Today’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe is not the Caramel Topped Semolina Cake. There’s a little more backstory as to why I chose not to make Arman’s Caviar in Aspic, but the gist of it is that it is not a recipe I can pull off for breakfast on the same day the post is due. I’m happy there are a few more recipes I can rationalize preparing and serving before the sun is fully up.
The main ingredient for the caramel topped semolina cake is farina (aka cream of wheat) cooked in milk. We eat a lot of hot cereal for breakfast, and although our favorite is cooked cornmeal, farina is a close second. Enriching the cream of wheat with an egg is something a Puerto Rican grandmother would probably do, but baking it and serving it as a cake? Topped with caramel? Let’s call it flan de farina and serve it for dessert on brunch. It is too sweet as written to eat as a substitute for the actual cereal. It could work if cutting back the sugar stirred into the cereal to a scant quarter of a cup.
Since I do not own cake pans, other than Pyrex, I bumped up the recipe by an extra 50%. E also usually eats the serving of cereal in the ingredients for the cake by himself. For this recipe, I ended up breaking out the almost 10″ metal flan pan. I made the caramel directly on the flan pan. I would have use the square 8″ glass pan, but I got serious flashbacks to the one time I tried to make caramel on Pyrex on the stovetop. Fire! Glass shards! Sticky sugar everywhere! Now I don’t even dare pour the hot caramel into tempered glass pans or measuring cups.
And another way of not forgetting…
The original recipe for the caramel-topped semolina cake appeared in Martha Stewart Living. This is my adaptation, leaving out the dried fruit and adding just a bit of cinnamon to bring it closer to the Puerto Rican breakfast cremita.
So… that brings us to the topic of the original recipe intended for this French Friday.
Eduardo is allergic to caviar. Not to the salmon roe that studs sushi rolls, but to ‘the better stuff’. On a visit to the kitchen bar at Emeril’s Miami outpost, we were served an amouse bouche that was sprinkled with black caviar. After we were done with the course, E’s face swelled up, he started sneezing, but thankfully he did not have major difficulty breathing. He switched from wine to water and enjoyed the rest of the meal as best as he could. He says that he wants to buy a jar of caviar to test whether he is really allergic or not, but I tell him that he can do it only if I can stab him with an Epipen at the first sign of symptoms. Since he’s not a fan of needles, and these days the last thing we need is a visit to the emergency room, I opted to do a makeup recipe I had been eyeing for a while.
(And just like that, we got out of making fish jello – er, aspic. Thank you E!)
French Fridays with Dorie is an online cooking group where home cooks and bloggers from all over the world share their experiences cooking from Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table.