To celebrate the release of the Dornish eCookbook, From the Sands of Dorne: A Feast of Ice & Fire Companion Cookbook, here’s a quick and easy recipe that didn’t quite fit in the new book: Helva. It’s essentially sort of like a Middle Eastern shortbread, with butter, flour, sugar, and in this case, just a bit of tahini. I first encountered Helva while living in Turkey, and have very fond memories of skimming a little of the warm confection from the top of the cooling pan when my host-mother wasn’t looking.
The flavor is simple, but delicious, with the rich buttery goodness of a shortbread, plus a little nuttiness added by the tahini. I (somehow) held onto a few of mine for several days, and while they began to harden, they were no less delicious. I could see these being fast favorites not only in Dorne, but also beginning to creep their way up to the capitol and over to Highgarden.
- 1 stick salted butter
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 Tbs. tahini
- 1/2 cup sugar
- pine nuts for garnish (optional)
Make a roux with the butter and flour over medium heat. When it starts to turn a slightly pinkish golden color, remove from the heat. Add in the tahini and sugar, and stir to completely combine. At this point, the mixture should start pulling away from the sides of the pan.
Using two large soup spoons, scoop up a portion of the mixture. Holding one spoon in each hand, press the bowls of the spoons together, squeezing out any excess mix. This should create an oblong shaped piece of helva. Repeat until all the mixture has been used up.
If you like, press a pine nut (or other nut of your choice) into the top of the helva discs while still warm. Helva will keep for several days, unrefrigerated.