Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Semolina Pudding


Yeah. Sorry about that. A two week lull after what was a phoned in post to begin with is kind of a harsh toke. A brief early spring funk set in, leaving me with the overwhelming urge to do nothing but go through the motions.

And watch a lot of bad movies. Like, Bruce Campbell bad.

I did manage too eek out something interesting a few weeks ago- A semolina pudding. This was inspired by Heather of Gild the (voodoo)lily. Last February, she was in Seattle and met my sister and I for drinks. Over wine and blog gossip, she told me about her upcoming Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24 feast that focused on African cuisine (Heather's 24's are always insane. She has another one up featuring nettles. It's so springy and delightful I could just wet myself). Anyway, she mentioned the hominy grits pudding she was planning to end the meal with. Which is where I realized that in nearly ten years of baking for a living, I had never once made a cooked cereal like that for dessert.


After Heather's post, I began tinkering. So as to not completely rip her off, I explored the flavors of Spain and Morocco. Sweet spices like cardamom, star anise, and cinnamon; the pulp of a vanilla bean, orange zest, and saffron. I opted for semolina over hominy, as it is what I had on hand and seemed to snuggle up with the flavors I was working with.

The warmly scented semolina is cooked, egg is added. Then it's baked in a water bath until it's just set. I baked mine in individual ramekins, because thats usually how I roll- but you could make a big one. You'll have to adjust the baking time.

To garnish, I gave it a drizzle of the clear seville orange caramel I had in the fridge, fresh blood oranges (because they're pretty), fresh mint, crushed salty marcona almonds, and a naughty little dollop of rose scented whipped cream. It made for a lovely weekend dessert special.


I will leave you with the recipe for my version, but the method is a canvas.
I encourage you to play.

Semolina Pudding
serves 7

2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 cardamom pods, crushed
1/2 of a cinnamon stick
1/4 of a vanilla bean, split open
1 star anise
pinch saffron
1/4 cup + 2 Tb semolina
2 oz. butter
1/2 tsp grated orange zest
pinch sea salt
3 eggs
1 egg yolk

Bring the milk, sugar, spices, vanilla bean, and saffron to a boil. Cover, remove from heat, and let steep for one hour.

Cut parchment paper into circles the same size as your ramekins.
spray 7 3" ramekins with pan spray. Line the bottoms with parchment paper circles and spray again. Place ramekins in a roasting pan that has been lined with a tea towel (prevents sliding).

Whisk eggs, yolk, and salt together in a bowl
Return the infused milk to a boil. Strain into a clean pot and bring back to a boil. Slowly whisk in the semolina. Continue whisking over medium heat until mixture has thickened- about 4 or 5 minutes.

Pour a small amount of cooked pudding into the eggs and whisk well. Then, whisk the tempered eggs into the pot. Add the butter and orange zest, then spoon pudding into prepared ramekins. Pour very hot water into the roasting pan until the ramekins are at least 3/4 of the way submerged. Cover pan with foil.

Poke holes in the foil and bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes. Lift the corner of the foil to release steam (Be Careful!!), then recover and bake about 20-30 minutes longer, or until puddings are set. Cool to room temperature- at least an hour, then invert onto plates. Don't forget to peel off the parchment paper!
Serve with your preferred accompaniments



cook eat FRET said...

why must you torture me so?

WHY ???

i really want this. would love this... etc.

damn you, pie lady.

Emily said...

Oooh nice. This sounds delicious with all of the Spanish/Moroccan flavors you used.

I love the new look of your blog, by the way!

Elyse said...

What a fabulous looking pudding. Man, I could really go for a ramekin of this pudding right about now. Great recipe!

Foodycat said...

Lovely! Would you gain anything by separating the eggs and whisking the whites? I love the idea of the semolina custard, but I feel like something fluffier could be good to.

And don't diss Bruce Campbell.

Brooke said...

This looks like I need it to be in my belly right now. Love the flavors you used. I second Claudia; damn you.

I'm with you on early spring doldroms too. I think it's still winter in my mind. The weater is not helping either.

peter said...

I've spent all of our best spring days inside, working, with almost no outdoor time, and feeling pretty pissy about it. Now I can add a complete lack of pudding to my long list of grievances.

matt wright said...

rocking. I love me a good pudding, and this one looks awesome. Never had a Semolina one I don't think. Love the spices.

Superchef said...

what a fabulous pudding!!! love the flavours in it!

Brittany said...

Claudia- I think this would be right up your alley. Which is why I torture you.

Em- Thank you! That would be due to the help of my computer literate sister...

Elyse- thanks!

Foody- An early test batch of this involved the whipping of egg whites (I was using Claudia Fleming's recipe as a guide), and I wasn't crazy about it- But then, I was looking for a denser, more custardy pudding. If whipped egg whites tickle your fancy, you should check out her book....and yeah, after enough vodka/sugar free red bulls, Army of Darkness becomes a comic gem.

Brooke- It's fucking bullshit. I'm coming down with S.A.D. All I want to do is lye around and watch tween vampire movies and eat fudgesicles

Peter- Whatever. You're always pissy. At least you've had what could be considered "spring days". It snowed today.

Matt- I was surprised how much I loved this. Hooray for poodin'

Superchef- thay are lovely spices, aren't they? Can't go wrong.

Peabody said...

Oh, I am loving that.

jen said...

Just had to comment about the bread and chocolate recipe from several posts ago. Made it last night for my book club and it was a HUGE hit. Definitely a keeper.

The Spiteful Chef said...

Eeeeeeeh! I LOVE starchy puddings. LOVE! And semolina is just fun to work with anyway. Thankyouthankyouthankyou. Moroccan flavors are the shit anyhow.

Heather said...

Oh man, I've been gone way too long. Stupid field work!

Okay, your version looks way, way better than mine. Good thinking on using semolina - less grainy, easier to hit that pudding texture sweetspot.

I'm so flattered that you got an idea from me (even though you basically took a blank page and wrote the great American novel)! Thanks for the link love.

AnticiPlate said...

Never had anything like this, but I am anxious to try. I am basically a sucker for anything in a ramekin:) hahah!

Baking Monster said...

This looks splendid!

Mermaid Sweets said...

Ohhh this looks fabulous, love the flavors.

tasteofbeirut said...

I love the photos and the pudding! In Lebanese cuisine, semolina is it!
fyi, i am doing a giveway with goodies I brought back with me from Beirut a few days ago, if interested.

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