Tar Halva, which translates to “moist sweets”, was a very popular dessert among the families of Shiraz in the not-too-distant past. It is still on the table in the ceremonies, mourning gatherings, and specifically in the holy month of Ramadan.
The main difference between Tar Halva and the other types of Halva is that it is made with starch, which gives the dessert a stiffer texture and allows it to be easily sliced.
Normally, Tar Halva is made in two colors, white and yellow, which contains saffron. The cooking process usually begins in the evening after Iftar (break of the fast) and goes on until midnight, sometimes until Sahari (the pre-dawn meal consumed early in the morning by Muslims before fasting).
Ingredients for Shirazi Tar Halva
- 1 cup starch
- ½ cup rice flour
- 6 cup milk
- 4 cup water
- 1 cup rosewater
- 3 cup sugar
- some saffron
- nuts for garnish
Tar Halva Recipe
Mix starch and water until the starch dissolves. Mix rice flour and milk. Combine the two mixtures and sieve it. You had better cook Tar Dessert in non-stick or cast-iron cookware to prevent the stuff from sticking to the pot walls and bottom.
Add the mixture of starch, rice flour, water and milk to a pot and stir over medium heat. Tar Halva should be made over low heat, because the raw taste of rice flour should disappear completely.
Keep in mind that Tar Halva syrup must be stirred constantly, otherwise the rice flour and starch will immediately settle to bottom of pot and get cooked.
When the mixture is concentrated to some extent, add sugar and rosewater and keep stirring until the mixture is fully concentrated.
The syrup should have a moderate consistency, not too soft, not too hard. Now turn off the heat and divide the mixture in half. Keep one half white and add thick liquid saffron to the other half so that liquid would not float on it anymore.
Tar Dessert must be served in a bevelled dish. First soak the dish with cold water, then add the white base. You can lay the yellow base on the white layer, or serve them in two separate dishes. Garnish each dish with slivered or chopped pistachios.
Set aside so it cools down before putting it in refrigerator. You can slice Tar Halva after a couple of hours. Cut off the rim of the dessert with a knife. Now you can easily slice Tar Halva and take it out of the dish.
Additional Points on Tar Halva:
1. If you forgot to stir your Tar Halva when you should and parts of the ingredients form a mass at the bottom of your pot, empty the entire mixture into another container and use a whisk mixer to whip the curdles before returning the ingredients to the original pot.
Do not add milk or water to the curdled ingredients because there would be no guarantee you will be able to have a proper Tar Halva afterwards.
1. Why does Tal Halva form cracks?
Many of those who make this halva face the problem of their halva getting cracked up. One of the main reasons for Halva cracking up is that it is put in the refrigerator immediately after it is prepared. This leads to halva cracking up.
Another reason for Halva cracking up is the failure to cover it with a plastic wrap when put in the fridge. And the most important reason for Tar Halva getting cracked up is removing the heat before the mixture is thickened enough.