Confessions of a foodie
#11: Sheki halva
I’m extremely happy this week. I started the new academic year, made progress in my side projects, and most importantly, received a package from my family with a box of Sheki halva in it. This is the second halva post on the Confessions of a foodie (Cof) and you guessed it right — I just love the sweet stuff!
If I had to pick one dessert for the rest of my life it would be Sheki halva (‘Şəki halvası’ in Azerbaijani). You must understand that choosing one dessert has got to be the hardest decision for someone with a sweet tooth like mine. I believe Sheki halva — which categorically speaking, is a type of baklava — is the most decadent dessert to ever exist. This ingredient list is a telling evidence that Sheki halva was concocted in the Sheki khan’s palace: milky hazelnuts, rice flour, sugar, ground cardamom and coriander seeds, saffron, and honey syrup. Thanks to the generations of halva makers, we can indulge in this dangerously sweet dessert that glistens with chunks of milky hazelnuts and honey-soaked threads of rice flour.
In addition to the fragrant smell, delicious taste, and sophisticated appearance, Sheki halva is also a delight to watch in the making. After creating a delicate web of rice flour dough on a griddle, the halva makers top the thin rice flour layers with crushed hazelnuts, sugar, ground cardamom and coriander (see the detailed making process in the video below). The lattice pattern on the top layer is drawn manually using a brush made from a bird’s feather and concentrated saffron water. In the end, you are left to enjoy a red pattern wheel bathed in the stickiest honey syrup.
If you read this CoF post and watched the above video, you must feel the urge to try Sheki halva. I guess I can consider my mission complete at this point.