Helva & Tahin Brownie
images & text by Manolya Isik
Helva: I have always loved it, and when it’s around I will definitely eat too much of it. This quite unassuming rectangular block tastes sweet and nutty, and consists mainly of sesame paste and sugar or honey. You can find it plain, or sometimes with additional flavours like vanilla, pistachio or my favourite, chocolate. I have been dreaming for a while about a cake that makes the most out of a chocolate and helva combination. So when I went to Istanbul recently, I brought some beautiful helva with pistachio back to London and then luckily stumbled upon this recipe by Ottolenghi - the perfect combination of rich, fudgy chocolate, slightly bitter tahin swirls and sweet helva.
HELVA & TAHIN BROWNIE (for 12 pieces)
240 g unsalted butter, diced
240 g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), broken into small pieces
4 eggs (M)
330 g caster sugar
120 g plain flour
30g cocoa powder
a pinch of salt
75 g tahin
130 g helva (any flavour is fine), cut into 2 cm dice
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 20 x 30 cm baking tray.
Melt the butter and chocolate together au bain-marie. When the chocolate has almost completely melted, remove from the heat and stir until you have a shiny, even sauce. Set aside, leave to cool at room temperature.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar for about 3 minutes until creamy: the whisk should leave a trail in the mixture.
Fold the chocolate mix into the eggs, be careful not to overmix it.
Fold in the flour, cocoa and salt.
Pour into the prepared baking tray and spread out into an even layer.
Spoon the tahin on top of the batter, in little heaps. Swirl it just a little with a fork to create a nice pattern. Arrange the helva pieces on top.
Bake for approximately 20 minutes, until the top has become crisp but the middle still has a bit of a wobble. The brownies should still be gooey inside. Leave to cool in the tin, then cut into 12 pieces.
The brownies will keep for 5 days in an airtight container.
This recipe is slightly adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi's Tahini and halva brownies.