This is not your school days semolina pudding. I promise. No lumps or bumps or tasteless paste. This is semolina pudding for sensualists. This pudding is smooth, moist, golden, scented with vanilla, creamy with white chocolate. Sexy and yet comforting at the same time – yes its possible. Just think of the scent and feel of your favourite partner’s worn t-shirt enveloping you, and you will know what I mean… Or not! You might just have to take my word for it!
Its a doddle to make – and I needed something simple, yet decadent, because I came home from an almost six hour shopping spree with ZaZa and my feet hurt! I am expecting people for dessert tonight, and I was thinking of making a cake, or cookies, but this is so much easier. And it can all be made in one pot if you are super lazy (though transferring the cooked semolina into a nice looking baking dish is pretty simple too), and tastes like you slaved over the stove for hours. I love that kind of cooking.
This does not require a huge amount of technical cooking, chopping, slicing, dicing or sauteeing. Its a little bit of waiting (for the vanilla to infuse), a little bit of stirring, some pouring (if you are putting it in a pretty baking pan) and some more waiting while it bakes golden. It does however depend on your sense of taste and balance – how much vanilla? How much white chocolate? How much, if any, sugar, to balance the chocoalte? I have to rein myself in in regards to chocolate, but if you feel like going wild, you have my blessing! Substitute dark or milk if you wish, but I think this pudding is perfect with white chocolate.
Here in Malaysia we call semolina suji or sooji and it is used for cakes, puddings, and a huge variety of Indian dishes. Its also used extensively in Italian and European cooking for pastas and breads, amongst other things. Its used as the base to make couscous, and is basically the coarse pieces of starch or endosperm (what a word!) from milling of durum flour. It is awesome.
And the jam? Well, when you have Duchy Organic damson jam, theres not much point in making your own. Its the best jam ever. Dark purple, and tasting like mystery … superb with this pudding, on a slice of dark brown bread, with a bit of cheese. Its only available in the shops on a seasonal basis (which I like very much), so when I see it, I grab at least 3 or 4 jars and hoard it with pure adoration. Use whatever jam is your personal favourite!
This will fit a large-ish baking dish, serving about 6 – 8 people, depending on greed 😛
- 4 cups milk (or a mix of milk and cream – or for the lactose intolerant out there, almond or oat milk, or even coconut milk)
- 1 vanilla pod (or up to 2 tsp vanilla essence, added later)
- 1 scant cup semolina
- 1 cup white chocolate, chopped plus addition 1/4 cup optional
- 1 tbsp light brown sugar (or to taste – optional)
- 2 eggs
- 1 – 2 tbsp butter
- Jam and a bit of cream to serve
Pour 4 cups of milk into a medium saucepan. If you are using a vanilla pod, slice it in half lengthways, scrape the vanilla seeds into the milk, and drop in the pod as well. Bring the milk almost to a boil (when you see little plip plops of milk at the surface, take it off), stirring with a whisk all the while, and take off the heat. Leave, covered, for about 15 minutes, to allow the vanilla to infuse the milk. If you are using vanilla essence, leave for a few minutes to cool down, and go on to the next step.
Preheat your oven to 180 C and butter a large-ish baking dish (I use two small pretty white ceramic dishes because thats what I have!).
After 15 minutes, uncover the milk, and slowly whisk in the semolina. Whisking in the semolina off heat, in warm instead of boiling milk, ensures that the finished product is smooth like silk. Put the saucepan over medium heat, and allow the mixture to come to the boil, whisking all the while. As you bring the semolina milk mixture to the boil, it will start to thicken. It will eventually get quite stiff. It is boiling when the semolina starts to bubble at the surface. Make sure you whisk the entire time to ensure that it does not burn, and stays smooth.
Off heat, fish out the vanilla pods, and add the white chocolate. I usually add about 1 cup of white chocolate, and then taste. Chocolate varies so much in quality and sugar levels, that sometimes you may need the addition of a tablespoon (or even two) of light brown sugar. Most of the time, if you are using good chocolate, you dont really need it. I leave it to your (sweet) palate to decide. Remember though, that if you decide to serve it with jam, it will have a very sweet addition, and so needs to be mildly sweet, rather than overly sweet. You can kill this pudding with too much sugar!
If you did not use a vanilla pod, add your vanilla essence now, to taste.
Switch to a spatula, and beat in the eggs, and the butter. These two ingredients act as softeners and thickeners as the pudding bakes.
If you are feeling very decadent, and are a chocolate fiend, feel free to sprinkle extra chocolate over the pudding just before it goes in the oven (that would be me!). It might be nice to have a white chocolate semolina pudding, and sprinkle over with shards of bittersweet chocolate. Though I would then serve a seville orange marmalade with the pudding rather than damson jam. You could also, if your heart so desires, sprinkle some nutmeg or cinnamon over, though for me, these tastes are too much for the delicacy of this pudding.
Bake in the oven for about 30 – 35 minutes until the top is golden, and the pudding is slightly puffed. Take out of the oven, and allow to cool at least 10 – 15 minutes before serving. You could leave the pudding in a switched off warm oven while having dinner if you like…
Serve with some jam and may be some extra cream on the side for those who want it (and I dont know anyone who wouldnt!)