Making halva is an occupation whose old methods has been forgotten and now industrialized. But is still maintains its feature to be an occupation transmitted from father to son and requiring skill and proficiency along with the knowledge.
The main ingredients of a good tahini halva are pure sesame paste, sugar and water.
Producing tahini is an onerous process. The harvested sesame comes to the mill with the soil on it. The sesame put in the water pool are collected with the help of a sieve in the other pool, in which there is salty water with a degree of 14-17, and mixed. In this way, the sesame seeds are released from their capsules. The sesame is flailed with a scoop causing the capsules to sink in the water. The sesame seeds collected here are washed in the third pool with pure water 3 or 4 times in order to have them free of salt. Following all these processes, sesame seeds are baked for 2 or 3 hours in 150-200 °C. And then they are kept until they get to the room temperature. Afterwards, they are milled without any additives. Finally, the product obtained out of these processes is tahini. Tahini, a completely natural product, is fairly light cream and fluent.
Sugar and water mixture is boiled at 150°C until the water rate decreases and the mixture thickens, in order to make it crystallized, some citric acid is added. So as to turn the sugared water into semisolid syrup, soapwort extract is added. When the mixture prepared in big mixers becomes fluffy and white, it is conveyed into a steel kneading caldron together with tahini. Here, it is properly mixed with a wood scoop. Meanwhile; depending on its type, nuts, pistachio, walnuts or cacao powder is added into the mixture. When it thickens, it is poured into the molds and left to cool down. Later on it is packaged.
While making tahini halva, the proportion and heat of the tahini and sugar is very essential. Tahini should be warm while the sugar should be hot at the time of mixture. If both of them are cold, sugar becomes crystallized and white granules occur. Halva makers call such a halva amygdaline and it is not acceptable.
In the recent years, some tahini halva producers have been using corn syrups whose rich in glucose, but poor in fructose as a substitute for sugar. Moreover, they put ingredients such as sunflower oil, nut oil cake, soy oil in tahini to lower the costs. The quality of a halva produced in this way wouldn’t be good. The good tahini halva is the one produced with sesame and sugar of high quality.
Tahini halva, the irrevocable dessert of the winter months, is a nourishing, healthy, natural, filling and delicious food. As halva is rich in protein, carbohydrate, calcium and vitamin B as well as its high calorie, it is recommended to especially sportsmen, adolescents, people spending too much energy and nursing mothers. Besides it is alleged that a good halva is good for stomach problems.