Raspberry halva crumble bars – Ottolenghi


Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Serves: 16 bars

These Raspberry Crumble Bars are screaming Middle East. All Middle Eastern flavours are here : tahini, halva, sumac and rose water. And guess what ? I love it.

They are so delicious, melting in the mouth, buttery with a nutty taste from the tahini. They are so easy to make, and by using the same crumble mix for both the top and the base of these bars, that makes them super quick to put together.

All you need to do is to scatter the halva over the pre-baked crust, then the raspberries filling gets spooned over it, finally top with the remaining crumble mix, and bake for 45 minutes. Once cooled you can cut into small squares.

Now let’s talk a little about the filling, which is in my opinion the center of attention. Ottolenghi used fresh raspberries and that brings it to the traditional raspberries crumble bar that we all know. But the combination of raspberries, sumac, rose water, and halva is just genius, and represents perfectly the Middle East. 

It was very smart to add the halva to the filling. It’s sweet and goes with the acidity of the raspberries filling and once baked it brings a gooey texture to the bars. 

The word halva came from the ottoman “Helva”, itself derived from the Arabic “حلوى” which means sweet confection. The halva is traditionally made of tahini and honey or sugar. If you have been in Middle Eastern grocery you may notice that, many different flavours of halva exist. It can be plain or with added nuts like pistachios, almonds or with spices like cardamom. It’s always hard for me to choose, most times I go for the plain Halva, in that way I can use it for several recipes.

The fresh raspberries perfectly flavoured with rose water and the sumac, which is a dark red spice with a vinegar flavor. All these ingredients go perfectly together and provide a burst of flavours.

These raspberry crumble bars are delicious, very addictive and perfect for summer treat. And depending of Ottolenghi, frozen berries will also work very well. So you can make these long after the summer glut has gone.

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Raspberry halva crumble bars - Ottolenghi

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Total time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Serves: 16 bars

Ingredients :

For the crumble :

  • 225 g all purpose flour
  • 70 g caster sugar
  • 50 g light brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 175 g unsalted butter, melted
  • 40 g tahini
  • 1 tsp vanilla , paste or extract

For the filling :

  • 200 g Halva
  • 300 g fresh raspberries, (or frozen and defrosted when not in season)
  • 35 g caster sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1-1/4 tsp Sumac
  • 1 tsp rose water, (if you don’t like floral water, use vanilla bean paste instead)

For the raspberry drizzle (optional)

  • 25 g fresh raspberries, mashed with a fork (or frozen, defrosted)
  • 5 Tbsp icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp rose water, (or vanilla bean paste)
  • 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice , ( or water)

Method :

  • 1)

    Heat the oven to 160C Fan, grease and line the base and sides of a 22cm square brownie tin with baking paper.

  • 2)

    In a mixing bowl, put the flour, caster and brown sugar, baking powder and salt, stir to combine. Then add the melted butter, tahini and vanilla, mix using a spatula until all the ingredients are perfectly combined. The crumble mix will at this stage seem quite soft.

  • 3)

    Measure out 300g of the crumble mix into the prepared tin, smooth out over the base of the tin using the back of a spoon. Bake for 20 minutes.

    Meanwhile, refrigerate the remaining crumble mix.

  • 4)

    Remove the tin from the oven.

    Turn up the heat to 170C fan, and crumble the halva evenly over the baked crumble base.

  • 5)

    In a medium bowl, mix the raspberries, sugar, cornflour, half a teaspoon of the sumac and the rosewater.

  • 6)

    Spoon evenly the raspberries mixture over the halva.

  • 7)

    Take the remaining crumble from the fridge and scatter it evenly over the fruit mix.

    Return the tin to the oven and bake again for 45-50 minutes, turning it once halfway, until the top crumble layer is nicely golden and the fruit juices are starting to bubble.

    Remove the tin from the oven, place it on a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

  • 8)

    Meanwhile, make the drizzle by mashing the 25g raspberries with the icing sugar, rose water, lemon juice and the remaining 3/4 of a teaspoon of sumac. Pour the drizzle over the cooled bake, then unmould, cut into bars or squares, pack into an airtight box and eat within two days.

    Enjoy !!





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