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Samali – a traditional Greek semolina cake

Samali - a traditional Greek semolina cake - © Gourmet Friday

Samali – syrupy Greek cake with semolina and mastic

Samali is a Greek dessert with the aromatic flavors of mastic, lemon and rose water. Here I must add that when we mention the mastic, it is not a popular alcoholic beverage with a similar name, but a resin extracted from wood from the island of Chios.


Wet ingredients:
  • 2 cups Greek yogurt
  • 1 glass of water
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • 1½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Dry ingredients:
  • 2½ cups coarse semolina flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • ½ teaspoon ground mastic
Garnish with:
  • 20 blanched almonds
  • 2½ cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • juice of a half of a lemon
  • 2 teaspoons rose water


Prepare the dough:

Grease a suitable baking tray with melted butter.
Whisk all wet ingredients until smooth in a suitable bowl.
Mix the dry ingredients well and add them to the wet ones. Mix again until homogeneous mixture.
Pour the dough into the baking tray, cover with a kitchen towel and set aside for 1 hour so that the semolina softens and absorbs the liquid.

Make the syrup by combining the sugar, water and lemon juice in a small saucepan.

Stir together, bring to a boil and cook until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat, add the rose water and stir gently. Leave aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Spread the blanched almonds evenly over the dough.

Bake in the center rack of the oven for about 45 minutes or until golden. You can test it with a toothpick. If the dough does not stick when pierced, then it is ready.

Remove from the oven and cut into pieces.

Pour the syrup over the cake and set aside at room temperature to allow the cake to absorb it.

When cool, refrigerate for at least 8 hours. This way the syrup will absorb evenly throughout the cake.

Serve with a ball of ice cream or whipped cream.

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