Halvas Rinas - semolina and almond cake flavored with Grand Marnier

Sep 28, 2012


   We call halvas confections made with semolina, oil, and syrup as basic ingredients. The result is a compact shaped bar. Halvas Rinas, though, is a very fluffy cake made with the basic ingredients of halvas but with the addition of eggs and milk and with the syrup added after baking.
     This cake resembles ravani, but it’s flourless and that produces an airy cake; at the same time the semolina, absorbs the syrup evenly. We made Halvas Rinas for the first time when looking for a dessert to enhance the taste of our new crop of almonds, and it turned out to be really good. Grand Marnier or any other liqueur you prefer gives an especially nice taste to the syrup. 
     Although I asked and even googled about Rina, the inventor of this cake, I found absolutely nothing, but her recipe has made her famous.

For 18 squares (I used a 23x33cm baking pan)

5 eggs (yolks separated from whites)
150gr granulated sugar
250ml luke warm milk 
200gr  butter
2tsps baking powder
100gr grated almonds 
vanilla flavor
¼ tsp salt
280gr fine semolina 

For the syrup:
2 cups (400gr) granulated sugar
2 cups (500gr) water
50ml Grand Marnier

     Preheat the oven to 170 C. Grease the baking pan and dust with flour. That is, shake to cover the whole surface with flour and then discard the excess flour. 
     In a medium sized bowl, beat the egg whites with a mixer at low speed until foamy, and then beat at medium- high speed until they become shiny, thick, and stiff, but not dry. Set aside.
     Cream the butter, sugar and salt in an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add the egg yolks one by one, beating continuously. Add milk, and vanilla and all at once add the semolina and almonds to the batter; beat at low speed until semolina disappears. Add half the egg whites, folding gently with a rubber spatula or a large spoon until they are well mixed into the batter. Fold in the remaining egg whites gently, and then pour the batter in the baking pan.
     Bake for 50-60min or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely.
     In a sauce pan over medium heat add both water and sugar and bring to a boil; let simmer for 3 min, add the liqueur and carefully pour it slowly all over the cool halvas cake.  Let it cool again and keep it refrigerated. 

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