Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Samali ( Greek Semolina Dessert )

Samali ( Greek Semolina Dessert )
A few years ago, when we were traveling, we went to Church on Sunday and met some lovely friends, who extended hospitality to us and really made us feel at home while away from home. In addition to all their other kindnesses, they made this dessert for us. And then, were willing to share the recipe!

Traditionally, this dessert is often made with dairy products, such as Greek Yogurt. But, since the Greek Orthodox Church encourages "fasting" - part of which is keeping a mostly Vegan diet - there are also some Vegan versions of the recipe.

Samali Dough being prepared for baking - Dough
scored in diamonds and Blanched Almonds being added.
Many Americans think only of Baklava when they hear "Greek Dessert" - but this one is an all-time favorite at our house - and much less time consuming to make than Baklava.
Golden Baked Samali, before Syrup is added.

Fasting Samali ( SHAH-mah-lee )
Mix Together
2 ½ cup Semolina
1 cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
Then Stir in
¾ cup Orange Juice/Mixed Fruit Juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
Press into 8 x 8 square cake pan (if it is not non-stick, you may want to oil it)

Score a diamond pattern on the surface (don't cut all the way through).
Press one Blanched Almond* in the center of each diamond

Bring just to a boil, then allow to cool while Samali bakes:
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon syrup-type sweetener such as Agave or Corn Syrup. (Honey is traditional, if you use it)

Bake Samali 350degrees Fahrenheit for 50 minutes - or till golden brown.
Remove from oven and spread with
1 heaped teaspoon Margarine or Buttery Spread (such as Earth Balance)
cut diamonds all the way through.
Pop back in the oven for 5 more minutes.
Remove from oven and pour syrup over the top. It will seem like way too much, and will rise above the level of the dessert- but then in a few minutes it will soak in.
Store at room temperature (not in refrigerator).
I like to make this in the morning to be eaten at dinner the same day.
*If you buy Almonds which are not blanched already, bring water to a boil and drop in raw almonds. Boil for one minute and cool. Then twist them in your fingers, and the skins slip right off. This is a job that my young daughter can enjoy helping with - not at all difficult : )

This is being shared at Weekend Wonders


  1. I'm so hungry and this looks so good! I soooooo wish you were closer I would swipe some from your stash! LOL :)

  2. That sounds great...when we went to church in Summerville, SC, there were so many Greeks there. I think I've had this before. Do you not use honey? I plan on using honey when I make it!!! ♥

    1. You'll have to let me know how it turns out when you make it, Martha! : )

    2. I am hoping I can use farina instead of semolina.

  3. This is my Armenian hubby's favorite kind of pastry, and I have never been able to find a recipe for it, I'm so excited to make an attempt at this as a special surprise for him - thanks for sharing!

    1. I'm delighted! It is certainly a most-favorite dessert in our house : ) Let me know how it goes - I'll look forward to hearing!

  4. I'm about to embark on my first vegan Pascha and you saved my life! I wanted a Greek dessert to add to the table. Already have vegan cakes and I hadn't thought of samali!


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