Libyan Safra for Purim


Safra, also called sefra, is an aromatic semolina dessert from the Jewish community of Tripoli, Libya, and a fun Purim treat. Rome’s cuisine benefited when the Libyan Jews found refuge in Italy in 1967. The honey and orange glazing give a rich flavour and adds a lovely sheen to the almond and sesame seed topping.

Preparation time: 50 minutes
Makes 20 approx

300g semolina
1 egg
100g sugar
50g raisins
100ml water
100ml sunflower/corn/vegetable oil
2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
20-25 blanched almonds
Handful of sesame seeds

For the honey glaze:
150ml water
150g sugar
3 tbsp honey
Zest of 1 orange or 1tbsp orange water


Preheat your oven to 180°C. Line a 22x22cm square (or similar volume round or rectangular) oven dish with baking parchment.

Spread the semolina on an oven tray and toast in the oven for 10 minutes, shaking the tray after 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the egg, sugar, raisins, water, oil, baking powder and salt. Gently fold in the toasted semolina.

Pour in the mixture and with a knife mark diamond shapes by crossing lines. Place an almond on top of each diamond square. Sprinkle the sesame seeds all over.

Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and mark the diamond lines again with a knife. Return to the oven for 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the honey glaze. Gently heat the water and sugar in a non-stick saucepan for 8-10 minutes stirring occasionally. When the sugar has dissolved, add the honey and orange zest. Bring to the boil then turn off the heat.

As soon as the cake is ready, pour over the glaze and return to the oven for a couple of minutes.

Remove, cool completely then cut the diamond squares.

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