You will need a shallow 8 or 9-inch plate with a depth of about 1 inch. I used a shallow oval platter so there were some odd-shaped pieces when the halva was sliced, but no one seemed to mind!
Yield: About two dozen 1 ½ -inch squares
Recipe type: Dessert/Sweets
Cuisine: Azeri/Persian
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 ounces unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • ¼ cup + 1 TBSP ground ginger
  • ½ cup + 2 TBSP powdered sugar
  • Extra powdered sugar as needed, to be sifted on top with a fine-mesh sifter
  • Sliced or chopped pistachios for garnish
  1. Sift 2 cups flour into a heavy bottomed stainless steel skillet. Heat over medium low heat while stirring constantly for 10 minutes. The flour will get very hot to touch and will smell nutty. The color will be a little richer but it should not burn or get golden brown.
  2. Add the butter cubes to the flour and stir over medium low heat until the mixture resembles crumbs. Cut the butter well into flour by alternately stirring and breaking up the crumbs with the back of a wooden spoon and pressing them to the bottom of the skillet. Continue doing this for 5-6 minutes until the mixture resembles a uniform powder without any crumbs. At this point the mixture should stick together when pressed with the spoon.
  3. Remove the skillet from heat. Add ground ginger and powdered sugar to the skillet and continue stirring and pressing the mixture with the wooden spoon to the bottom of the skillet in order to get rid of any crumbs. This is going to take about 5 minutes.
  4. Transfer the warm mixture to a shallow 8 or 9-inch plate, no more than 1 inch deep. Place a nonskid pad under the plate to prevent it from moving around. Spread the content evenly and then use the palm of one hand to press the mixture into the bottom of the plate. Press the sides too, until the surface feels very firm. This part is very important in getting a beautiful presentation where you will be able to serve the halva as squares. You should continue pressing the mixture to get it very compact, otherwise the Halva will fall apart when you try to cut it or pick it up; however, it will still taste delicious.
  5. Add some powdered sugar to a fine-mesh sifter and sprinkle enough extra powdered sugar to cover the entire surface of the Halva.
  6. Let the Halva cool on the counter without being covered for 20-30 minutes. Some of the powdered sugar on the surface may dissolve into the Halva. Sift more powdered sugar as needed to have a uniform coverage. Allow Halva to cool completely for about an hour, or until the bottom of the dish feels completely cool to touch. This cooling is necessary to make sure that the butter in the recipe has cooled down and the Halva is firm enough to be sliced.
  7. Slice the halva into squares or diamonds and top each pieces with sliced or chopped unsalted pistachios.
Recipe by Persian Mama at http://persianmama.com/halva-zanjabil-zanjafil-tarayee-ginger-halva/