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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Coconut Semolina Cake

There's a certain type of Pan Dulce that my husband loves.  For some reason, none of the panaderia's around here seem to make them.  They're called Borrachos.  Yes, drunks.  I imagine that the liquor-laced syrup they're drenched in earned them this name.  I'm smart like that.  Although, the sweet syrup doesn't necessarily have to contain any alcohol.  That's just a bonus.

And being the awesome food-blogging wife that I am, I told him I'd make him a batch of borrachos.  Someday.  That at least a year or two ago.  He's still waiting.
Sometimes it takes me a while.  I mean, there are a lot of foods and recipes vying for my attention.  I cannot be expected to get any particular one made in a timely manner.  They happen when they happen.

Fortunately, food is a universal language.  And therefore, sometimes...just crosses borders.  Cuisines overlap here and there.  Our favorite dish that we know and love from one country can be seen winking at you in a slightly altered form from another country.  And that is exactly what happened with this Coconut Semolina Cake (also known as Basbousa or Namoura).
This is a dense cake that is made without eggs.  It uses semolina flour and unsweetened, dessicated coconut to form a thick batter that once cooked, reminds me almost of cornbread in its texture.  And then you drench it ( fill it with liquid and make it drunk) in a sweet, rosewater-scented syrup known as Qatar.  You could also use orange blossom water, but I have a "thing" for rosewater, so if I'm getting the chance to use it, I'm taking it.

My husband took one bite and happily noted that it was just like those pan dulces he'd been telling me about called Borrachos.  "Hmmmmmm.  Yes.  I think I remember you mentioning those..."  {wink}

So Faith, I'm thinking "Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Mexican Flair".  It has a kind of ring to it, no?

Coconut Semolina Cake

by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes + 2 hours to let ca
Keywords: bake dessert vegetarian soy-free almonds coconut semolina cake Middle Eastern

Ingredients (serves 10-12)
    scented sugar syrup
    • 2 c. (500 g) sugar
    • 1 c. (250 ml) water
    • 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
    • 1 Tbs. rose water or orange blossom water
    • 1 Tbs. tahini, to grease the baking pan
    • 2 c. (305 g) fine semolina flour
    • 2 tsp. baking powder
    • ½ c. (115 g) sugar
    • ½ c. (115 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
    • 1½ c. (375 ml) milk
    • 1 c. (75 g) desiccated, unsweetened coconut
    • 3 Tbs. blanched almonds
    Prepare the Scented Sugar Syrup (yields ~2 c./500 ml of thin syrup):
    Add the sugar, water and lemon juice to a medium, thick-bottomed saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium heat, giving the pan an occasional swirl and skimming off any foam on the surface.

    Turn heat down slightly and boil 2 minutes (for a thin syrup), swirling the pan occasionally. (The syrup will thicken more upon cooling.)

    Turn off heat and stir in the rose water or orange blossom water; cool to room temperature, then use.

    Finish the cake:
    Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C); brush the tahini on the inside of a 10-inch (25 cm) round baking pan.
    Whisk together the semolina, baking powder, and sugar in a large bowl. Stir in the butter and then the milk until combined, and then fold in the coconut.

    Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and spread it out evenly; let it sit for 10 minutes.

    Score the batter into 1-inch (2.5 cm) square or diamond shapes with a sharp knife, periodically dipping the knife in hot water and drying it off before continuing to score the batter; place 1 almond in the center of each diamond.
    Bake until the sides and top are golden brown, about 30 minutes. (If the sides are brown but the top isn’t, you can broil the cake for a couple minutes to brown the top.)

    Once out of the oven, cut the cake along the lines you scored. Slowly pour the cooled syrup onto the hot cake. Let the cake sit at room temperature 2 hours to absorb the syrup before serving.

    You can also make this syrup for other uses. If you'd like a thick syrup, let it simmer for up to 5 minutes (yielding: 1⅓ c./320 ml).

    Recipe courtesy of An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair by Faith Gorsky (Tuttle Publishing; Nov. 2012); reprinted with permission.
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    I am very excited to be taking part in A Mid-East Feast, a 4-week event celebrating the upcoming release of the cookbook An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair by Faith of An Edible Mosaic.  Brandy from Nutmeg Nanny is hosting and eight other food bloggers, including myself are participating.  Join us as we try a few of Faith's recipes and get cozy with this beautiful book.  If you have a moment, stop by and check out everybody's posts and be prepared to get hungry for A Mid-East Feast!

    Brandy - Nutmeg Nanny | Amanda - Fake Ginger | Jeanette – Jeanette’s Healthy Living | Gina – Running to the Kitchen |Joanne – Eats Well With Others | Heather - girlichef | Natasha – Five Star Foodie | Megan – What’s Megan Making | Rachel – Baked by Rachel  
    I am also sharing this post with:
    Miz- Helen-Badge-ALT5 10p6820 foodfriday