Shamali

Don’t forget you can order your copy of ‘Androula’s Kitchen- Cyprus on a Plate’ on this site at a very special price just click on the Home Page and follow the links. Why not buy it for a friend for Christmas? Read the reviews by clicking on the menu bar.

Well Happy New Year to all, we have passed to the other side of Christmas and arrived in 2012 safely  and in one piece.

It has been quite a busy time over the last week as I’ve had my head down over the computer screen and keyboard in ernest…but obviously not to blog! I came up for air today and decided I’d try my hand at a recipe for a cake called Shamali that my cousin Elenitza gave me to put in my book ‘Androula’s Kitchen’. This cake, found in all good Greek pastry shops and restaurants is  also called a “Kalon Prama”  which means a good thing. Like many Greek pastries it is soaked in a sticky syrup. This, as a lot of the recipes I collected, has many different versions, but they all look like this:

It’s  a simple recipe and has quite a coarse texture due to the fact that it’s made with semolina. It also has yoghurt in it unusually. I have made this cake a couple of times since Elenitza gave me  the recipe but this is the first time it’s come out exactly as it should and it even tastes the same.

Practice makes perfect.

Here is the recipe if you want to try it at home:

4 eggs separated and the whites beaten until stiff

180g  caster sugar

580g semolina (fine)

200g plain yoghurt

195g butter or 213ml of sunflower oil

3 or 4 granules masticha crushed

4 or 5  drops of vanilla essence (or almond essence)

2 teaspoons of baking powder

A handful of blanched almonds for the top

SYRUP

480g caster sugar

568ml water

Squeeze of lemon juice (1 tablespoon) or orange juice or orange water.

1 cinnamon stick

Pre- heat the oven gas mark 4/180C

To make the cake: cream the butter and the sugar together until very creamy. Add the eggs yolks individually beating well each time. Then add the yoghurt and gradually add the semolina mixing thoroughly. Mix together with the baking powder, masticha and vanilla essence and beat well until all the ingredients are incorporated. Then gently fold in the egg whites. The mixture should have a stiff batter-like consistency. Pour into a shallow greased baking tin 22cm square and put in the oven. After 10 minutes remove the cake and place the almonds on top then replace in the oven for a further 35–40 minutes. When the cake has turned golden, test the centre with a fork to check that it is cooked thoroughly.

While the cake is cooking make the syrup. In a pan, melt the sugar in the water and then add the cinnamon stick and lemon juice. Bring to the boil and then lower the heat and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the syrup thickens. Remove the cinnamon stick. When the cake is cooked leave it for 10 minutes to rest then pierce evenly all over with toothpick and pour over the syrup.

Enjoy.

Don’t forget you can order your copy of ‘Androula’s Kitchen- Cyprus on a Plate’ on this site at a very special price just click on the Home Page and follow the links. Why not buy it for a friend for Christmas? Read the reviews by clicking on the menu bar.

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