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Spirited Sweets: Semolina Pudding with Ginger Vodka Sauce

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A few years ago, my husband received The Vodka Cookbook and a bottle of Smirnoff for Christmas. He was grateful but a bit bewildered, having never much been interested in drinking vodka let alone incorporating it into his cooking. So it sat on our shelf untouched and eventually I stole the vodka to make mixed drinks for a party.

Recently, however, I have become interested in using spirits in something other than cocktails. And because the sweet, not the savory, is my passion, I have been exploring making cakes, cookies and other desserts with hard alcohol. BakeItWithBooze has proved to be an invaluable source of ideas and recipes, as have numerous Pinterest boards. For my first foray into alcoholic cooking (ahem, cooking with alcohol, not cooking while tipsy), I decided to wander off the beaten baked-good path and try a pudding. I modified (simplified) a recipe found on myrecipes.com:

Semolina Pudding with Ginger Sauce

Pudding Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons golden raisins
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cashews
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup semolina
  • 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom

Topping Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vodka
  • 1 teaspoon ginger powder


  1. Combine raisins, cashews and olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook two minutes, stirring constantly, until raisins turn puffy.
  2. Stir in semolina. Cook three minutes, again stirring steadily, until golden brown.
  3. Add water, granulated sugar, saffron and cardamom. Cook one minute, stirring rapidly to avoid lumps.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook 4 minutes or until semolina is soft, stirring frequently.
  5. Divide mixture evenly among nine-muffin cup pan. Cool completely. Place a plate upside down on top of pan, and invert puddings onto plate.
  6. Combine yogurt, sour cream, powdered sugar, ground ginger and vodka in a medium bowl and stir until smooth. Ladle onto pudding.

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