Wake up your tastebuds with this heaven-scented treat. Using non-fat Greek yogurt as a canvas, my Halvah-Rosewater "Custard" transforms traditional Middle Eastern confections and spices into a work of edible art. Take five minutes and put this recipe together.
Spring, in my neck of the woods, means that opening day of the farmers market is just around the corner. Confession: my favorite vendor is NOT local (I'm partial to veg grown in that rich Orange County soil, when I can get it), and, what I'm REALLY looking forward to is the first Kalypso cheesecake of the season. I'm pretty sure there's some sort of addictive substance baked right into its rich creaminess. I justify every purchase with "well, having another piece of terra-cotta bakeware is totally worth eating another cheesecake."
But I digress. What Kalypso is really known for is the thickest, most versatile Greek yogurt this side of the Atlantic. I met the founder selling his own products at the farmers market, and became an immediate fan of the brand. You can read his story, here. Inspired by the convenient, eco-friendly terra-cotta vessels in which Kalypso yogurt is sold, I found it all too easy to whip up this creme brûlée recipe. (PS - this post and my creme brûlée post are completely unsponsored. My love of Kalypso is pure. And it's a joy to support the business of fellow Greeks).
This Halvah-Rosewater "Custard" was born from a bit of a Mid-Eastern flavor kick in our household. And, the realization that, the more you delve into spices, many cultures borrow from one another, yielding very tasty results! Rosewater is the star ingredient in both Persian Love Cake and Turkish Delight. Cardamom, though native to India, brightens up pilaf, livens up coffee grinds, and lends an awakening aroma to sweets. As for the saffron, of course you could add it to a paella or Persian rice, but the way it ribbons through Greek yogurt, leaving a fiery orange trail, is really beautiful. It's floral notes partner harmoniously with rosewater.
Halvah is easily procured online and, if you're in New York, at most fruit markets and Kosher grocers. Hey, it's not "health" food, but, a) there are worse things for you than ground sesame and sugar; b) the yogurt provides a hearty punch of protein and is a good source of calcium. Oh, and it tastes REALLY good, so just enjoy it. This Halvah-Rosewater "Custard" is also gluten free, if that's a concern. Dig in.
AUTHOR: NICOLE RODRIGUEZ, RDN, NASM-CPT
2 6 oz. containers non-fat Greek Yogurt (I used Kalypso)
1 tsp. rosewater, more to taste
Big pinch of saffron, plus a few threads for garnish
3.5 oz. Joyva Halvah, original flavor (King Size bar)
6 green cardamom pods, gently cracked (seeds intact inside pods)
Scrape both yogurts into mixing bowl with rubber spatula. Add rosewater and saffron, mix well to combine. Crumble halvah into yogurt mixture and gently combine. Return "custard" mixture to terra-cotta ramekins, if using Kalypso yogurt, or other stone ramekin. Top each serving with 3 cardamom pods. Cover and refrigerate overnight, and up to 72 hours. Discard cardamom pods before serving. Top with additional saffron threads, if desired.
Enjoy your food. Enjoy your life!