This month's French Fridays with Dorie selections have all been quick and easy to prepare, and in most cases delicious. It is always wonderful to have such memorable food in the arsenal for weeknight dinners, or when having over friends. This week's selection, the Caramel Topped Semolina Cake, was no exception.
When I hear semolina I think about pasta, but in this case the cake is made from farina, which most Americans know as Cream of Wheat. It is kind of a flan-type cake, a little custardy with a thin caramel top, and also a bit rustic and simple and comforting. As written the cake is very simple and plain in looks and taste, and a snap to prepare.
It starts with making a batch of Cream of Wheat, using whole milk instead of water for a richer, thicker cereal. While that cools, the caramel is made and poured into the cake pan. Dorie has this great trick of warming the pan in the preheating oven so that the caramel will spread and cover the bottom of the pan evenly.
The recipe calls for plump golden raisins, but I am not much of a raisin fan. I fired them and used plump dried sour cherries--a wonderful substitution regardless of how you feel about raisins. I plumped up the cherries by simmering them in a bit of water for a couple of mniutes, then letting them steam dry in a colander while I made the rest of the cake.
So to the cooked and cooled farina, a couple of eggs are stirred in as well as some vanilla and the sour cherries. No spices are called for, but next time I would want to add a little fresh nutmeg or cardamom. Cinnamon would be an obvious add-in, but I think something a little more aromatic would offset all that creaminess really nicely.
The farina custard is poured into the pan atop the caramel, and baked for about 20 minutes. The cake is unmolded right away and left to cool. I overbaked my cake a tad, as the edges looked a little too set compared to the middle.
This was a delicious cake, and a wonderful springboard to what could be even more interesting with the addition of some spices. This was so simple, and so comforting that it would be a perfect weekend treat in front of the fire with friends.