Ramadan is approaching, and while brainstorming content for this article and our accompanying Instagram Reels, managing editor Farah Celjo suggested this halva.
It’s a Bosnian family recipe that she had to decode from her mother, Fatima, from instructions like “a little bit of this” and “just enough until it looks like that” - and we tested it twice for good measure. It’s very simple to make and fills the house with the wonderful smell of butter and toasted flour.
For Farah, it brings back memories of being woken up before dawn for Sahūr. The plate would often live on the counter and would sometimes kick-off or complete Iftar (the break of a fast). It has a comforting soft texture, rich nuttiness and gentle sweetness that goes well with a cup of tea.
You can stir in some chopped nuts or dried fruit before shaping if you like.
Mama Celjo's Bosnian flour halva
Take 1 tsp of neutral oil, and 30 g butter, heat in a pan over medium heat until the butter has melted. Add 1 cup flour and stir constantly until the butter is evenly coating the flour and it browns to a tan colour.
Meanwhile, prepare 1 cup of boiling water with ¼ cup sugar dissolved into it. Once the flour is browned evenly, turn the heat to low and add your sugar-water mix.
Stir together to form a thick playdough-like dough and mix in your optional nuts/dried fruit. Turn off the heat and cool slightly.
Shape the halva into ovals by pressing the mixture into a tablespoon. Arrange on a plate and serve with a sprinkling of sugar or a handful of walnut meal.
Note: Make sure they completely cool, so that when you serve them the sugar or meal doesn't melt/combine with the halva. You want that separation between the softness of the halva and textural crunch of the sugar/nuts.
The combination of walnuts, pistachios and dates creates a moist fruity filling with a satiating crunch. It's warm, homely, and very addictive!