Middle Eastern Semolina Pistachio Dessert Recipe

From Dorothy McNett's Recipe Book.

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Middle Eastern Semolina Pistachio Dessert

From Dorothy McNett's recipes at www.dorothymcnett.com.

1 cup natural plain yogurt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup shelled, roasted and lightly salted pistachios
1 teaspoon soft butter or olive oil
1/2-1 teaspoon olive oil for the pan
1 1/2 cups semolina (or coarse flour...not highly refined but with natural texture)
1/2 cup raw sugar
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
pine nuts for decoration

1 1/2 cups raw sugar
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon rose water

In a small bowl combine the yogurt and baking soda. Set aside. It will start to bubble up, that is what we want to happen. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In food processor with steel chopping blade in place, whirl the pistachios with the oil or butter for about 1 minute or more, until they are very finely minced and turning to "butter". Brush the bottom of 8 or 9 inch square pan with olive oil and then sprinkle/spread the pistachio mixture over the entire bottom. Set aside.
In batter bowl, whisk the semolina, sugar and cardamom. Add the melted butter to the yogurt mixture and then stir it into the dry ingredients, blending thoroughly. Dollop the mixture into the baking pan, spreading gently so as not to disturb the nut mixture. With a thin sharp knife, cut batter into squares or diamond shapes. Place a pistachio in the center of each. Bake 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown.

In the meantime while the dessert is baking, make the syrup by combining the sugar, water, and lemon juice in a small heavy bottomed saucepan. Bring to boil, stir several times, and boil for about 5 minutes or until the syrup is getting sticky. Add the rose water. Remove from heat. When the dessert bars are done, remove from oven and immediately cut again along the lines. Pour the syrup over the hot bars and return to oven for 3-4 minutes. Serve warm or cold.

Recipe created 2009-07-07.

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