Semolina Cake

Makes 24 pieces

11/2 cups regular grade semolina flour (not fine)

21/4 cups sugar

6 tablespoons softened unsalted butter

Scant 11/2 cups yogurt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon tahini

11/2 teaspoons lemon juice

4 teaspoons rose water

4 teaspoons orange blossom water

24 blanched almonds (about 1/3 cup)

In a mixing bowl, place

11/2 cups regular grade semolina flour

scant 1/4 cup sugar

6 tablespoons softened unsalted butter

Work together with your hands until well blended. Add

Scant 11/2 cups yogurt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Mix well to make a firm batter. Grease an 8- by 12- by 11/2-inch pan with

1 teaspoon tahini

Spread the batter evenly in the pan. Flatten it gently with the back of a spoon and cover with a clean dishtowel. Let rest for three hours.

While you are waiting, you can make the syrup, which must be cool before using.

Place

2 cups sugar

3/4 cup water

11/2 teaspoons lemon juice

in a saucepan and cook over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stir occasionally and let it bubble for 3 minutes. Stir in

4 teaspoons rose water

4 teaspoons orange blossom water

let bubble for just a few seconds and then remove from the heat. Cool before using. The syrup will keep in the refrigerator for at least a week.

Back to the cake: preheat the oven to 400°. You will need

24 blanched almonds (about 1/3 cup)

Cut the uncooked cake into 2-inch squares and press one almond into the center of each. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until golden.

Remove from the oven and pour the cooled syrup all over. Let the cake stand for 30 minutes to soak up the syrup. If you think the amount of syrup is excessive, reduce the quantity to your taste. Bear in mind that the cake will take time to absorb the syrup and although it may look as if it’s swimming in syrup to start, it will be fully absorbed within 30 minutes.

Adapted from Mediterranean Street Food, by Anissa Helou

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