I used to love Cream of Wheat (farina) for breakfast growing up, but of course, that included sprinkling lots of sugar over the top. Having outgrown the sugary breakfast phase, I tend not to reach for the farina unless I'm baking a tray of Spanakopita, since there is a little in the filling. That said, the rest usually sits in the pantry and ends up going to waste. I have made a few bread recipes with farina over the years, but I wanted to try something different and settled on this version of a semolina cake - inspired by Paklava. This recipe is an adaptation of that found in the Treasured Armenian Recipes cookbook.
Although this is referred to as a cake, don't be expecting that texture. Because this is made from farina, it has a denser texture. I want to say more brownie like, but that's not it either - closer in density but wrong texture. Polenta maybe?
6 oz bag pecan (or walnut) halves (roughly 2c)
1 1/2 c sugar
1 c (2 sticks) melted butter
14 oz (1 3/4 c) farina
1 1/2 t cinnamon
1 1/2 c sugar
1 1/2 c water
2 t lemon juice
Pistachios (optional) - just take a few, finely chopped
- In a dry pan, lightly toast the pecans, stirring occasionally, until fragrant. Remove from heat, let cool, then chop; set aside.
- Beat together the eggs and sugar until very light and fluffy.
- Melt the butter (microwave is fine), and let cool a little so you don't end up with bits of scrambled egg, then slowly stream into the egg mixture.
- Stir in the farina, cinnamon, and chopped nuts.
- Transfer to sprayed 11x7" pan and bake at 350 for 35-40" until set - (time will vary with pan size) top will be brown, and edges will start to pull away from the sides.
- Place pan on rack to cool, then cut into diamonds.
- Stirring to dissolve the sugar, bring the 1 1/2 c sugar and 1 1/2 c water up to a boil. Add the lemon juice and simmer for about 5", then pour evenly over the top of the cooled cake. Start with about half the syrup, wait a bit to see how much it will soak up, then add more as desired.
- Decorate each diamond with a bit of pistachio "dust." Works best with in shell pistachios, since pre-shelled nuts are roasted to a darker color and difficult to remove the skins from - when you use them straight out of the shell, they are that nice bright green, and the dry skins will usually rub right off.