Adapted from a recipe on the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs web site
Food Editor's Notes:
If you are looking for a unique dairy dessert, this is it! The creation of Israeli chefs Tsachi and Linda Buchester, it has been widely copied both in Israel and Europe, but we have yet to see it at restaurants in the United States. It is similar to an ice cream, cold and creamy with a distinct flavor of sesame. If you enjoy halvah, tahini, and the like, you will enjoy this dessert. Even those who don't appreciate halvah, like my son, will delight in the cold creaminess of this unusually-flavored frozen confection. Just call it "Israeli Frozen Parfait," serve it with a few bright-colored berries and some whipped cream, and it will be a big hit!
This recipe says to serve the parfait in slices. You will have to use a knife to loosen the parfait from the sides of a pan, and a small knife or flexible spatula to remove it. Or, as suggested in a similar recipe in Joan Nathan's book The Foods of Israel Today, spoon it into glass parfait cups and drizzle it with a little amaretto, kirsch, or the brandy of your choice. You can also toast one cup of roughly chopped nuts, fold half into the parfait before freezing, and sprinkle the other half on top when serving. This is a great dessert for company – although it takes about an hour to make, it will be done well ahead of time, leaving you free for other tasks or pleasures. Enjoy!
1 cup heavy cream
6 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons water
6 egg yolks
2 tablespoons Amaretto liqueur
5 1/3 ounces plain halvah, broken into small pieces
In a small saucepan, mix the sugar and water and boil for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool.
While the sugar syrup is cooling, whip the cream in a bowl until it forms stiff peaks. Cover and refrigerate.
Place the sugar syrup in the top of a double boiler (over, but not in boiling water) and add the egg yolks and Amaretto. Mix with a hand mixer or whisk, without stopping, until the mixture is thick and lighter in color and begins to form a foam on the surface. [This can take up to 15 minutes.] Remove from the heat and transfer to a mixing bowl.
Add the halvah and mix at a high speed without stopping for 15 minutes. [Use a KitchenAid mixer if you have one.] Fold in the whipped cream by hand, mixing gently with a plastic spatula until the mixture is even throughout.
Transfer to a 1 or 1 1/2-quart loaf pan (or a 4-6 cup container), cover with plastic wrap or parchment paper, and place in the freezer for a minimum of 6-8 hours. Serve in thick slices on a plate [or spoon into glass cups]. Garnish as you choose.
Yield: 6-8 servings
Israeli Frozen Halvah Parfait