Halva with chocolate and star anise syrup

Murdoch Recipe Article Lead - narrow
Murdoch Recipe Article Lead - narrow 

A recipe from the Good Food collection.


125 g (4½ oz/½ cup) unsalted butter, softened

115 g (4 oz/½ cup) caster (superfine) sugar

finely grated zest of 1 orange

175 g (6 oz/1 cup) fine semolina

2 teaspoons baking powder

3 eggs, at room temperature

110 g (3¾ oz/1 cup) ground hazelnuts

120 g (4¼ oz) hazelnuts, toasted, skinned and roughly chopped

thick (double/heavy) cream

Chocolate and star anise syrup

345 g (12 oz/1½ cups) caster (superfine) sugar

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) water

3 star anise


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Grease a 20 cm (8 inch) square cake tin and line the base with baking paper.

2. Cream the butter, sugar and orange zest in a medium-sized bowl using electric beaters until pale and fluffy. Sift in the semolina and baking powder, add the eggs and ground hazelnuts and beat until well combined. Spoon into the prepared tin and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin on a wire rack.

3. Meanwhile, to make the chocolate and star anise syrup, combine the sugar and cocoa in a saucepan and gradually stir in the water. Add the star anise and stir over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and simmer, without stirring, for 10 minutes, or until slightly reduced and syrupy. Pour half the syrup over the cooled halva in the tin. Set aside for 20 minutes, or until the syrup has been absorbed.

4. Boil the remaining syrup over medium heat for 10 minutes, or until reduced to 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup).

5. Run a flat-bladed knife around the halva and turn out onto a cutting board. Cut into four squares and then cut each square into four triangles. Pour a little of the remaining syrup over the halva, sprinkle on the hazelnuts and serve accompanied by the cream.

6. The halva will keep, stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 4 days.