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Citrus, Semolina and Pistachio Slice and Best Friends Forever

February 23, 2010 · 22 comments

in Baking,Sweets

Citrus, pistachio and semolina slice plated

I’m not sure I’ve changed that much over the last 25 years. I mean, I’ve been to a lot of places, sure, but changed? My best friend from primary school says I look exactly like I did when I was 5. I’d like to think I’m kinder than I was as a teenager, more tolerant and less self-conscious now, but I’m not at all sure.

I met Anna when we were both 15. She asked me if I wanted to wag school and go and hang out up the road. Just having switched from a uniformed Catholic girls’ school to a new, more liberal school with mufti, I was rather flattered.

We were sort of opposites. Anna was never too confident in class but in the playground, she was the cool girl everyone wanted to be like. School, for me, was a cinch but outside the classroom I wasn’t always sure of my footing despite my bravado.

We used to eat all sorts of things together on the occasions we ought to have been in school: mini-pizzas on pita bread, bananas dipped in yoghurt, pistachio nuts that mum put in my lunch. I remember feta was a great favourite of hers.

For a while after school finished, I think Anna felt that she wasn’t *good* at school. I went to university and discovered that being good at passing tests doesn’t mean you’ll do well when you actually have to analyse something.

We’ve known each other a long time now and those sorts of distinctions have become unimportant: she’s found what she loves to do and believe it or not, it’s about as academic as it gets. She’s really come into her own. I’ve uh, set up house in lots of countries and started this blog.

Something that has never changed though, is Anna’s good taste in food. Whenever we get together we eat and the last time we met, she mentioned that as a child she loved semolina pudding so when I came across this recipe for pistachio, semolina and citrus slice, I knew I would make it and post it for her. I’m sure that when she is old, she will be just as fun to cook and eat with and full of a lifetime of grace.

What quality do you hope to have when you are old and look back on your life?

Citrus, pistachio and semolina slice in tin

Pistachio, Semolina and Citrus Slice

I’m afraid this is also just stuck into one of my scrapbooks but if anyone happens to know where it’s from, feel free to chime in.

This slice is sticky and sweet like baklava. Unless you’re in the market for that type of thing I wouldn’t recommend it. If you are, it’s heaven. Since there’s so little flour, I imagine it wouldn’t be too difficult to make it gluten free, though I haven’t tried it.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 Fahrenheit) and grease a 20 x 30 cm slice tin, lining it with pieces of baking paper that are too long so that they overhang on the sides to make it easier to remove the baked slice.

For the slice

100 grams (2/3 cup) shelled unsalted pistachios

200 grams (4/5 cup) butter

160 grams (2/3 cup) caster sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1 tablespoon orange zest (I used lemon zest)

2 eggs

60 grams(1/2 cup) all purpose flour

1 scant teaspooon baking powder

125ml (1/2 cup) orange juice (blood orange would be nice here, just to be really fancy)

185 grams (1 1/2 cups) fine semolina

Toast the nuts in the oven for 10 minutes, cool and chop quite finely – not a powder but you don’t want great chunks either.

Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes with a handmixer. Add the vanilla, zest and eggs and beat again until light.

Add the flour, baking powder, semolina, orange juice and chopped pistachios and fold in carefully.

Spread into the tin evenly and bake for 30 minutes or until golden and coming away from the sides a bit.

Cool on a rack for a few minutes and pour over the following syrup:

For the syrup


250 grams (1 cup) caster sugar and 125ml (1/2 cup) orange juice

and bring to the boil. Simmer for a minute and pour over slice.

NB: I found the syrup to be far too much so you could probably halve it unless you want toothache.

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Nut February 23, 2010 at 8:26 pm

Academic! Not to sure about that. You’ll always be the brain in this friendship.
Thanks for this hon. I can’t wait to make it. So many of my favourite ingredients wrapped up into a sweet treat. Yum!

sasa February 23, 2010 at 10:33 pm

I’ve had to switch over to science so I don’t have to work so hard to keep up on the humanities front!

Nut February 24, 2010 at 3:27 am

Science. Man I know nothing about science, except for what I learn on this american life and radio lab podcasts.

sasa February 24, 2010 at 7:15 am

Wait…as of now I know even less than that. But look out!

Nut March 2, 2010 at 5:05 am

Sam got some and I think Matai but not too sure about Joe. I waited 2 days for him to come and pick up his share and then ate his. heh heh

Alessandra February 23, 2010 at 8:43 pm

Uh! Nice recipe! Sasasunakku, so lovely to meet you! Thank you for visiting my blog, your blog is great, good stories, photos and recipes. So you live in Austria? I am coming to Europe in March, for 6 months, I will be in Italy mostly, but I may pop to Austria. You never know, we may meet somewhere!!!



sasa February 23, 2010 at 10:33 pm

Ooh, where in Italy? We go there quite often – we went to Milan this weekend and ate all sorts of treats, I love meeting people off the internet ;P

AngAk February 24, 2010 at 12:08 am

You asked about Granola bars on the SmittenKitchen blog and they are not at all “flapjacks”. If you look at the recipe, you can see it is similar to your slice—just packed full of dried fruit/nuts/oats. and I don’t believe it has eggs or leavening, since it is a hearty bar that can be stored for awhile.

sasa February 24, 2010 at 7:20 am

I wondered if they were like the *Scottish* flapjacks which are basically muesli bars (also no eggs) which don’t have any fruit but I have seen before as opposed to the American ones (which I haven’t)…The Smitten ones sound great though, I love oats, dried fruit and nuts so I’ll have to try them and see. Let me know if you do too!

mumumanukku February 24, 2010 at 3:58 am

Ha! As if you were a good little non-wagging Catholic schoolgirl before that. pffff.

sasa February 24, 2010 at 7:14 am

I’m sure I have no idea what you’re talking about.

the other mumu? February 24, 2010 at 5:35 am

the camry one….In any event, I never would have dreamt of using Semolina! And the texture?

sasa February 24, 2010 at 7:13 am

It’s great, a bit more substantial than regular cake.

Jessica February 24, 2010 at 7:47 pm

Lovely post and a lovely rememberance. I hope that I am full of spunk and vitality as an old woman. Lovely finding your blog!

Nut March 1, 2010 at 8:04 pm

I made this slice in the weekend and it worked out wonderfully! Moist and divine. I halved the syrup and it was sweet but not too sweet. Thanks Sasa!

sasa March 1, 2010 at 8:25 pm

I’m so glad! Did you share with the boys?

thecuriousbaker March 5, 2010 at 9:12 pm

mm smells deliciously mediterranean,at least in my head! I wanted to make something similar but when I realised semolina wasn’t gluten free, I made a pudding like cake minus the semolina. I’m sure your version was lovely.

sasa March 5, 2010 at 9:21 pm

You could try it with cornmeal maybe?

thecuriousbaker March 12, 2010 at 12:00 am

Yeaah, just not sure if it’d have that same mediterranean feel…good tip tho.

Crepes of Wrath April 2, 2010 at 10:57 pm

I absolutely adore pistachios! This looks fantastic.

thedabble April 14, 2010 at 12:04 am

This looks awesome but love the story about your friend just as much. That sounds like a great lifelong friendship.

sasa March 2, 2010 at 8:47 am

That’s 2 days more than I woulda waited ;P

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