Pistachio Halva Ice Cream with Caramel Tahini Sauce

, from Issue #64. January, 2016
Photography by Aaron McLean.
Pistachio Halva Ice Cream with Caramel Tahini Sauce

Halva is a popular Middle Eastern sweet made from sesame seeds. It has a wonderfully nutty, gritty texture and turns great vanilla ice cream into a taste sensation. Topped with silky caramel, we then took the sundae to another level by crowning it with spicy popcorn! 

Serves: 8


1½ litres vanilla ice cream (we used Kohu Road brand)
300 grams pistachio halva, crumbled
cup pistachios, roughly chopped
Caramel tahini sauce
¾ cup caster sugar
3 tablespoons water
½ cup cream
¼ cup tahini
¼ teaspoon sea salt
50 grams diced butter, at room temperature

Spiced Caramel Popcorn
cup popping corn
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or ground chilli
½ teaspoon each ground cinnamon and ginger
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon sea salt
150 grams butter
¾ cup caster sugar
3 tablespoons golden syrup



Ice cream: Let the ice cream sit at room temperature until softened enough to stir, but don’t let it melt completely. 

Crumble over the halva and the pistachios then use a large metal spoon to fold everything together. Place in a freezer-proof container, cover and freeze until completely frozen. 

Sauce: Put the sugar and water in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil slowly, making sure all the sugar has dissolved before it boils. Wipe any stray crystals of sugar from the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water. Cook until the sugar turns a deep golden colour, gently swirling the pan so it colours evenly. Remove from the heat and immediately add the cream, taking great care as it will bubble up furiously. Stir until smooth then whisk in the tahini and salt. Cool for 10 minutes. Whisk in the butter a few pieces at a time until the sauce is thick and glossy. Transfer to a bowl and cool.

To assemble: Scoop the ice cream into bowls and drizzle with the caramel sauce. Top with clusters of the Spiced Caramel Popcorn, if using.

Spiced Caramel Popcorn

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add the corn and put the lid on. Cook until the corn stops popping, shaking the pan occasionally to prevent it catching on the base. Tip into a large bowl, discarding any unpopped corn. Wipe out the saucepan.

Combine the cayenne or chilli, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda and salt in a bowl and set aside.

Put the butter, sugar and golden syrup in the saucepan over a medium heat, stirring until the sugar is melted. Cook over a low heat for 4 minutes, stirring constantly until it turns a couple of shades darker, to a golden caramel.

Remove from the heat and stir in the spice mixture. It will bubble up a little.

Tip in the popcorn and use a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula to stir until it’s all well coated in the caramel. Tip onto a large baking tray lined with baking paper and spread out to cool.

Break into pieces and store in an airtight container. Makes about 8 cups.