some versions are made with yogurt and some with milk. this recipe can use soy milk to ensure it can be eaten at a meal with meat and includes oil instead of butter. amongst sephardi jews, this cake is seen often at either rosh hashanaha or passover where it is made using matzo meal. it traditionally has (wal)nuts and cinnamon in it. in all versions, like many of these types of cakes, a syrup is made from either sugar or honey (or a combination of both) and is poured over the baked cake to absorb.
this is a very popular cake with young and old. it is made in a 'tifsin' [round pan here, in this case]. this version has no nuts (it is the one i make for a friend who is allergic to them) and the batter is not pre-scored as is usually done in many recipes for it. the measurements for this recipe [and some others i have] are done with 'la kupa', or a turkish tulip-style teacup [also called 'le verre'].
until i measured it to write out the recipe, i had no clue how much it equaled. try getting an exact measurement for some of these recipes — that's old-world ancestor recipes for you!! so for convenience and recipe translation, it adds up to a 1/2 cup in standard measurement (4 oz). it is also used to measure out portions for turkish coffee — but only up to the first line!
tishpishti, hold the nuts
1/2 c oil
1/4 c sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 c AP flour
1 c semolina (fine grind; not pasta flour)
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 c milk, yogurt or soy milk [or analogue - almond/rice milk, o.j., water]
1 1/2 - 2 tsp vanilla or almond extract
1 tsp orange zest if wanted
1 tsp orange flower water [m'aa zaher] or rosewater
1 1/4 c sugar
2 tbsp honey [optional]
1 1/2 c water
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tbsp orange flower water or rose water
the original was/is:
1 k(upa) olive oil
1/2 - 3/4 k. sugar
4 small eggs
1 k. flour
2 k. semolina
1 [pkg] levure chimique
1/8 tsp soda / salt
1 k. yogurt/milk/water
orange zest & m'aa zaher
2 k. sugar + 1/2 k. honey
3 k. water
pistaches moulues (p décorer)
make the syrup. put all but the orange flower water or rosewater in a small pot, stir to mix and cook over medium heat about 15 minutes until you get a very thin syrup. it is thinner than, say, maple syrup. remember it will thicken when it cools and this must absorb into the cake. add the flower water and set this aside to cool.
if it gets too thick — something you do not want in this instance — you can try adding several tablespoons of water to thin it to what you need but i don't suggest it. just keep an eye on it. again remember, you don't want a viscous syrup.
remember, the rule of thumb is hot syrup to cold pastry or cold syrup to hot pastry. we are working with the latter method.
now, preheat oven to between 375 and 400F [190C].
grease your baking tin with margarine or butter. don't use oil as it does not adhere well to the pan which you need. (you can use a round 8 inch but it should not have very short sides as syrup will be added and it may not contain it).
place all the dry ingredients in a bowl. add the oil and eggs. stir well.
add the milk, extract, flower water and stir again. put this batter into the pan and give it a gentle whack or two on the counter to release any bubbles.
put it in the oven to bake for 55 minutes to 60 minutes.
you will notice that it will have pulled away from the sides and condensed. the surface will seem a little oily, that is normal. it will also be a dark golden colour.
pour the cooled thin syrup over the hot cake.
after a few minutes, the cake will start to absorb the liquid and it will eventually disappear. they may be a bit left over. this is fine and normal.
about 15 - 20 minutes later cut it into diamonds. the procedure is as follows:
- make cuts all the way through cake spaced about 2 inches apart from top of pan to bottom;
- make same cuts now at a 45 degree angle and you will end up with diamond shapes (draw it on a piece of paper first if you can't imagine it, to get the idea before you cut);
- the little uneven ones are for noshing or giving to kids. adults [guests] usually get the perfect diamonds.
let it absorb for a few hours. serve at room temperature. don't refrigerate the cake. store on the counter covered with tin foil. it will be good for a day or two.