Apple Walnut Halwa – a dessert-in-a hurry!

When monsoon humidity lifts and the air becomes crisp, the first thing I begin to crave for is some comfort food. Don’t you? Apple Walnut Halwa is my go-to-Autumn dessert. Now halwas are usually considered time consuming, laborious preparations and too rich in calories to be sought out on regular basis when one wants to satisfy sweet cravings in a hurry, right?! But not this Apple Walnut Halwa. Why? We’ll come to that in a while. First, the story of halwa – a centuries old comfort food.

Halwa – the journey from a rustic to royal indulgence:

The Arabic word “halwa” means ‘sweet confection’ and some historians place its origin in Byzantium, in the 12th century. The original version of halwa was a gelatinous pudding of flour, oil and sugar. Gradually the popularity of this Moorish dessert spread across the entire Middle East, the Mediterranean, Central Asia and South Asia. But perhaps no one in the culinary history of this world was a bigger fan than Suleiman the Magnificent, the powerful sultan in the Ottoman Empire, who built a special kitchen, called helvahane or house of halva, where more than two dozen varieties of the dessert were created.

All the Tempting Variations:

Each new place added it’s own touch to the sweet dish. Wheat flour was replaced by other grains, even by all sorts of vegetables and fruits, like carrots, pumpkins, dates, coconut, lentils and nuts. No matter what the main ingredients, halwa remains a rich, hearty and long lasting food, with its high levels of fat and carbohydrates, it’s considered more suitable for special occasions or as a source of energy for the winter season.

How To Make It Less Guilty:

Well, this particular Apple and Walnut Halwa is as comforting and hearty as any of its calorie rich counterparts but, keeping in mind our low activity life styles, I’ve tried to reduce the sugar and oil in it to the minimum levels possible. Apples are such deliciously sweet in themselves that they don’t require too much added sugar to pick up the flavours in the dish. And addition of walnuts makes the dish naturally very sumptuous. Just a touch of cinnamon, cardamom and very little brown sugar or jaggery makes the dish sweet enough to satisfy my craving.

One Special Tip:

Instead of adding the oil in the beginning for frying apples, I add oil right at the end to give colour and a Halwa-like-glossiness to my Apple Walnut Halwa. This way the dish does not soak up too much oil and gets the desired taste and look ….aaaand I get something that stops my sweet tooth from nagging me without overburdening my conscience.


3 apples
1 cup walnuts + a few more for garnishing
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/2 teaspoon green cardamom powder
2 tablespoons brown sugar or jaggery (gur)
2 tablespoons olive oil

This Is What You Do:

Peel, core and cut apples into cubes.

Add milk, cinnamon, cardamom and apples to a saucepan or wok. Cook covered over medium low heat till apples are really soft and milk mostly reduced.

Add sugar, allow it to melt and keep cooking uncovered another 4-5 minutes or till all the liquid evaporates and the halwa begins to turn brownish.

Coarsely crush 1 cup walnuts. Add walnuts and oil to halwa. Keep stirring frequently to avoid the mixture from getting burnt.

The ready halwa doesn’t stick to the pan anymore and the oil separates and can be seen on the edges.

Serve warm, garnished with walnut halves.

Serves 2-3

24 Replies to “Apple Walnut Halwa”

  1. You know I love history and especially food history! Wish I was Suleiman the Magnificenthalve tester! πŸ˜€ Now this apple halwa I will try making for my father-in-law. It is his birthday shortly and since he cannot eat walnuts I will make it without any nuts for him. You can guess where most of the halwa will be ending up! Will take pics and tag you. Thanks

  2. Apple halwa looks so delicious. Its an easy to prepare and healthy sweet treat as it requires less sugar. I made some a few days ago and hubby loved it.

  3. I love this, Maria, not just for the flavour but also that you’ve only got 2 Tbsp of olive oil in there. I always feel so unhealthy after making and eating the traditional halwa! George’s 100 days is tomorrow and I was planning to make halwa, I’m going to try yours here.

  4. Apple and walnut are one awesome combo that goes hand in hand…making it as Halwa is great idea …the Halwa looks lip smacking

  5. Love the combo of apple and walnut here. The halwa looks super delish.
    Addition of jaggery also is making much healthy too

  6. Apple and walnut go so well together. Halwa looks so scrumptious, rich and tempting, I’ll first try with sugar then jaggery, greedy right πŸ˜‰

  7. Oh my, the halva looks absolutely delectable. Indeed a hearty treat that I can enjoy anytime. I am sure walnuts would have added a great crunch and flavour to it. Can’t wait to try it soon; thanks for the share !!

  8. Loved this apple walnut halwa. I never though about the word halwa has such meaning. thanks for sharing this information Maria. Moreoever adding jaggery gives it a great healthier version.

  9. It feels good to read about the history of halwa. I have a liking for fruit/ vegetable based halwas and I’m sure this is going to top the list. Bookmarking..

  10. This is definitely one hearty and comforting halwa! I have a big sweet tooth and I can never say no to any kind of halwa or sweet for that matter πŸ˜€ This halwa looks delicious!

  11. Never thought of this apple walnut combination in halwa, seriously very interesting and quite a unique combo for halwa, well done.

  12. Wow, this is really simple and doable. Considering the fact I love sweets and I have to reduce them in the interest of my good health πŸ™ (rolling eyes will be an appropriate emoticon) I am happy that I can have my favourite halwa in this healthy form.
    Thanks, my dear I am in love with the halwa. As for the history of halwa it is interesting.

  13. Apple and walnut are superb combo. Halwa looks delish. Adding jaggery made it healthy too. Jaggery is always a best option. Lovely share.

  14. Thanks for the wonderful narration of the histor of halva! Didn’t know about the special halva kitchens πŸ™‚ love the idea of apple walnut halva and I like the fact that because apples are naturally so sweet that this halva doesn’t need a lot of sugar.. I am thinking that adding dates would completely eliminate the need for sugar! Going to try soon πŸ™‚ thanks for sharing!

    1. Completely agree with you!My personal choice for most desserts is also jaggery. It has a molasses like depth and combined with spices, definitely tastes better than sugar.
      Thank you so much for your kind feedback. Hope you will enjoy! 😊

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