Semolina Cake (Torta di semolino)
Posted by bakinghistory on August 4, 2007
A classic Italian cake with a creamy texture and a nice flavor of almonds and lemon zest
From the original recipe by Pellegrino Artusi
In: “La Scienza in Cucina e l’Arte di Mangiar Bene” 1891–Italy
1 quart (1 liter) whole milk
3/4 cup (130 g) fine semolina
3/4 cup (130 g) sugar
3/4 cup (100 g) blanched almonds (whole)
1-1/2 tbsp (20 g) butter (unsalted)
grated zest of 1 (organic) lemon
1/8 tsp (.5 ml) pure almond extract (or to taste)
1 pinch of salt
Confectioners’ sugar to sprinkle on top
Grind the almonds with the sugar until very fine and set aside. If the almonds are not ground fine enough this will affect the texture of the cake, making it gritty rather than smooth.
Bring the milk to a boil with a pinch of salt and the lemon zest, then add the semolina little by little, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Cook the semolina for about 8 minutes, on low heat, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Then add the almond-sugar mixture and cook for 1 minute more, finally add the butter and stir until well mixed. Take off the heat, mix in the almond extract and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350° F (180°C) and lightly oil a 10-inch (25 cm) springform pan.
When the semolina mixture is lukewarm add the eggs (the eggs should be beaten and put through a fine strainer). Mix well until the mixture is smooth and glossy. Distribute the semolina mixture in the pan and bake for about 45 minutes, or until golden on top.
Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack. When cold unmold the cake and cut it into diamonds or squares. Sift confectioners’ sugar on top only when ready to serve, or it will make the cake soggy.
Refrigerate any remaining portions.