Saturday, 25 January 2014

' CHOCOLATE HALVA .' dessert

Halva mousse , Chocolate gelato , Poppy seed crumbs , Crumbled Chocolate Halva and Milk chocolate sauce .

                    This is an example of minimal ingredients although very much a labour of love. Halva translating to 'sweetmeat' derived from the arabic word for sweet, is essentially a crystallised paste of sesame seeds (tahini) and sugar. Halvah may be flavoured with nuts, coffee and in this case cocoa. Popular in the Balkans and all throughout the middle east and adjacent countries to the mediterranean sea. To take this recipe right back you first must make the tahini, then the halva is made from this allowing a day and half for the sugar crystals to grow and give the halva its distinctive texture.              
                    So the preparation of this dish began with the making of tahini sauce. First I toasted some sesame seeds in a 170 deg.c. oven for around 10 minutes, tossing them around frequently so they didn't burn. These were then allowed to cool for about 20 minutes before pouring the seeds into a food processor with a little olive oil and this was processed to a thick but pourable consistency. With the tahini made I made a start on the halva heating 2 cups of honey, stirring to prevent localised overheating. This was simmered to reach a 'soft ball' syrup or 115 deg.c. on the sugar thermometer.The honey was then set aside and allowed to cool for 5 minutes, meanwhile I gently warmed tahini to the temperature of 50 deg.c. and folded this into the hot honey syrup and added some vanilla essence. I then poured one third of this mix into a separate bowl mixing 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder and a little chocolate essence. Into a lined plastic container I poured the vanilla mixture then the chocolate mixture on top of this, with a spoon I swirled the mixtures together to give a marbled effect with the chocolate. Once cooled the container was sealed with a lid and placed into the fridge for around 36 hours or so giving enough time as explained above to mature and develop its characteristic texture. Two days later and I began on the halva mousse of which I brought cream to boiling point, in a bowl I whisked together egg yolks and caster sugar until pale and thick to this I added one third of the cream mixing to incorporate and then returning the egg and cream mixture back to the heat. I cooked this on low heat stirring until it coated the back of my spoon, to this I added 1% agar agar, tahini, honey and simmered whisking to dissolve the agar. This was then removed from the heat and in another bowl I whipped cream to a soft peak and folded this into the custard mix. I then added chopped halva and poured the mixture into cylinder moulds with a little poppy seed crumb on the bottom, these were then placed in the fridge to set before being un-moulded for plating. I used my usual non machine method of making this gelato just adding some cocoa powder and chocolate essence in the heating of the milk and cream stage and then some melted dark chocolate at the custard thickening stage. To make the poppy seed crumb I placed sugar, flour, almond meal, poppy seeds and chopped cold butter into a bowl and using my fingertips brought the mix to a crumb with no remaining butter lumps through it. This was then placed in the fridge for an hour and then spread on to a baking paper lined flat tray and placed in a 170 deg.c. oven for around 10 minutes, before bringing it back to a crumb with a folk and finishing off a few more minutes in the oven for colour. To make the sauce I simply heated milk chocolate in the microwave until melted and free from lumps. I shaved and sliced pieces of halva as an accompaniment.

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