With the rise of Islam, trade between the Islamic empire and Europe began. Durum wheat was one of the Muslim world's biggest exports. Also, with the Islamic empire spreading all the way to Southern Italy, durum wheat inevitably made its way into Europe as a pasta.
It's hard to say exactly how the dessert itself came to be, but it seems to follow a common theme with most of the desserts: bread-like, very very sweet, and buttery. It also doesn't require too many ingredients.The basic list of ingredients is semolina flour, sugar, milk, water (or rose/orange blossom water) and almonds/pistachios. I would suggest getting some rose/orange blossom water for this one because it really adds flavour. My recipe uses coconut flakes as well, going back to my coconut problem, but you could easily eliminate it. Though I don't know why, when you could have sweet, crunchy, coconut...
It's simple enough to make, but one piece is really all you want. So make sure you know more than two people, since you'll need help finishing all of this. Or I suppose you could just half the recipe. That would be smarter. But I didn't think of that. So I have a tray of syrupy delights and not enough space to run circles in.
Total Preparation Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 4 huge portions, 8 large portions, or 16 reasonable portions
2 cups of semolina
1 cup of dried coconut (unsweetened)
1/2 cup sugar150 g (3/4 cup) butter
1 cup of milksyrup
1 1/2 cup of sugar or honey1 1/2 cups of water or 1/2 cup orange blossom/rose water 1 cup of water
2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
Cake1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. Mix all ingredients3. Add to a buttered dish
4. With a wet spoon, or hands, flatten down batter in dish so it is smooth and evenly distributed5. You can almonds to decorate the top either before or after it is baked
6. Put in oven.Syrup
7. Add all ingredients to a pot
8. Bring to a near-boil while constantly stirring on high heat
10. Syrup should be clear, but not caramelized11. Once cake is golden brown on top, take out of oven
12. Cut into squares or diamonds13. Pour syrup all over and let it stand for a couple hours to cool and soak
And done and done. Serve it with strong coffee and lots of water. It tastes better by day two when the syrup has fully absorbed and each bite is like biting into a bag of flavoured sugar with buttery goodness.