Semolina Halva & Rag Pie

This is the famous 1,2,3,4 recipe which goes back in time and usually the recipe is passed from our grandmothers to the next generations. In the classical recipe you will need 1 unit of oil, 2 units of semolina, 3 units of sugar and 4 units of water. In our case, we will make our chalva a bit less sweet which means that we will use 2 units of sugar so it is 1,2,2,4.  

Ingredients needed for Semolina Halva:

  • 1 cup vegetable oil (you can also use half sesame oil and half vegetable oil)
  • 2 cups semolina (ideally 1 cup fine semolina and 1 coarse semolina)
  • 2 cups granulated white sugar
  • 4 cups water
  • Orange zest from 2 oranges
  • Lemon Zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon clove powder
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup & ¼ cup/150 gr roasted ground almonds 
  • (You could also add roasted pine nuts, sesame seeds, walnuts, raisins) 

Method:

  • Add the water with the sugar in a pot over medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. As soon as it boils, boil the syrup for another 5 and remove the syrup from the heat and set aside.
  • In a non-stick pan, saute the oil with the two portions of semolina over medium heat and stir constantly until the mixture gets a nice color and the semolina is roasted for 4-5 minutes. Remember, patience is a golden virtue 🙂 
  • Once it gets a nice color, add our spices, cinnamon and clove powder, almonds, orange and lemon peels, vanilla extract and continue to mix. 
  • When you think that the colour is ready (brownish), take off the heat and add the sugary water (and while you do that be extremely careful!). Transfer to the heat once you add all the water.
  • Stir constantly over low heat for another few minutes until the halva is set. 
  • Once we see bubbles on top, our halva is almost ready. We keep stirring. We know it will be ready when it will come off from the sides and when you will feel some resistance in your stirring!
  • While the mixture is hot pour it into your favourite cake tin or into whatever you like (this could be a salad bowl, a baking muffin tray etc) and flatten the halva with a spoon. 
  • Leave to cool for 1 hour, remove it from the form, sprinkle with extra cinnamon. You can even accompany it with ice cream. 
  • If you want, you can serve the halva hot.

 

Ingredients needed for the Patsavouropita:

  • 1 package of phyllo pastry (ideally 6 or 7)
  • 2.5 sticks of butter/250gr 
  • 8 eggs
  • A pound of feta cheese/450gr 
  • A coffee cup of milk
  • 2 tablespoons cottage cheese (optional)
  • Pepper
  • Nutmeg

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 400F/200C
  • Melt your butter
  • Beat the eggs in a big bowl
  • You then add the cottage cheese (if you are using) and milk into the egg mixture
  • Crumble the feta cheese and add the pepper and nutmeg into the egg mixture too
  • Butter your baking tray well
  • We then start the layering process. We go ahead and add the first phyllo pastry at the bottom of our tray and next we add some butter on top. We take another phyllo pastry and this time we add our cheese and egg mixture on top and we then continue with the same process. Phyllo pastry/butter/phyllo pastry/egg and cheese mixture until we have our last phyllo pastry on top which of course we add some butter before we bake it!
  • We lower the temperature of the oven to 325F/160C and we bake for around 45 minutes to an hour. 

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