Rose pistachio semolina cake (and mint tea)

Rose pistachio semolina cake with its subtle hints of rose and citrus, this cake is the perfect palate cleanser after a spicy meal – best served with mint tea. The syrup not only adds flavour and moisture but was an old-time way of preserving the cake without refrigeration.

Decorate the cake with roses. Use the outer layer of petals to scatter, then slice each rose in half and place on top of the cake.

Serves 8

Ingredients

½ cup pistachio nuts
2 cups semolina
1T baking powder
²/³ cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1¼ cups buttermilk
¾ cup melted butter
1t vanilla essence
1 orange, zested (use juice for the syrup, below)
1t rose water

For the syrup:
²/³ cup honey
¾ cup freshly squeezed orange juice (about 3 oranges)
1T lemon juice
1T rose water

Method

Preheat oven to 180˚C. Line a 26cm-round baking tin with baking paper.

Toast ¼ cup pistachios, then chop them.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together semolina, pistachio nuts, baking powder and sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and buttermilk together until fluffy.

Gradually add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients until well combined.

Continue mixing while adding butter, vanilla essence, orange zest and rose water.

Pour batter into the cake tin and bake for 40 minutes.

Simmer the syrup ingredients in a saucepan on medium heat for 10 minutes, then set aside.

Once baked, remove the cake from the oven and immediately pour over the syrup, allowing it to sink in.

To serve, crush leftover pistachios and sprinkle over cake. If you like, use four roses for decoration (see below).

Mint Tea

The tea ceremony is an age-old custom in Morocco to make guests feel welcome in your home. A large bunch of spearmint is usually used, but a subtler garden mint is just as fragrant. Serve it in small, pretty glasses before or after a meal, or both!

Add 3 cups of fresh mint to a tea pot with ¼ cup brown sugar.
Pour over 5 cups of boiling water and stir.
Leave to brew for 10 minutes and stir again before serving. Serves 8

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