Once you have tasted these feathery light biscuits, chances are you’ll never bake any other biscuit. They are tender and mouth-watering.
The recipe originated from Paula Wolfert’s The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean. It has been adapted a bit from the original, but not too much.
The thing about these biscuits is that they improve with age. And you really should wait for 1 day before eating. But I dare you to do that without tasting them straight out of the oven.
Semolina Butter Biscuits
1 cup fine semolina
1 cup plain flour
1 cup butter
0.66 cup icing sugar
0.75 tspn orange blossom water
1 tspn finely grated orange and/or lime zest
30 – 35 pistachio pieces (green, peeled pistachios) or flaked almonds
Preheat the oven to 140C.
Sift the semolina and flour into a bowl and set aside.
Beat the butter until it white and fluffy, about 10 mins. Do this using a cake mixer, hand held beater, by hand, or try the food processor. The more you beat the lighter the biscuit. When I use the food processor, I wipe down the sides of the bowl every minute.
Gradually sprinkle in the icing sugar , citrus zest and orange blossom water. Beat for 2 more minutes.
With a rubber spatula, fold in the flour and semolina mixture. The dough will be quite soft. Refrigerate, covered, for 10 mins.
Line your trays with baking paper. Shape the dough into small balls using about 1 Tblspn of mixture and place on the baking tray about 1 cm apart. Place a pistachio in the centre of each one and press each one gently with two fingers to flatten slightly.
Bake for 30 – 40 mins. The biscuits should remain pale. Be careful not to overcook. Cool on the try for at least 1 hour.
Store the biscuits in an airtight container at least 1 day before serving.
recipe notes and variations
Use rose water instead of orange blossom water. Omit the zest if doing this.
Powder pistachios quite finely and include a little with the flour. Sprinkle some over the biscuits before baking. Or afterwards.
Cardamom would also be an awesome flavouring. Omit the zest but keep the pistachios.
Add a pinch of salt to the biscuits. Sift it with the flour and semolina.