Semolina Helva with Raspberry Iced Yoğurt

Dondurmali Helva


This is not a deconstruction of a traditional dish, but a sensible reconstruction of a bastardised one. Some fashionable restaurants in Istanbul are now serving ice cream (either vanilla or sahlep ) covered with a dome of warm semolina helva. Some of them even name it ‘Sultan’s helva’ to add vintage credibility. I don’t get it. For me, a good semolina helva should be warm and crumbly, so you can’t make a dome out of it. And a good ice cream should be firm and cold, not half melted.

I’ve made the assumption that most home cooks don’t have an ice cream machine, so I’ve explained here how to make what the Italians call a semifreddo, using raspberries and yoğurt.


Iced Yoğurt

  • 6 eggs
  • 220 g ( oz/1 cup) sugar
  • 500 ml (9 fl oz/2 cups) whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons plain yoğurt
  • 1 punnet (200 g/7 oz) raspberries


  • 200 g (7 oz) butter
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 285 g (10 oz/ cups) fine semolina
  • 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) milk
  • 220 g ( oz 1 cup) sugar


First make the iced yoğurt. Separate the eggs. You are going to use all six yolks and three of the whites. Blend the egg yolks and the sugar together in a bowl. Put the cream in a kitchen mixer and blend until thick. Fold the egg yolk mixture into the cream. Whisk three egg whites until peaks form. Gently fold into the yolk mixture. Fold in the yoğurt. Finally, fold in the raspberries, reserving a few to serve.

Line four cups (half-filled if you want dome shapes), a rectangular tray (if you want to slice the iced yoğurt to serve), or any container you prefer, with plastic wrap, making sure the wrap overhangs the sides. Using a wooden spoon, push the mixture into the moulds and then place in the freezer overnight.

About 30 minutes before you want to serve this dessert, make the helva. Melt the butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and cook for 3 minutes, tossing constantly to evenly brown. Add the semolina and brown for 10 minutes, stirring constantly.

In a separate pan, mix the milk, sugar and 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) of water, and bring to the boil over low heat. Immediately pour the boiling mixture over the semolina and continue to stir for about 10 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed.

To serve, put one iced yoğurt dome (or a thick slice) on each plate and surround it with warm helva. Decorate with fresh raspberries and serve quickly, so the iced yoğurt does not melt.