Halvah Fluff: Your New Middle Eastern Dessert Obsession

It's like cotton candy, but so much better.

Halva fluff — otherwise known as “shredded halvah,” “halvah shaar,” or “hair halvah” — is a more delicate, versatile version of the bricks of halvah you’re probably familiar with. Because it’s shredded, it dissolves as it hits your tongue, like a sophisticated, nutty cotton candy. Though there are desserts  from all over the world called halvah, halvah fluff is Middle Eastern: It’s made with tahini and sugar or honey (it’s similar in texture, but not in flavor, to Turkish pismaniye, often referred to as “halvah floss” or “string halvah,” which contains flour and butter).

Unlike block halvah, which comes in an ever-increasing array of flavors (my favorite spot in Tel Aviv’s Levinsky Market has an irresistible Lotus cookie halvah, though New York-based Seed + Mill’s sea salt dark chocolate halvah is a serious contender ), shredded halvah sticks to the classics; it’s usually plain, though occasionally chocolate or pistachio flavored.

So how do you use halvah fluff? (Aside from eating it straight from the tub.)

Pair It With Ice Cream

  • Swirl the shredded strands into your ice cream base before freezing for a sesame ripple effect.
  • And/or bundle it on top of an ice cream sundae or milkshake. Add a drizzle of silan (date syrup) and a sprinkling of chopped pistachios for the ultimate indulgence.

Bake With It

  • Substitute it for marshmallows in ‘smores.
  • When recipes call for crumbled halvah, substitute the shredded variety. It’s much easier to work with, and less of a mess. I love to twist it into babkas.
  • Or use it for visual effect, as you would cotton candy, like wrapped around a layer cake for a Great British Baking Show showstopper challenge appeal, or swirled on top of cupcakes.

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