Growing up, my father had a close friend Jack, who owned a Jewish deli in the suburbs of Philly. I loved Jack, he was a gentle, kind man who always treated me like I was family.
Jack’s Deli was as close as you’d get to a traditional Jewish deli outside of being in NYC, complete with barrels of half sour pickles along the front of the store. Dad would take us there every Saturday for bagels and lox. While he played cards with his friends, I’d “work the register” and eat halva and pickles… not a combo I’d recommend 🙂 Boy did I LOVE halva. It’s surprising to think that a kid would enjoy a sesame seed candy. The flavour of sesame is rather complex and can be very bitter, but I guess all the sugar masked that.
Creating this recipe was an emotional step back in time for me, which is something I talk about in my live and online classes––giving people the gift of an emotional connection to their food. So often we are eating from a sense of necessity, boredom or just eating mindlessly. But, when you bite into something that brings back good memories, it stops you in your tracks and you’re now eating from a place of love and presence. You’re nourishing yourself at a deep level, beyond what the food alone can provide. And, in that moment, you feel the comfort and love it brings with it.
With all that said, I am not actually sharing a halva recipe with you today. But this sesame brittle has all the complexity of flavour like the halva––toasted sesame, sweet, almost caramel-like sugar and subtle vanilla. And, I added the crunch of almonds and the slight acidity of lemon to bring balance to the brittle. Ya know, because we are not using all that sugar to bring it together.
Raw Sesame Brittle [Cubbaita]
250g (1 ¾ cups) sesame seeds, soaked 2 – 4 hours and drained
100g (¾ cup) almonds, soaked 8 hours and rinsed
40g (⅓ cup) coconut flour
150g (¾ cup) coconut sugar
115g (⅓ cup) maple syrup
40g (2 ½ tbsp) lemon juice
Fine zest of 1 lemon (using a microplane or similar grater)
1 tsp toasted sesame oil ( optional for a toasted sesame flavour )
- When straining the sesame seeds, suspend them in a strainer / sieve over a bowl for about 5 minutes to be sure they have drained as much water out as possible, otherwise they will get diluted by the excess water.
- While the sesame seeds are draining, drain and rinse the almonds. And then blend the almonds in a food processor until they are broken down into a rough crumble.
- In a large bowl, combine the drained sesame seeds, chopped almonds and all remaining ingredients.
- Mix well with your hands to combine.
- Transfer the mix to a teflex lined dehydrator tray and, using a moistened cranked / offset spatula spread the mix out to about ¾ – 1 inch thickness.
- Score the mix 4 x 4 into squares or to whatever size and shape you desire.
- Dehydrate for 15 hours at 115F
- Once it’s firm and dry enough, flip onto a mesh tray and dry for another 15 hours, or until crisp and dry throughout.
- Break them along the scored lines and store in an airtight container at room temp for up to roughly 3 weeks.
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