with maya from bazek alim!
the other day i was strolling around tel aviv and i was a little bit blue because all of my travel companions had left the country without me (!!) and i still had one day until my flight. i mean, it was exciting because i still had one whole day and i could spend hours at the market debating between this za'atar and that za'atar or walk around my airbnb with no pants on if i wanted to, but that feeling of my trip being nearly over and that other feeling of having to navigate the bus system all by lonesome made me bluer than i should have been in such a sunny city. it felt like the last day of camp :(
but then suddenly, a jingle on my phone! (did you know that phones work kind of pretty well overseas now?!)
it was maya from bazek alim, saying something to the effect of, "hi! would you like to come over and make molten halva lava cakes???"
and all of my blues were gone. vanished! because halva and cake are my safe words and my kryptonite and my drugs of choice, all smashed together. maya inviting me over for halva cake was kind of like how in college if ever one of the percussion boys knew that i was in a salty mood, they could just compliment me on my hair and suddenly they'd be my best friend.
within five minutes of sitting down in maya's apartment/prop room, i had a halva cake from test batch #1 in my belly, a stack of not-yet-available-in-the-states cookbooks sitting on my lap, and a high powered air conditioner covering my person. fantastic!
we baked the afternoon away. we made halva pizza and inbal's cake. maya introduced me to tonka bean, i perused her prop shelves, we talked about blogs... halva was everywhere, caramel was everywhere.... it was glorious. the tastiest of afternoons.
when maya offered me a molten halva lava cake, i did what i always do with dessert. i ate one bite and savored the living daylights out of it, planning to not eat anymore since i knew that there would be more sweets soon. usually i can stick to this plan pretty well. this time i absolutely could not. somewhere between the chewy eggy outer cake and the smooth puddle of caramel that was flavored with just the right amount of tahini, i tossed my plan to the wind and downed the thing. i was bonkers for it.
they're fussy cakes to make, they over bake sooo easily (and i know from experience), but when they're right, they're right. and it still amazes me that they require such basic ingredients.
molten halva lava cakes
3/4 c sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tb water
1/2 c heavy cream
1/2 c unsalted butter, cut into cubes
4 tb raw tahini
2 tb flour
flaky sea salt, for topping
preheat the oven to 350f. grease six 1-cup individual ramekins or muffin tins.
place the sugar and salt in a wide heavy-bottomed pan. stir in the water and cook over high heat until sugar melts into a sandy puddle. once this happens, avoid stirring, to prevent crystallization. continue cooking sugar for 2-4 minutes until it turns a light amber color. reduce heat to low and carefully stir in the cream. continue to stir until mixture smooths out. add butter, cube by cube, stirring, until mixture is thick and homogeneous. remove from heat and let cool slightly.
gradually stir the eggs into the warm (but not hot) caramel mixture, one at a time, and then stir in the tahini. add flour and stir until smooth.
scoop mixture into the muffin tins and bake until puffed with a 1-inch jiggely circle in center, begin checking for doneness at 8 minutes.
sprinkle with flaky salt and enjoy!