SMiLes by Meg

Halvah Ice Cream

If you’re reading this on the Sunday it’s supposed to appear, it means that my posting from Italy worked! I’m actually typing it on Tuesday, the day Erik and I leave for a bike tour through Piedmont. To say I’m excited is an understatement. It has been far too long since I’ve been able to go on vacation and not even think about bringing my laptop with me – my only electronics will be my phone, my kindle, and a camera.

That’s not to say I won’t be baking while I’m there. We’ll be on a tour that includes a couple fun little activities, one of which is making pizza and baking cookies in an outdoor wood stove. So come back next week to see pictures from that!

Anyways, this week I wanted to make something that would still be edible when we returned, so I turned again to an ice cream recipe. And since I now know that I love halvah, I wasn’t scared of a recipe that called for it. I even found a new (and much more local) halvah distributer! Cardullo’s in Harvard Square has all sorts of international candy, and has been my Flake distributor for awhile. So while I was in the square running errands the other day, I decided to see if they had halvah, too. They do – meaning it’s about to find its way into many more of my recipes.

This ice cream is fairly simple. It’s basically a vanilla base with a twist in the form of adding tahini. Start by heating the cream, milk, and vanilla bean and seeds over medium heat in a medium saucepan until bubbles form along the edges. Remove from heat. In a medium (heatproof) bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg yolks until pale yellow. Slowly add a couple ladles of the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly, to temper the eggs. Pour that mixture back into the saucepan and whisk into the remaining cream mixture. Return to medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, for 10 minutes. The batter should thicken and coat the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and whisk in the tahini. Allow the batter to cool to room temperature and remove the vanilla bean. Pour into an airtight container and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, churn the ice cream according to the manufacturer’s directions for your machine.  When it’s still a little creamy, stir in the chopped halvah. Put in an airtight container and freeze. Allow to soften slightly before serving.This ice cream would be delicious scooped into a cone and eaten on its own. However, if you’re looking to make it a little fancy, chop up some roasted salted peanuts and serve as a sundae with the peanuts, hot chocolate sauce, and sprinkled with black sesame seeds.


Halvah Ice Cream


  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 3 1/2 ounces halvah, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • salted roasted peanuts, chopped
  • chocolate sauce
  • black sesame seeds


  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat heavy cream, milk, vanilla bean and seeds until bubbles just form around the edges. Remove from heat.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow.
  3. Slowly ladle hot cream mixture into egg mixture, beating constantly with a whisk, until you’ve added about half of the cream.
  4. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and whisk to combine with remaining cream.
  5. Return to medium heat and continue cooking for 10 minutes, stirring constantly, until thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon.
  6. Remove from heat and whisk in tahini. Allow to cool for 20 minutes at room temperature before removing vanilla bean.
  7. Refrigerate batter overnight. When ready to churn, do so according to manufacturer’s directions.
  8. When ice cream is still a little creamy, stir in the halvah pieces. Store in airtight container in freezer.

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