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French Semolina Pudding Cake

I’ve had this packet of semolina sitting in the pantry just waiting to be transformed into a delicious family dessert. Truth be told, I’ve been meaning to make this Gâteau de Semoule for so long: it’s a baked French Semolina Pudding Cake topped with caramel.

Moreover, if you have some jam handy, just dribble over a few spoonfuls of warmed jam for the ultimate comfort pudding – more ideas below.

French Semolina Pudding Cake

French Inspiration

How many of us earmark a recipe book and put it aside thinking, “I must make that one day”…?  The time came this week when that pack of semolina jumped out at me as I was tidying out the pantry, taking stock of what we actually had.

Turning to page 283 of Bernard and Dominique Loiseau’s recipe book, ‘Cuisine en Famille‘, I always fancied the look of this Gâteau de Semoule – even if there are no pictures.

As stated in the book, there’s no need to make the caramel. Just dribble over some warmed  homemade jam or a fruit coulis.

Semolina Pudding

How many of you remember hot Semolina Pudding from the 1970s and 1980s? I have the fondest family memories of Mum and Dad serving this as one of our most comforting winter desserts, as my brother and I were growing up in Scotland.  We’d enjoy it scalding hot in large, purple-rimmed bowls with a blob of strawberry jam on top.

Sheer Bliss.

At this point in the recipe – before even adding the eggs – I leaned in for a taste. Semolina pudding; my Madeleine de Proust.

Even without that jam, I couldn’t help myself from taking a spoon, then another spoon, a larger spoon – until I had to stop to continue this recipe! Needless to say – at this point you could serve the semolina pudding just like this, without the rest of the recipe.

French Semolina Pudding Cake

So, to continue – I made it! Willpower can be tough.

NOTE: if you don’t have fresh milk, UHT milk is ideal – or any other nutty or oat milks of your choice. Likewise, no vanilla? Grate in the zest of an orange.

Just whisk together the sugar and 2 egg yolks until light and creamy then add to the hot, creamy semolina.

For Caramel Lovers

Meanwhile, caramel lovers prepare the bubbling caramel.  It’s rather therapeutic to watch it bubble for a few minutes until it turns beautifully brown and the smell wafts around the kitchen. Pour the caramel immediately into a non-stick cake mould of your choice.

I used a fluted brioche mould, turned upside down to resemble a large jelly mould. I can just imagine it as being the shape of a dessert that Alexandre Dumas would have created in his demure up the road from us in Port-Marly, at his residence of the Château de Monte Cristo.

Whisk up the egg whites, adding to the semolina then pour on top of the caramel and bake. Leave to cool then upturn the mould on to a serving plate.

How to Serve French Semolina Cake

French Semolina Cake Slice

French Semolina Cake is best served chilled or at room temperature.

Dessert Topping Ideas

Here are some ideas for toppings:

  • Top with fresh or tinned fruit and/or with a fruit coulis sauce. (The good news is that fruit coulis sauces have a long shelf life and so it’s handy to keep in store);
  • Warmed jam or marmalade of your choice;
  • Chilled Crème Anglaise, thin French custard sauce. See my recipe for a spiced Chai Tea Crème Anglaise sauce;
  • Fried apples in vanilla sugar and butter (thanks, Martyn!):
  • Roasted rhubarb: roast chunks in orange juice with a sprinkling of sugar in 180°C/160°C fan oven for 10 minutes;
  • Spoon over this refreshing rhubarb & hibiscus (or ginger) compote;
  • Antoine thinks this looks like a French ‘Flamby‘, so why not flambée with Grand Marnier and orange juice or rum? Let’s make a festive pudding out of it!

French-Semolina-Cake

 

French Semolina Pudding Cake

5 from 2 votes
French Semolina Pudding Cake
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
1 hr
 

Our family favourite adapted by the recipe by Bernard Loiseau: semolina pudding given a French cake makeover, topped with caramel and served with fruit coulis, fresh (or tinned) fruit or just a topping of warmed jam for the best comfort dessert

Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Dessert
Cuisine: French
Keyword: French dessert, French recipes, pantry recipes, semolina pudding, semolina,
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 209 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 1 litre (1.75 pints) Milk (or your milk of choice)
  • 125 g (4.5oz) Semolina fine or medium
  • 1 vanilla pod/bean Cut horizontally (or 1/2 tsp vanilla powder/extract)
  • 1 tbsp orange blossom water (optional)
  • 2 organic eggs (separated)
  • 110 g (4oz) sugar
Caramel
  • 150 g (5.5oz) sugar
  • 3 tbsp water
Instructions
Cook the Semolina:
  1. In a large saucepan, boil the milk with the vanilla pod or extract (plus orange blossom water, if using). Rain in the semolina and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until thickened for about 10 minutes.

    If using a vanilla pod, remove it to scrape out the seeds and add them back into the milk (discard the rest of the pod)

  2. At this point the semolina pudding can be eaten hot with a spoonful of jam. However, to carry on with the recipe - in a large bowl, whisk together the 2 egg yolks with the sugar until light and creamy. Add the hot semolina to this mixture and whisk or stir until well combined. Set aside to cool and stir now and again to prevent a skin forming.

Caramel:
  1. Meanwhile, prepare the caramel by placing the sugar and water in a saucepan over a medium heat. Once boiling, leave it to bubble without touching it and keep an eye on it for about 5 minutes. The caramel should turn brown and smell beautifully of caramel. Take it off the heat immediately and pour into the bottom of the mould.

Cook the Semolina Cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/Gas 6

  2. Whisk the egg whites separately in another bowl using either an electric hand whisk or stand mixer. Stir into the semolina mixture until well combined.

  3. Pour into the mould over the caramel and bake for 25-30 minutes, covered with aluminium. Leave to cool on the counter then upturn the mould on to a serving plate.

Recipe Notes

Serve either chilled or at room temperature with either a topping of fresh (or tinned) fruit, fruit coulis (sauce) or warmed jam of your choice. Also good with a chilled Crème Anglaise sauce. Perfect for dessert but also good for breakfast.

Alternatively, grate in the zest of an unwaxed orange or lemon to replace the vanilla, adding to the milk at the beginning of cooking.

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

 

 

Fluffy Cheese Scones

Whatever time of day it is, there’s something incredibly comforting about serving warmed fluffy cheese scones with melted butter and a pot of tea.

Somehow teatime at home is all highly civilised.

Fluffy Cheese Scones

This post was originally published in March 2017 as Cheese Scones with Spring Onions & Rosemary. As it has been one of your favourite recipes on le blog, I’ve updated the photos and done away with the fancy spring onions. Now you still have the fluffiest cheese scones that can be rustled up in even less time. Moreover, for 12 scones this recipe only needs one egg so while perhaps rationing our fresh produce, this recipe should rise to the occasion!

NOW ON VIDEO!
Click HERE

 

Fluffy Cheese Scones

Out of the treats that come out of our kitchen, there’s one thing I can serve for lunch – in true British style with soup – and my ‘Scottish-half’ girls always squeal,  “YES! CHEESE SCONES!”  They may be so grown up now but as soon as these scones come out of the oven, my teenagers are little girls purring like the cat that’s got the cream.  Perhaps it’s the memory of our cheese scone ritual we had, stopping off at the Scottish garden centre tearoom near Prestwick airport on our way back to Paris Beauvais.  We did this so often over the years visiting Granny and Grandpa that it was our shuttle. Alas, these days there’s far too much homework and exams.

As a result, I make cheese scones at home, as they are – surprisingly – so quick and easy to make.

Two Top Tips for High-Rise, Fluffiest Cheese Scones

My idea of a perfect cheese scone is that it’s light, high and fluffy.  I started off many years ago using the classic recipe in the Be-Ro Flour Cookbook. Now, over the years I have used this slightly adapted recipe which ensures that they have a lovely height.

There are TWO SECRETS to high rise scones:

  • Don’t be shy on the baking powder. Even if using self-raising flour, add a teaspoon; and
  • Don’t work the dough too much – including not rolling it out too flat.  Keep it quite thick, cutting them with a scone or cookie cutter.

How Do You Eat Cheese Scones?

How do you eat yours?  We just split them in half while warm and spread on a little butter, watching it melt.  Perfect with a cup of tea – and also with soup (see ideas below).

 

Best Cheese to Use for Savoury Scones

Ideally use a good, strong, mature cheddar (orange will give it a lovely colour but it’s not necessary) as the flavour should shine through. Using half of grated aged parmesan or a mature hard orange vieille mimolette adds extra punch too. The stronger the better!

Personally, as we don’t have the easiest access to the best mature cheddar in France, I use a half and half mix of what orange cheddar I can find with best quality French Comté cheese (preference 12-18 months mature), thus making them a bit of a Scottish-French Auld Alliance.

Scone Glaze

As we’re currently being careful not to use too many eggs (I want to avoid going to the shops too much!), I brushed the tops of the scones with milk only.
For a shiny royal scone look, however, the best way is to brush the tops of the scones with the milk and egg yolk glaze.

Then top the scones with more grated cheese and/or poppy seeds and sesame seeds.

The result? The cheese scones have a lovely, finished shine that gives that slight crunch to the outside and split open warm, they’re soft, light and fluffy inside – ready to spread with quickly melting butter!

fluffy cheese scones soup

Look – we’re not even a shiny batch but open us up and taste!

Quick Soup Recipes from the Pantry

Cheese scones are also a real treat served for a light lunch with a comforting bowl of soup. Here are some ideas for homemade soup, using little from the pantry:

 

perfect-fluffy-cheese-scones

Fluffy Cheese Scones Recipe

5 from 13 votes
Fluffy Cheese Scones Recipe
Fluffy Cheese Scones
Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
40 mins
 

An easy recipe for the fluffiest, light cheese scones. Only uses one egg for a batch of 12

Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Light Lunch, Snack, teatime
Cuisine: British
Keyword: cheese scones, savoury scones
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 293 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 250 g (9oz) Plain (all-purpose) flour T55
  • 1 tbsp Baking powder (use only 1 tsp if using self-raising flour)
  • 1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
  • pinch salt & pepper
  • 50 g (2oz) Butter, unsalted (at room temperature)
  • 100 g (3.5oz) Cheese, finely grated (Cheddar, French Comté, Mimolette)*
  • 1 tbsp Rosemary, finely chopped (or fresh thyme, chives, dried Herbes de Provence)
  • 1 egg (@60g)
  • 100 ml (3.5fl oz) Milk (whole or semi-skimmed)
Glaze
  • 1 egg yolk (optional)
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp sesame or poppy seeds (optional)
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7/200°C fan. Line a baking tray with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

  2. Mix together the flour, baking powder/soda, salt, pepper, and rosemary in a large bowl.  Either rub in the butter using your fingers but if you have a mixer, this is even better.  Mix just until the butter looks like breadcrumbs in the flour then add the cheese. Add the egg and milk and mix until fully combined. The result should be a sticky dough. If you find it's too dry, add a little bit more milk.

  3. Roll out on a floured surface to about 2 cm thick (nearly an inch) and using a scone/cookie cutter (6cm/2.5"), cut out medium-sized rounds. Alternatively, to save time or if you don't have cutters, roll into a circle (use a plate as a guide) and cut into triangles with a sharp knife.

  4. Place on the baking tray and brush with a mixture of egg yolk and a little milk to glaze (yolk is optional but recommended for a shiny glaze).

  5. Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown.

Recipe Notes

YIELD: Makes 12 scones.

CALORIES: One portion of 2 scones is 293 calories.

CHEESES: mature, strong cheeses are best such as cheddar, mimolette, parmesan, comté & gruyère.

BUTTERMILK SCONES: If you replace the milk with buttermilk, omit 1 tsp of baking powder, but personally I prefer cheese scones made with milk, as find they rise better.

VIDEO: Now available on video.

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

 

 

Quick Almond Milk Rice Pudding

When we’re looking for satisfying, healthy comfort food using cupboard ingredients, then this Quick Almond Milk Rice Pudding ticks the boxes.

Made the night before, we love it chilled or slightly warm for breakfast. Top with toasted almonds and served with extra dried fruits, it’s all prepared in just 35 minutes. What’s more, these creamy pots happen to be gluten free and vegan.

Quick Almond Milk Rice Pudding

Almond Milk as a Cupboard Diet Staple

Only a couple of weeks ago, I found myself reaching for more long-life cupboard ingredients at the supermarket that could come in handy over time. Although I can’t find an alternative to fresh cow’s milk for my morning bowl of coffee, as a family, we have completely converted to serving almond milk with our breakfast maple & oat granola.  Yippee!  We’re making progress on the vegan front, albeit slowly but each step helps, I hope.

Almond milk’s shelf life is long, making it an ideal pantry staple. What’s more, it is fortified with calcium, is lactose-free and is lower in calories than regular milk.
(Note: for those who are allergic to nuts or almonds, replace almond milk with coconut milk.)

Moreover, what’s more exciting than having a delicious challenge to make gourmet food with simple, easy-to-find ingredients?

Sweetened vs Unsweetened Almond Milk

Normally I spend time checking labels but exceptionally, this time around, in my speed to get organised as quickly as possible, I reached for our local French supermarket’s own brand of almond milk.

As Lucie poured it over her coveted dark chocolate & coconut granola the other day, she was shocked at how sweet it was. Reading the label together – to our amazement – the brand had added sugar to the almond milk.

Who adds sugar to milk, I ask you?

How to Use Sweetened Almond Milk

Clearly we had to find another use for this sweetened almond milk. So that no food would go to waste, I tried out my favourite French creamy riz au lait recipe, using less rice, much less sugar, no egg yolks and came up with this creamy almond milk version.

I literally added just a couple of tablespoons of raw cane sugar to this rice pudding but if you are using an organic, unsweetened almond milk (like we normally use from the health food store), then use the sugar quantities I’ve stated in the recipe below.

What Can I Use Instead of Almond Milk?

Don’t have almond milk in the pantry? Then rice milk or soya milk also work just as well, keeping the rice pudding creamy.

Quick Almond Milk Rice Pudding

Rice Pudding Topping Ideas

If you like the touch of rose to desserts, then I urge you to add just a little rosewater to this (see recipe below).  Topping the rice puddings just takes it to another level. Here are some ideas, based on what you have at hand:

  • Chopped fresh fruit or chopped dried fruits (figs, apricots, dates);
  • Toasted almonds (or any other nuts) just adds that perfect crunch and brings out the natural almond flavours too. Either toast them for a few minutes under the grill or dry-fry in a frying pan.
  • Top with a spoonful of jam – even better if slightly warmed so that it melts on top. I love fig jam, rhubarb & rose jam (or my strawberry & elderflower speedy jam in my book, ‘Teatime in Paris’) – or serve with this rhubarb and hibiscus compote – it’s fabulous.
  • Oat praline topping. Incidentally, make a batch of it and store it in a jam jar and use to top on ice cream or any dessert.

 

Quick Almond Milk Rice Pudding

5 from 7 votes
Quick Almond Milk Rice Pudding
Almond Milk Rice Pudding
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 

A Quick French Riz au lait rice pudding made with organic almond milk for a healthy vegan breakfast or dessert and an easy recipe to prepare using long-life cupboard ingredients.

Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Dessert
Cuisine: French
Keyword: almond milk recipes, almond milk rice pudding, quick rice pudding recipe, riz au lait, veganbreakfasts
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 420 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 1 litre organic almond milk (6%) (unsugared)*
  • 1 vanilla pod/bean (or 1/2 tsp vanilla powder/extract)
  • 140 g (5oz) short grain pudding rice (arborio/risotto rice)
  • 30 g (1oz) golden sultanas (raisins or other dried fruits)
  • 50 g (1.75oz) sugar (I use raw cane sugar)
  • 1 tsp rose water
  • slivered almonds (optional, for decor)
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan, bring the almond milk to the boil with the vanilla pod, if using (or vanilla powder/extract). Remove the vanilla pod, scraping out the seeds with a sharp knife and return the seeds to the pan.

  2. Rain in the rice, sugar, rose water and dried fruits. Using a wooden spoon, stir every 3-4 minutes so that the rice doesn't stick together.

  3. The rice pudding will start to thicken after 25 minutes. Continue to stir gently for another 5 minutes and transfer to individual pots or dishes. Leave to cool and either serve or chill and serve next morning.

Recipe Notes
  • If you discover your almond milk contains sugar, reduce the sugar by at least a half.

Serve chilled or at slightly warm with toasted almonds (toasted for a few minutes under a grill or dry-fried in a frying pan) and any topping of your choice: e.g. chopped dried apricots, chopped banana, honey, walnuts. See more ideas in the post.

Don't have almond milk? Rice or Soya Milk also works just as well.

See my other recipe here for a French custardy rice pudding, using egg yolks.

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

Bon appétit !

Quick Almond Milk Rice Pudding

Reine de Saba Chocolate Almond Cake

Mention ‘The Queen of Sheba’ and Handel’s famous music from Solomon plays full swing in my head.
Little did I know when I married my Frenchman in 1997 that the Queen of Sheba is la Reine de Saba in French.  So imagine, years later, how it was music to my ears to hear that the French make a gluten-free chocolate cake called the Queen of Sheba. A Reine de Saba Chocolate Almond Cake is a welcome arrival to any party.

Reine de Saba Chocolate Almond Cake

Reine de Saba (Queen of Sheba)

I loved to play ‘The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba’ as a piano duet with my bestie growing up in Edinburgh.  Even the day I married my Frenchman, Dad and I arrived to Handel’s music as I played Queen for the day. What a memorable entrance it was with an oversized Scottish golf umbrella, wondering if the organ of Saint Giles would be drowned out by the bagpipes playing to the tourists outside.

Only recently I discovered that there’s a Reine de Saba museum in Paris, particularly dedicated to Yemen. Out of 27 years in the City of Light, I still haven’t been to it yet on rue de Pradier in the 19th. So, if you have been or plan to go, please tell me below in the comments.

Reine de Saba Chocolate Almond Cake Recipe

I saw a recipe for the Reine de Saba cake in a free French booklet of 50 Best Chocolate Recipes published by France Loisirs many years ago. It was popped into my bag at the checkout after Christmas shopping in a French kitchen appliance shop in Paris’s 16th. If you know the chic 16th in Paris, getting something free here is pretty much unheard of, so I treasured it.

Earmarking the festive-looking Reine de Saba chocolate cake, this wee book of recipes was forgotten about during that festive season madness. It was put away in the bookcase for another Christmas, dwarfed and hidden by my other cookbooks. Then recently on a bout of tidying (inspired by an episode of Marie Kondo on Netflix, as I thought, ‘Do I really need to keep all of those books?’), I re-discovered this slim chocolate-coloured book. It fell apart the moment I opened it. Well, it was free.

Reine de Saba Chocolate Almond Cake slice

That Reine de Saba recipe still looked enticing. After trying it out a few times using different moulds, toppings, and tweaking a couple of things like reducing sugar and adding rum, this is it. That wee book perhaps is already in tatters but this recipe is definitely a keeper and now a firm, family favourite next to the Chocolate Ginger Fondant Cake.

Gluten-Free Dessert Recipes

Can you Handel another French gâteau that just happens to be a gluten free chocolate cake? If you would like more recipes like this, don’t forget that you can find all my best gluten free recipes here on le blog.

What Can I do with the Leftover Egg Yolks?

As you can see from the recipe below, this recipe calls for two egg whites. Normally egg whites can keep for a few days in the fridge but I prefer to use up fresh egg yolks as quickly as possible on the day.  You’ll find a whole index of egg yolk recipes here on le blog.

Moreover, if you’re looking for a recipe with 2 egg yolks, then you can find that too, such as these Honey & Lemon Sablé biscuits, or a creamy lemon sauce to serve with roast chicken, turkey or stuffed mini pumpkins. I even have a most deliciously creamy cauliflower velouté coming up next which, surprisingly, also uses 2 yolks.

Reine de Saba Chocolate Almond Cake Christmas

French Christmas Dessert Recipes

The baked, crispy glaze topping takes this recipe into Christmas dessert mode or for a special occasion birthday cake. The family loved this topped with freshly whipped Chantilly cream, laced with just a touch of dark rum (or with Grand Marnier®).

Finish off with a dusting of unsweetened chocolate powder or edible gold dust. If you like your Christmas chocolate cake spiced, then add a teaspoon of gingerbread or pumpkin spice to the cake and/or the glaze.

Plus (you know it’s coming, don’t you?) why not serve with some almond macarons? Don’t forget that Parisian macarons are also gluten free.  You’ll find the recipes for all my macarons in both my books, Mad About Macarons and Teatime in Paris!

Reine de Saba Chocolate Almond Cake

Reine de Saba Chocolate Almond Cake

5 from 6 votes
Reine de Saba Chocolate Almond Cake slice
Reine de Saba Chocolate Almond Cake
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
45 mins
 

A French celebratory, gluten free chocolate and almond cake, made extra special with a hint of Grand Marnier and topped with a festive glaze.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Keyword: chocolate almond cake, gluten free chocolate cake, reine de saba cake
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 309 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 125 g (4.5oz) dark chocolate (min. 60% cacao)
  • 75 g (3oz) butter unsalted, diced
  • 3 organic eggs separated
  • 1 egg white
  • 75 g (3oz) sugar
  • 75 g (3oz) ground almonds (almond flour)
  • 1 tbsp cornflour or potato flour (Maïzena)
  • 2 drops vanilla extract (or 1/2 tsp vanilla powder)
  • pinch salt (fleur de sel)
  • 1 tbsp Grand Marnier® (or dark rum) optional
For the Glaze:
  • 175 g (6oz) icing (confectioner's) sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tsp Grand Marnier ® (or dark rum) optional
  • 1 tsp gingerbread or pumpkin spice optional
Instructions
  1. Break the dark chocolate into bits in a bowl and place over a pan of simmering water (bain- marie). Ensure the water doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl so not to overcook the chocolate. As soon as the chocolate melts, add the butter. Mix together until melted and set aside.

  2. Separate the eggs: place the 4 egg whites in a large clean bowl to whip them later. In another bowl, place the 3 egg yolks and whisk together with the sugar until light and creamy. Add the cornflour, vanilla and stir in the ground almonds. Add in the melted chocolate, alcohol if using, and mix together. Set aside at room temperature.

  3. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/Gas 6. Grease a 20cm cake tin with butter.

  4. Whisk the egg whites with the salt in either a stand mixer or using an electric hand whisk. When the whites are whipped up and firm, gently fold into the chocolate and almond mixture.

  5. Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for about 20 minutes without browning the surface (a smaller, higher cake tin will need longer baking, about 30 minutes). Remove from the oven to cool.

Make the Glaze:
  1. Mix together the egg white with the icing sugar and Grand Marnier (or rum) if using.

    Depending on the cake tin, there are 2 ways of baking the glaze:

    1) Directly in an easy-release cake tin: once the cake is cooled down (but still warm), spread on the glaze and return to the oven for no more than 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, leave to cool then turn out on a serving plate.

    2) Remove the cake from the tin and place on an ovenproof serving plate. Spread on the glaze then return to the oven for no more than 5 minutes. Remove from the oven then decorate, if desired.

Recipe Notes

For special occasions such as Christmas, serve the cake topped with whipped cream laced with a dash of Grand Marnier® or rum or simply with a dollop of crème fraîche.

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

Reine de Saba Chocolate Almond Cake