My godfather came from Constantinople (Istanbul) and he made an excellent halva with pine nut, as his mother taught him. Although he was a fisherman by profession, he cooked great.

My grandmother in the village made it with peanuts and usually cooked it on a wood burning stove, so it was slow cooked. Since we spent Easter period in my grandmother’s village, I have related halva with Holy Week and the smell of burning wood.

Halva has always been to our house, especially during fasting periods.

The original recipe is made with semolina. Since semolina is made from wheat and therefore contains gluten, we replace it with polenta. Polenta is made from corn and is naturally sweeter so we need less sugar.


Yields16 ServingsDifficultyBeginner

Prep Time5 minsCook Time10 minsTotal Time15 mins

Tip: Check off the ingredients you have used in the recipe or note the ingredients you have and add the rest to you shopping list to buy them. - Attention: All ingredients  must be checked that are Gluten-Free and without traces of gluten.

 ½ cup oil
 2 cups polenta
 6 cups water
 2 cups sugar (preferably brown)
 orange zest (optional)
 • peeled unsalted or unsalted peanuts or pine nuts (optional)

Abbreviations: g=grams kg= kilograms cup=250 ml tsp= teaspoon=5 ml  tbsp= tablespoon=3 tsp=15 ml ml= millilitre= (1ml=0.034 fl oz / 1fl oz=29.6 ml) l=litre/liter=1000ml

1

Place a non-stick pan on the fire. Add the oil , the polenta and the almonds or peanuts or pine nuts.

2

Stir constantly, with a wooden spoon, until slightly cooked.

3

Add the water, sugar and orange zest and continue stirring while boiling in medium heat. Cook it until the water is completely absorbed.

4

Place it either in small bowls or molds for individual portion or in a large mold.

Ingredients

 ½ cup oil
 2 cups polenta
 6 cups water
 2 cups sugar (preferably brown)
 orange zest (optional)
 • peeled unsalted or unsalted peanuts or pine nuts (optional)

Directions

1

Place a non-stick pan on the fire. Add the oil , the polenta and the almonds or peanuts or pine nuts.

2

Stir constantly, with a wooden spoon, until slightly cooked.

3

Add the water, sugar and orange zest and continue stirring while boiling in medium heat. Cook it until the water is completely absorbed.

4

Place it either in small bowls or molds for individual portion or in a large mold.

Gluten Free Halvas with Polenta
  • The ratio in the ingredients is as above and you can use espresso’s cup (60ml/2 fl.Oz) for 4 servings, or a normal cup for 16 servings.
  • I always use extra virgin olive oil in everything I do because it’s healthier and it doesn’t smell to me. But you can use sunflower or corn oil.
  • You can add cinnamon either with the sugar or when serving on top.
  • If you have roasted the almonds before, it is better to add them at the end.
  • If you have syrup from Orange Spoon Sweet, use it instead of sugar. I do usually replace sugar with this  because it gives a very nice aroma and taste. You can also cut the sweet orange into pieces and add it at the end!

Good Luck and Bon Appétit!!!

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