I have a little obsession with collecting church cookbooks from Lebanese Orthodox churches around the country. It started when I inherited my grandmother’s church cookbook from 1963, with stained pages and copious recipe notes hand-written by her on the pages. The church cookbooks are a great way to find traditional recipes that have been passed down for generations.
As I was flipping through a few books looking for something to stress-bake, I stumbled upon a recipe for namoura, a syrup-soaked semolina cake. I didn’t grow up with this cake but have eaten it at family gatherings with my family in New York and in Beirut. It’s the perfect accompaniment to Lebanese coffee!
In the various church cookbooks I read, some called for milk, others used yogurt. Some included finely chopped almonds, some didn’t. All of them had lots of sugar in the batter, even before adding the syrup. I came up with my own hybrid using yogurt, cutting out a lot of the sugar in the batter and the quantity of syrup, and adding finely chopped nuts. And, since we’re under coronavirus lockdown and I didn’t want to go to the grocery store, I swapped out almonds for pistachios because that was what was in my pantry.
It came out so delicious. Give it a try and be sure to tell me what you think!