My cheesy baked harcha

Since I have a bit of time to sneak in another recipe, here is the savoury version of the baked harcha I just posted earlier. I made that up so it's not part of the Moroccan cooking repertoire.

I have started a serie of posts about Harcha (see here and there but first start with this one.). I love harcha but I love the savoury versions more. So I worked out some variations to the sweet baked version (which isn't that sweet but it's still sweet).

You can adapt it to your liking and I'll suggest some ideas in the end



Ingredients
For a 25 cm pan/tin (It can be round or square or any shape you have)
Prep: 5 min- baking: 30 min

  • 500g of fine semolina flour
  • 1 tsp of fine sugar (optional)
  • 80 ml of olive oil or a mix of oil/melted butter
  • 1 tbsp of sea salt
  • 14 g of baking powder
  • 1/2 liter of milk or 50% milk-50% buttermilk
  • 1or 2 tbsbs of fresh or dried herbs (Thyme, basil, oregano...)
  • 40 g of crumbly white cheese: feta will do
  • 3 tbsps of chopped sundried tomatoes in oil (I used their oil this time)
  • Chopped olives or cornichons or capers, chopped spring onions


Preparation

Preheat the oven at 200 degrees C. Cover the baking pan with baking paper or just butter it and generously sprinkle fine (not the flour type) or medium semolina (not the couscous type).

For Harchas, we usually use the fine semolina grains (on the right). In Morocco, It's common to use fine semolina flour (on the left) for other bakes and sometimes Non-Moroccans confuse these two.

Mix the semolina with the salt, sugar, herbs and oil. Work the ingredients with your finger to make sure every single grain of semolina is coated with the fat.

Add the milk and stir to combine.

Add the rest of the ingredients. Do not forget to roughly crumble the hard white cheese


Pour the mix in the pan.

Bake at 180 degrees C for approx 30 min until both sides are nicely golden brown.

Once cooked, transfer onto a wire rack and let's cool down.

Serve at room temperature just as it is or with cheese, pickles, olives. I even serve mine with a mild harissa.

You can also use it to make a sandwich or cut it with cookie cutters, then cut it through and serve it as a base for canapés.


Notes

  • I like to add herbs and spices to the mix. Olives are also great in there. chopped cooked bacon or cold cuts..
  • You could add 1 egg to the mix like I did today but honestly it's not really needed.
  • I also replace 1/3 of the semolina with polenta.
  • For a marbled effect, you could take the 3rd of the mix and mix it with sundried tomato paste or mild harissa then marble the white mix with it.
  • The cake can be 2 to 4 cm thick depending on your pan but then you need to adjust the baking time. 
  • If you choose to make a thick cake, you could cut it through, fluffen up some tarama cream along with whipping cream and generously fill in the center.
  • If you choose to use the syrup, you could also make a harcha cake tray and cut it into individual portions which you can top with whipped cream and fruits. It's like having a sort of Baba. 
  • For a gluten-free version, use polenta.



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