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Using semolina as the base for cakes and sweets is an art in Greece. This "cake" is not baked, but cooked and chilled in a mold and decorated with candied orange segments and rind. It's beautiful and delicious. Try to use organic oranges. I've said there's 5 hour of passive cooking time--the time to cool and then chill the cake--but I haven't included time involved making the candied orange which obviously could be done while the cake chills or the night before.
- For the cake:.
- Generously butter a mold or bundt pan (I use a 9" non-stick bundt pan).
- Pour the milk into a heavy saucepan over medium heat and add the sugar, the vanilla bean, the salt and the grated orange zest.
- Add the butter and stirring occasionally bring just to the boil.
- Remove from the heat, add the farina all at once and whisking, replace over low heat and whisk gently until it begins to thicken.
- When thickened, remove the vanilla bean (you can wash it off and put in a sugar bowl) and add the three eggs.
- Continue whisking over low heat until the eggs are combined, the mixture is smooth and comes to the gentlest of simmers.
- Pour into the prepared mold and allow to cool slightly before covering with plastic wrap placing in fridge.
- Chill for at least four hours (or overnight).
- Unmold onto serving plate and garnish with candied orange segments and candy orange rind.
- Note: If cake seems reluctant to leave mold, loosen sides with a thin knife and/or dip bottom of mold into hot water.
- For the Candied Orange:.
- First, the rind:.
- Using a vegetable peeler, remove rind (try to get no white pith) in long strips.
- Place rind on cutting board and slice into the thinnest julienne you can.
- Place in a small heavy saucepan, cover with water, bring to a boil and drain off the water.
- Now, add a cup of sugar and about 2/3 of a cup of water to the rind and place over med low heat and allow to simmer (not boil) until the syrup is reduced by 3/4's (about 45 minutes).
- Leave the peel in the syrup until it is quite cool, then drain the rind (and reserve the orange syrup for another use).
- Spread the rind out on parchment paper, toss with sugar, and allow to dry.
- Store in an air-tight container in a cool dry place or freeze if you want to keep it longer than a few days.
- Now the orange sections:.
- While the rind is simmering, place the two stripped oranges on a cutting board and cut off the top and bottom of each, removing all white pith.
- Stand each orange on end and using a sawing motion, slice down the sides of the orange, removing all the pith.
- Now, with your knife, slice in and out of the memberanes so that you will have nice, membrane free segments of orange.
- Place these in a small saucepan.
- Add any juice you can squeeze form the membrane or that has accumulated on your board.
- Add about 3/4 of a cup of sugar and enpoough water so tht the oranges are just covered with liquid.
- Now proceed as for the rind, cooking the segments at a gentle simmer until the syrup has reduced by 3/4's.
- Allow to cool, drain the segments, spread them on paper and toss with sugar.
- Store as for rind.