.
Bake the semolina halva rolls in preheated oven at 180º C until golden.
For the coverture chocolate sauce
On medium heat, place water, vanilla & sugar in pot and bring to boil to make a syrup. Once boiled, pour in the cocoa powder and remove from heat constantly stirring. In the bowl where you placed the chocolate coverture cut in pieces, add the cocoa syrup while hot and stir until the chocolate melts. Add the rum or whiskey and stir until the ingredients and the aromas are well combined.
Photo: Harry Lapsatis
*This recipe was created in collaboration with “Χρυσή Ζύμη” (Chrysi Zymi)