Italian Semolina Cake

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When it comes to food I’m a compulsory buyer. Whenever I see some ingredient that could possibly be changed into a delicious cake/dinner/breakfast I buy it. The result is that my pantry is full of different types of, for example, flour that are not so easy to use in a regular bread recipe. But there is an upside to this: I absolutely hate throwing out food and always try to use every edible bit of fruit and veggie, so I look for new recipes and experiment (is there anything better in the kitchen?). Whenever I feel like making a cake (which to be honest happens a couple of times per week, the only factor keeping the amount of the cake coming out of our oven more or less restricted is our capacity to eat it..), I first need to search for a new and yet unknown dessert using one of the ‘not-so-necessary-to-have’ pantry products. 

This weekend I decided it’s about time to use the bag of semolina I got a while ago. I was planning originally to make a lemon polenta cake with it, but semolina and polenta have a bit different texture, so I decided to go for a cake where a very fine grain of semolina can fully shine. I found an incredible blog by Emiko Davies, where she tries to modernise old Italian recipes (awesome, right?). This semolina cake is very easy to make. The final texture is very smooth and delicate. I found it even a bit too delicate. But that is easily fixed by serving the cake with some nice preserves. I think cherries or black currants work magic with this cake and make it an absolutely wonderful dessert. 

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Italian Semolina Cake
adapted from Emiko Davies
  •  1 litre whole milk
  • 130 g fine grain semolina
  • 100 g blanched almonds
  • 120 g sugar
  • zest of 2 lemons (1 in original recipe, but i like the more lemony taste)
  • 20 g of butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
Before you start prepare the almond flour. You can either do it in the food processor and blend the almonds until you get the meal and then mix it with sugar. The other (harder and better) option is to do it in mortar and pestle as recommended by Emiko. The result will be more even and the extra oil from the almonds will further improve the texture. It takes some time to prepare but definitely worth the effort.
 
  1. Heat up you oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Line a 26 cm baking shape with baking paper.
  3. Mix milk with semolina and bring to boil over a small heat. Keep whisking it constantly to avoid lumps and burning.
  4. Cook it for around 8 minutes, until it thickens. It should have a very smooth, velvety texture.
  5. Just before taking of the fire, add the almond meal (mixed with sugar), butter, lemon zest and a pinch of salt and whisk until combine.
  6. Take it off the fire and let cool for around 15 minutes.
  7. Stir in the lightly beaten eggs.
  8. Pour into the buttered and floured form.
  9. Bake for 1 hour or until it’s evenly browned at the top.
  10. Cool it completely and dust with the icing sugar.
Tastes best drizzled with a lightly warmed up cherry preserve.
Enjoy!
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