Recipe: Bobota (Sweet Cornbread From Thessaly)

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This cake is gluten-free and crumbly.

Makes two 8.5-inch cakes

For the cake:

    • 1 pound cornmeal (yellow)
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 cup light olive or sunflower oil, plus 2 to 3 tablespoons for the pan and to top the bread
    • 2/3 cup sugar
    • 1 cup golden raisins
    • zest from 1 orange and 1 lemon
    • 1 cup very warm water
    • 1 1/2 cup orange juice
    • syrup (recipe follows)
    • lemon or orange liqueur (optional)

For the syrup:

    • 1 cup sugar or ½ cup sugar and 3 tablespoons honey
    • 1 cup orange juice or water
    • zest from 1 orange or tangerine

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Mix all ingredients together, except the sesame seeds, stirring with a wooden spoon to make a thick batter like cooked polenta. Add a bit more water if needed. Line two 8.5-inch baking pans with parchment paper and oil the bottom and sides, then sprinkle with sesame seeds. Divide the dough between the pans and brush the surface with oil, then sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes or more, until golden. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.

While the cake is baking, make the syrup. Simmer syrup ingredients for about four minutes, then let cool.

As you take the cake out of the oven, prick with a toothpick and douse with lukewarm or cold syrup. Let stand in the pan for one to two hours, and invert onto a plate. If you like, sprinkle with lemon or orange liqueur just before serving.

To read Aglaia's story about cornbread in Greece and Italy, click here.

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Aglaia Kremezi writes about food in Greek, European, and American magazines, publishes books about Mediterranean cooking in the U.S. and Greece, and teaches cooking classes. More

Aglaia Kremezi has changed her life and her profession many times over. She currently writes about food in Greek, European and American magazines, publishes books about Greek and Mediterranean cooking in the US and in Greece, and teaches cooking to small groups of travelers who visit Kea. Before that she was a journalist and editor, writing about everything, except politics. She has been the editor in chief and the creator of news, women's, and life-style magazines, her last disastrous venture being a "TV guide for thinking people," a contradiction in terms, at least in her country. She studied art, graphic design, and photography at the Polytechnic of Central London. For five years she taught photography to graphic designers while freelancing as a news and fashion photographer for Athenian magazines and newspapers. Editors liked her extended captions more than the pieces the journalists submitted for the events she took pictures for, so she was encouraged to do her own stories, gradually becoming a full time journalist and editor. You can visit her website at www.keartisanal.com.


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