Halwa/halva is a popular dessert in many Middle Eastern, Asian and Eastern European countries. Halva is usually made using semolina, nuts or even plain flour. The last halwas I tried were a Central Asian sunflower seed halva and a Turkish sesame halwa, both very delicious. I have never heard of polenta halva before, so this was an experiment that worked.
Many recipes that I found on the internet were quite heavy on butter and sugar. I wanted a low sugar and low fat version that was just as delicious. The polenta halva turned out to be dense and sweet but not loaded with sugar and fat. Sounds a bit contradictory, doesn’t it!
You can easily make it sugar free by substituting honey or other sweeteners, it will work just as well. I actually substituted about half of the butter with soy bean oil and for me it worked.
The recipe uses both water and milk. To make the polenta halwa even creamer and richer substitute water with milk, condensed milk, evaporated milk or cream.
The polenta halwa turns out to be relatively dryish in a good way. If you prefer a more ‘runny’ or moist pudding, you can increase the liquid or butter content. And if you want to spice it up a bit I think cardamom will work well.
The polenta halwa will keep well in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. It is nice eaten cold, straight from the refrigerator, or warmed.
1 cup polenta
¼ cup sugar
½ cup water
½ cup milk
¼ cup raisins
1 tablespoon golden syrup
1 tablespoon butter
1. Place a pan on medium heat and melt butter
2. Add polenta and toast until golden brown
3. Add the remaining ingredients, stirring constantly4. Reduce the heat to low and keep stirring until the mixture thickens and lumps together