This dense, sweet cake benefits hugely from being made the day before you want to eat it, allowing the semolina to soak up the syrup and soften, explained Rebecca Seal, author of the cookbook Istanbul. There is any number of variations from across the country and surrounding regions-some stud the top with almonds, others sprinkle it with pistachios. You can also make it with orange blossom water or grated coconut. It's delicious served with fresh berries, as in this recipe; their tartness cuts through the sweetness of the cake. A slice is a lovely foil to a short, strong cup of rich Turkish coffee or a cup of black tea.
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