Last week, a group of Brisbane foodies came together for a bit of an ice cream cook off. Or freeze off, if you prefer.
It all started with a tweet (doesn’t it always?) about ice-cream . Halva Ice cream. My halva ice cream.
The inspiration behind this ice cream came from David Chang, who offers halva as an icecream topping. His version of halva is quite a journey from a traditional halva. Pop into Momofuku Milk Bar and you can get a crumbly, peanut-buttery halva sprinkled on your ice cream to try yourself.
I prefer to try for authenticity (sorry, David).
Traditional halva is more than a little bit removed from the pulled sugar, fat and added peanut butter version at Momofuku.
It comes from the Arabic word, halw, which means sweet. It’s origin has been claimed throughout the Middle East, as well as Asia and India. Alan Davidson’s Companion to Food offers reference to an amazing array of halva variants. A little more research tells me the first known, written halvah recipe appeared in the early 13th century Arabic Kitab al-Tabikh [The Book of Dishes], and included seven variations.
It seems one of halva’s most prominent enthusiasts was Suleiman the Magnificent (1520-1566), who was the Ottoman Empire’s longest reigning sultan. Legend says he had a special kitchen built right beside his palace which he called the helvahane [house of halva], where at least 30 varieties were produced.
That’s a pretty impressive pedigree. And it my mind, it deserves a little more respect than pulled sugar and peanut butter.
Makes 1 litre.
200g plain halva
3 whole eggs
seeds of one vanilla bean
Pinch Murray River salt
150g halva variant – couveture chocolate and almond or Vanilla and Pistachio (or half of each)
* For adding after churning. Do not add this in your initial mix.
Place plain halva in bowl and blend 10 sec/speed 8. Remove from bowl and set aside.
Place eggs and sugar into bowl insert butterfly. Beat 4 min/37°C/speed 3.
Add all remaining ingredients, including blitzed halva and cook for 6 min/80°C/speed 5.
Set aside jug and allow to cook for 30 mins.
Pour into compressor and churn for 60 mins. (If the mixture isn’t set, churn again, I usually need to add another 20 because I don’t wait for it to cool properly!)
While ice-cream is churning, rough chop the remaining flavoured halva. You want irregular shapes, some small, some large.
Pour semi frozen icecream into freezer safe bowl alternating with layers of halva. Finish by sprinkling remaining halva on top, freeze for 24/48 hours before serving.
It’s halva-nly :)
If you’d like to see some photos of the fabulous icecreams shared, type in #IceCreamCabinet on twitter.