[Sca-cooks] Halvah marzipan or nougat?

Lilinah lilinah at earthlink.net
Tue Oct 23 01:39:39 PDT 2007

On Oct 21, 2007, at 1:23 PM, Suey wrote:
>  > I have a conflict here. My Spanish sources say halvah is a
>  > Hispano-Jewish type of nougat consisting of an almond-sugar paste with
>  > **flavored with other ingredients such as rosewater, honey, julep,
>  > clove, camphor or sesame. There are several variations using cashews,
>  > pistachios and other nuts. David M. Gitlitz & Linda Kay Davidson in  A
>  > Drizzle of Honey, The Lives and Recipes of Spain's Secret Jews clearly
>  > indicate that they think it marzipan not nougat. What was halvah
>  > before
>  > the 15th Century marzipan or turron? What distinguishes the difference
>  > between the two - baking? Yes, I know the Spanish versions clearly
>  > have
>  > a different taste but Gitlitz gives a Mexican recipe which sounds like
>  > turron to me. Why am I getting bottled up on this?

Adamantius wrote:
>Halvah, hulwa, etc., are presumably Persian or Arabic in origin, and
>generally have in common a cooked sugar-syrup base (or sometimes a
>fruit syrup, such as date or pomegranite). They may or may not
>contain beaten egg white, which is probably where the confusion with
>nougat or torrone come in, and chopped nuts or other starchy staple,
>such as sesame seed, simple flour or semolina. Some contain milk or
>eggs. Today it's found all over the Islamic world, which is
>presumably how Spain got it.
>There are quite a few Islamic hulwah recipes in sources such as Kitab
>al Tabikh, which I seem to recall is somewhat older than the 15th
>century -- the recipes are sort of formulaic and modular, as I
>recall, with instructions on how to make sugar syrup, then a basic
>candy from that, with egg whites, then going on to add things like nuts.

The problem is that halwa just means "sweet (dish)". The term does 
not indicate a specific dish.

I've had halwa made of semolina cooked with water and honey. It was 
like a very sweet thick porridge while hot, and set up into something 
fairly stiff (like polenta) when cooled and could be cut into pieces.

There's no set ingredient for halwa except sugar or honey, so there 
are almost infinite possibilities for combinations.
Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)
the persona formerly known as Anahita

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