Blanched halved almonds or hazelnuts, for garnish Clotted cream (Qeshta) , for serving (optional)
In a small pan over medium heat, combine sugar and water. Heat, stirring often, until sugar is dissolved. Stir in lemon juice. Bring to a boil. Boil, without stirring, for 10 minutes, or until thickened. Remove from the heat, set aside and keep warm.
Preheat oven to 180˚C (350˚F). Grease a 30cm (12in) cake pan with butter.
In a large bowl, combine semolina flour, sugar, vanilla, baking powder and coconut. Stir in clarified butter. Stir in yogurt and milk until blended and smooth. Pour batter into prepared cake pan and smooth surface.
Bake for 15 minutes. Remove cake pan from oven, arrange almonds on top in rows, so that when cake is cut an almond is centered on each piece. Gently press almonds into cake top. Return cake pan to oven and bake for 20 minutes longer, or until cake is golden.
Remove cake pan from oven. Turn off oven, pour warm syrup over cake and return to oven. Close oven door halfway, and let cake and oven cool.
Cut into diamond shapes or squares before serving. Serve with clotted cream on the side, if desired.
Variations/Layered Semolina Cake
Pour half the batter into cake pan and smooth surface. Spread a layer of ground pistachios evenly over batter. Spoon remaining batter over the pistachios and smooth surface. Bake for 15 minutes.
Remove pan from oven. Sprinkle candied papaya or chopped dried apricots and coarsely ground nuts and shredded coconuts over top, gently pressing toppings into batter.
Return pan to oven and bake for 20 minutes longer, or until golden.
With marked enthusiasm for his subject and expertise in the cooking field, Chef Osama El-Sayed, C.E.C. can take his audience through a world of culinary delights in several easy steps. With an audience of over a millions viewers on several continents, it is no wonder that Chef Osama has learned to take complex cooking techniques and recipes then simplify them for basic home cooks. Chef Osama’s show "Ma Osama Atyab" - "It's More Delicious with Osama" airs live daily on Dubai TV.