I usually serve this semolina cake at holidays, but it's delicious on any occasion.
INGREDIENTS 1 cup fine semolina
2 cups coarse semolina
1.5 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground raw mastic gum or powder
2 cups Maria's traditional Greek yogurt (page 28)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup whole milk
12-16 blanched almond halves
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Syrup: 4 cups granulated sugar
3 cups of water
Rind of one lemon
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
One half vanilla bean, scraped seeds and hulk
METHOD: 1) In a large mixing bowl, combine the semolina, sugar, baking powder, and mastic thoroughly with a wire whisk.
2) In a second bowl, mix the yogurt, milk, baking soda, and stir well.
3) Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly but gently until the mixture is smooth and well combined. 4) Grease 11 x 15" baking pan and pour the batter into the pan.
5) Smooth the surface evenly with a spatula and set it aside to stand for 2 hours covered with cling film.
6) Place the almond halves spaced evenly in the top of the cake, centered where you plan to cut portions.
7) Bake the cake at 380 degrees Fahrenheit for 35 to 40 minutes until a medium golden brown.
8) While the cake is baking, prepare the syrup by bringing all the ingredients to a boil in a sauce pan for 6-8 minutes. Strain the syrup with a sieve, return to the saucepan and set aside.
9) Remove the cake from the oven once done, and brush the top of the cake with the butter, set aside to cool to room temperature.
10) Once the cake has cooled, reheat the syrup on medium high heat for 2-3 minutes until hot. Pour the hot syrup evenly over the cake and set it aside to cool again before serving.