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      RECIPE TITLE "Semolina and Ground Almond Cake -- Samali" Author: Glorious Foods of Greece: Traditional Recipes from the Islands, Cities, and Villages Copyright © 2001 by Diane Kochilas

    yields 24 pieces time--- difficulty easy

    One of the great sweets of Thessaloniki, made in pastry shops, at home, and hawked from small carts on the streets all around the Kapani market.

      RECIPE INGREDIENTS

    1 cup (2 sticks) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
    1 cup confectioners' sugar
    4 large eggs, separated
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1-1/2 cups coarse semolina
    2 scant teaspoons baking powder
    1 cup finely ground blanched almonds
    1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
    Pinch of salt
    1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

    For the syrup:
    2-1/2 cups granulated sugar
    2 cups water
    1 small cinnamon stick
    4 to 5 whole cloves, to taste
    One 1-inch strip lemon zest
    2 tablespoons brandy

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      RECIPE METHOD

    1. With an electric mixer in a large bowl, whip the cup of butter until soft. Add the confectioners' sugar a little at a time and whip until fluffy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the vanilla and continue whipping for about 5 minutes.
    2. Combine the semolina, baking powder, almonds, and lemon zest in a small bowl. Slowly add the semolina mixture to the butter and sugar, beating to combine thoroughly.
    3. Preheat the oven to 375°. Butter a 12- by 18-inch glass baking pan. In a medium metal bowl, place the egg whites, salt, and lemon juice and whip with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold the meringue into the semolina mixture, working fast to combine. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until set, 35 to 40 minutes.
    4. About 15 minutes before the samali is finished baking, prepare the syrup: Combine the granulated sugar and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. As soon as the sugar dissolves, add the spices, zest, and brandy. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the syrup is viscous, about 10 minutes.
    5. When the samali is baked, pull it out of the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 300°F. Score it into 3-inch square pieces with a sharp paring knife. Pour the warm syrup over the hot samali and place back in the oven. Bake until the syrup is absorbed, another 5 to 7 minutes, and remove from the oven. Let cool and serve.



    HOT! We recommend:

    Glorious Foods of Greece Glorious Foods of Greece
    In beautiful prose and with more than four hundred unusual recipes— many of them never before recorded — invites us to a Greece few visitors ever get to see. Along the way she serves up feast after feast of food, history, and culture from a land where the three have been intertwined since time immemorial.

    In an informed introduction, she sets the historic framework of the cuisine, so that we clearly see the differences among the earthy mountain cookery, the sparse, ingenious island table, and the sophisticated aromaticcooking traditions of the Greeks in diaspora. In each chapter she takes stock of the local pantry and cooking customs. From the olive-laden Peloponnesos, she brings us such unusual dishes as One-Pot Chicken Simmered with Artichokes and served with Tomato-Egg-Lemon Sauce and VineLeaves Stuffed with Salt Cod. From the Venetian-influenced Ionian islands, she offers up such delights asPastry-Cloaked Pasta from Corfu filled with cheese and charcuterie and delicious Bread Pudding from Ithaca with zabaglione. Her mainland recipes, as well as those that hail from Greece's impenetrable northwestern mountains, offer an enticing array of dozens of delicious savory pies, unusual greens dishes, and succulent meat preparations such as Lamb with Garlic and Cheese Baked in Paper. In Macedonia she documents the complex, perfumed, urbane cuisine that defines that region. In the Aegean islands, she serves up a wonderful repertory of exotic yet simple foods, reminding us how accessible — and healthful — is the Greek fegional table.

    The result is a cookbook unlike any other that has ever been written on Greek cuisine, one that brims with the author's love and knowledge of her subject, a tribute to the vibrant, multifaceted continuum of Greek cooking, both highly informed and ever inviting. The Glorious Foods of Greece is an important work, one that contributes generously to the culinary literature and is sure to become the definitive book of Greek cuisine and culture for future generations of food lovers — Greek and non-Greek alike.


     

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