Sunday, May 11, 2008

Semolina Ghribia with Orange Flower Water Fruit Salad

I saw this recipe on 64 Sq Ft Kitchen last week and the mention of orange flower water made me anxious to try it. I had seen just such a bottle of orange flower water at Plum Market in Ann Arbor and I recall standing there looking at it wondering what I could use it for. When I saw the recipe on Warda's blog last week I thought, aha, here it is! I went to Plum Market on Friday and got the orange flower water. I popped its top when I got home and with the first inhalation I was instantly transported back to my grandparents' backyard in my hometown of Los Altos in California, sinking my face into the exhilarating fragrant blossoms of their orange tree. The memory was overwhelming. My grandparents' orange tree holds an almost sacred place in my heart. Many was the morning when I was dispatched to pick full, ripe oranges from the tree with which to make freshly-squeezed orange juice for breakfast. Nothing, and I do mean nothing one can buy in any grocery store can compare to pure, freshly-made orange juice squeezed straight from oranges plucked ripe from a tree not five minutes previously. Oh, that orange juice. Oh, those orange blossoms! This little bottle of heavenly nectar was my childhood in a bottle.

But first, the delectable little cookies that go with the fruit salad. I'm not sure whether to call them cookies or biscuits because their taste and texture is like nothing I have ever tried before. They are an Algerian specialty called ghribia and are absolutely delicious. I have never made anything like them before.

And now for something completely different!

  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup (4 tbsp) butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 ounces powdered sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups semolina flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Dash of salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • Powdered sugar and cinnamon for dusting
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone liners. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Melt the butter in the oil in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Remove from the heat when melted and allow to cool down. In a bowl, stir together the semolina flour, salt, baking powder and set aside. Beat the eggs with the powdered sugar until well blended.

Add the butter mixture and vanilla and mix until well blended. Add the dry ingredients and mix just enough to moisten the dough. The dough will look crumbly and soft.

Wet hands and shake off the excess water. Wet again as needed. Form the ghribia by pinching off balls of dough and forming a dome shape with your palms. Flatten the bottom of the cookie, arrange on the prepared baking sheet a little apart from each other, and sprinkle with a little of icing sugar and ground cinnamon.

Bake for 18-20 minutes. They should remain pale and will have a cracked top. Let them cool on a wire rack before moving them from the baking sheet.

Once the ghribia were done I turned my attention to the fruit salad. The choice of fruit is up to you. I used strawberries and blackberries that I purchased at Plum Market the other day. I can imagine using other varieties of berries depending on what is in season.

For fruit salad:
  • Seasonal berries (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, etc)
  • Granulated sugar, at least 1 tbsp, maybe more depending on taste
  • Orange flower water, at least 1 tbsp depending on amount of fruit used
Cut berries and place in bowl. Sprinkle with sugar and orange flower water and toss to coat. Allow to macerate for at least 1 hour, stirring occasionally. A fragrant syrup will form in the bottom of the bowl. Spoon into bowls and eat with ghribia.


Warda said...

I didn't know orange blossoms have this precious place in your heart. I am so happy you gave the orange blossom water a try; and even happier to know that you like it :) No woories about the shape of the ghribia. The first batches I made when I was a teenager were hideous. It took a little of practice to have a perfect dome. I'm so happy you liked them. They are even better with a mixture of semolina and ground nuts.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

This looks amazing! I was so glad to find your blog through Veggie Town. How cool! Great recipes!