Ahh the wonderful Tahin Helva – one of the special delicacies in life that we believe isn’t celebrated enough outside of Turkey and the Middle East. As a gluten-free and vegan-friendly treat, this is a must-have dessert to get your hands on this summer. Whether enjoyed after a nice meal, with coffee or a lovely glass of wine, it promises to elevate your taste buds…Now, let us enlighten you on the wonders of Tahin Helva, as our knowledgeable students from Croydon College’s Pathway Centre have graciously helped us to fill you in below.
So, What Exactly Is Tahin Helva?
The core 3 ingredients of Tahin Helva are toasted and ground sesame, sugar and soapwort extract. The star of the show, however, is Tahini paste, which is ground sesame seeds turned into a creamy, nutty paste – available in a hulled (creamier) or un-hulled version (thicker consistency).
Tahin is rich in healthy fats, magnesium, calcium and B vitamins, making it a wonderful ingredient to include in any sweet treat, but of course, our favourite way to use it is to create our delicious Tahin Helva. This delicacy is mainly accompanied by bread, tea, coffee and wine (all the best things) or as they do in Turkey it is enjoyed baked as a dessert after a nice meal.
We recommend pairing it with traditional Turkish Coffee and is the perfect companion to drink alongside our Helva, creating that melt-in-your-mouth feeling we all love.
What Is The History of Tahin Helva?
The term ‘HALVA’ comes from the Arabic word that means ‘sweet confections’. Certain scholars propose that the origin of Halvah can be traced to a period preceding the 12th century, near Istanbul. Conversely, others contend that its roots can be traced back as far as 3000 B.C.E.
Over time, helva generally spread across various regions with each new location, the name and ingredients underwent slight modifications. In Egypt, they called it “Halawa” and included almonds, pistachios, or pine nuts, while in India they adapted it as “halva” and enhanced it with local ingredients like dates, ghee and coconuts. However, by the 19th century, numerous kinds of sweets used the term ‘Helva’ and that is what it is known as today.
It is a wonderful dessert to modify, and we have embraced this by creating our Turkish Coffee Helva – combining our expertly roasted Turkish coffee with the classic sesame, it imparts a well-balanced coffee flavour against the nutty sweet taste and is an absolute favourite of ours.
Now, Have You Heard of Pistachio Tahin Helva?
Taking it a step further from the classic plain Tahin Helva, we have our beautifully handcrafted Pistachio Tahin Helva. This unique Tahin Helva is a solid block of airy goodness, wrapped in a mouth-watery sesame and pistachio dessert that will surprise you with a sweet crunchiness, followed by an instant melt in your mouth.
If you prefer a crunchier sweet treat then this one is for you – the gorgeous green of the pistachio nuts makes this a very visually appealing treat as well – a win-win! At Ozerlat we love our Tahin Helva and are very passionate about sharing our Turkish traditions with our lovely community here in the UK. We hope this has inspired you to try some Tahin Helva next time you’re craving something sweet and as the students from Croydon’s College’s Pathway Centre say “Have a party! Have a Tahin Helva”.