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Homemade Halva Cake for Shavuot


Chef Meir Alalof of Tel-Aviv’s renowned “Messa” restaurant offered an exotic halva cake recipe for Shavuot: “My family came to Israel from Egypt and Turkey, as did halva. It is a traditional Turkish confectionary, and it is also well known in Arab cuisine: in Arabic “halva” means “sweet” or “desserts” “.


1 kg all-purpose flour
120g sugar
50g fresh yeast
200g soft butter, cut onto cubes
4 eggs
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons brandy
350g milk

Vanilla cream:
200ml milk
200ml cream
150g sugar
2 vanilla beans, split
140g egg yolks – 7 egg yolks
50g cornstarch

For the filling:
200g halva
400g crème patisserie
1 tablespoon of instant coffee

Sugar water:
½ cup sugar
½ cup water

1. Combine all dough ingredients except butter, leave for seven minutes. Then gradually add butter. Let rise for two hours in a cool place, then place in the refrigerator for another hour.
2. Prepare sugar water: mix water and sugar, bring to a boil in a small pot, stir well. Allow to cool.
3. Place cream, milk and sugar in a small pot. Scrape the contents of the split vanilla beans with a knife and add to liquids. Bring to the boil. Meanwhile beat the egg yolks and cornstarch in a separate bowl. Then add a little of the hot liquid to the egg yolk mixture, stir, and repeat until all the cream mixture has been incorporated. Return to the stove on a low heat, beating constantly until the mixture thickens. Crumble the halva into the hot cream mixture and stir well. Finally add the instant coffee, and stir. Refrigerate for at least two hours.
4. Roll out the dough into a thin, elongated shape. Spread the filling over the dough and roll up. Cut the roll into pieces about 5 cm each and arrange the “roses” in a mold or heat resistant pan. Let rise for half an hour, spread with beaten egg and bake the cake in 180⁰C oven for approximately 35 minutes until golden brown. Pour the sugar water over the cake immediately.

Nir Goldberg