• Sweet semolina filo pie (bougatsa) (Alan Benson)Source: Alan Benson
Semolina - ground wheat - is the quiet achiever at the heart of these sweet and savoury bakes.
14 Jul 2020 - 1:34 PM  UPDATED 14 Jul 2020 - 1:36 PM

--- Watch Anjum Anand make her savoury semolina loaf in Indian Food Made Easy, Wednesdays at 7.30pm on SBS Food Channel 33 from 15 July to 19 August, with season two following in September. Episodes are available on SBS On Demand after they air ---

The creamy-yellow grains of semolina are most often made by grinding durum wheat, although you might also find rice or corn semolina too. It varies from fine to coarse, from yellowish to pale, but what unites them all is that semolina can be transformed into a world of delicious cakes and bakes, from a veg-strong savoury Indian loaf to sweet, sticky desserts. 

Almond-orange syrup cakes

"These easily-made cakes (you just stir everything together) are typical of sweets found in the cuisines of the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean, where ground nuts (pistachios, almonds, walnuts) and semolina are widely used. Their slightly gritty texture works beautifully with the infused sugar syrup," says Leanne Kitchen of her recipe for these sweet citrusy cakes. 

Sesame cheesecake (myzithropita hyti)

Ricotta, cream, eggs, semolina and sesame come together in this Greek dessert, which is like a crustless cheesecake. 

Savoury semolina cake

"This savoury cake is spongy, crispy on the edges and replete with the textures of the vegetables. It is light and satisfying, easy to make and takes care of itself in the oven," says Anjum Anand of her version of an Indian classic. "It hails from the Gujarati community but is my cheats’ version; no soaking or grinding required."

Sri Lankan love cake

This is a fragrant, sweet, lightly spiced cake with a moist chewy inside and a crunchy exterior. The recipe is a three-generation family favourite. 

Sri Lankan love cake


This Egyptian recipe for sweet semolina cake is incredibly easy to make. It's topped with divine rosewater and lemon syrup.


Lemon and coconut semolina cake with pistachios

In Gabriel Gaté's recipe, the cooked lemon, semolina and pistachio cake is soaked in a lemon syrup. "It’s a beautiful cake that seems to please everyone," he says. 

Lemon and coconut semolina cake with pistachios

Semolina domes (Şekerpare)

A delightful Turkish dessert with a zesty lemon glaze that keeps it moist and sticky, and is best served with piping hot Turkish coffee, this recipe comes from Somer Sivrioglu. 

Semolina domes

Sweet semolina filo pie (bougatsa)

A sweet semolina custard is at the heart of this Greek dessert, wrapped in layers of buttered filo.

Sweet semolina filo pie (bougatsa)

Savoury semolina cakes (dhokla)

A breakfast staple that also serves well as a side dish, these vegetarian semolina cakes are spiced with curry leaf, mustard seeds and coriander.

A breakfast staple that can also make a great side dish.

Neapolitan semolina and ricotta cake (migliaccio)

"A staple during Naples' Carnival festivities, migliaccio is the region's rustic semolina and lemon cake which is made rich and moist with the ricotta," says Silvia Colloca.

More semolina stars
Date cookies (Maamoul)

Maamoul means 'stuffed' in Arabic, and these Arabic pastries are usually filled with a luxurious mix of dried fruit and nuts.

Semolina helva (irmik helvasi)

A recipe that takes time (to cook the semolina on the heat) and attention (so you do not burn it!) and, in the end, a flavour with a hint of toasted grain and caramel.

Whipped cranberry semolina porridge (vispipuuro)

Whipped berry porridge, known as vispipuuro in Finnish, is one of my favourite Nordic dishes – be it for breakfast, as a midday snack, at a Nordic fair, or as a version of berry power bowls.

Sweet cheese pastry (knafeh)

Popular throughout the Levant, this syrup-soaked cheese dessert is commonly encased with kataifi pastry, but this recipe from Sydney's modern Lebanese restaurant Embers Mezze Bar uses a crushed Corn Flakes and semolina mixture instead. The golden crust, topped with rose petals and pistachios, barely contains the molten cheese centre.

Sweetened semolina (kuindiong)

Kuindiong is a traditional dessert typically prepared by the Dinka people in Southern Sudan.

Caramelised semolina with clotted cream (mafroukeh)

"This is a traditional Lebanese sweet that can be found in sweet shops all over Lebanon," says Rabih of Al Afrah Sweets.