Lemon Coconut Halva

When my roommate and I purchased 2 pounds of semolina from a small market in Old Oakland, the lady at the register was skeptical. She wanted to make sure we knew what we were getting. When we convinced her that  we knew how to use the stuff, she started telling us about the wonderful fresh pasta that her daughter makes. One thing led to another, and before we knew it we were in for a half-hour story about the photographs of her daughters, her son, and her grandbabies that decorated the register. She was a fascinating little lady with a rich history, a fiery personality, and bright purple eyeshadow. When we finally bid her farewell, she grabbed our elbows and proclaimed, “Don’t get into drugs or alcohol! Study hard and you will be successful in the future.” Ah the wonders of Oakland 🙂


Semolina is a yellowish flour made from durum wheat. It looks a lot like cornmeal and is often used to make pasta. (1 cup semolina + 1 egg = pasta dough). It is also used to make halva. Which is a super delicious Mediterranean dessert.

Lemon Coconut Halva

First, make a sugar syrup. Stir together 1/2 cup sugar, 2/3 cups water, and the juice of half a lemon in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. It will thicken considerably .


In a slightly larger saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter.

Remove from heat and stir in:

1 cup sugar

3/4 cups all purpose flour

1 cup semolina

1 cup shredded coconut

3/4 cups milk

1 tsp vanilla extract


Pour into an ungreased, foil lined pan (I used and 8″ round cake pan) and bake for 25-30 minutes in a preheated 350F oven.

Cut halva into 24 pieces and drizzle evenly with sugar syrup. (If the syrup got too thick, heat it until it becomes a pourable consistency.)


Eat!!! This was super tasty. The lemon flavor was a little overpowering at first, but maybe that’s because I didn’t let it cool. My second piece was a much better balance of coconut and lemon. And my third piece….and my fourth piece….heh.



One Response to “Lemon Coconut Halva”

  1. Edith Says:

    I’ve been wondering when you’d start updating again since your banan bread. Seems like you’re having a productive summer. 😛 Your recipes look delish. Haha, you guys are awesome.

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