Chefs' Recipes

Phil Wood's semolina cake with orange ice-cream and eggnog custard

With the Laura chef's dessert, it's Christmas time, every time.

By Phil Wood
  • 30 mins preparation
  • 1 min cooking plus infusing, freezing, cooling
  • Serves 6 - 8
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"The texture of this cake is somewhere between a pudding and French toast," says Phil Wood of Laura and Pt Leo Estate. "Orange ice-cream is a great match with semolina, and the eggnog-spiced custard will remind everyone of the flavours of Christmas."


  • 80 gm butter, plus extra for frying
  • 250 ml (1 cup) milk
  • 80 gm (½ cup) fine semolina
  • 80 gm caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 4 eggs, separated
Orange ice-cream
  • 500 ml (2 cups) milk
  • 11 gm (½ cup) caster sugar
  • Finely grated zest of 2 large oranges, plus 125ml (1⁄2 cup) strained fresh orange juice
  • 4 large egg yolks
Eggnog custard
  • 375 ml (1½ cups) milk
  • 125 ml (½ cup) double cream
  • 2 cinnamon quills
  • Scraped seeds of 1 vanilla bean
  • ½ tsp finely grated nutmeg
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 75 gm (⅓ cup) white sugar
  • 80 ml Bourbon


  • 1
    For orange ice-cream, combine milk, half the sugar, half the zest and a pinch of salt in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from heat and leave to infuse for 30 minutes. Beat egg yolks with remaining sugar in a bowl until thick and pale. Add milk mixture to eggs, beating to combine, then return to pan. Stir continuously over medium heat until mixture coats the back of a spoon (8-12 minutes), then strain into a bowl set over ice and stir until chilled (10-15 minutes). Add orange juice and remaining zest, churn in an ice-cream machine and freeze until needed (at least 2 hours before serving).
  • 2
    Preheat oven to 180°C, butter and sugar a 22cm-diameter cake tin and line outside with foil so it's watertight. Combine butter, milk and a pinch of salt in a large saucepan over medium heat, bring to a simmer, then rain in semolina, whisking constantly. Stir until thick (2-3 minutes), then remove from heat, cover and cool briefly (10 minutes). Meanwhile, whisk sugar and eggwhites in a bowl to soft peaks. Stir yolks through semolina, then fold in eggwhites. Spoon mixture into prepared tin, cover tightly with foil and place in a roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into pan to come halfway up sides, then bake until firm to the touch and just set (10-15 minutes). Cool in tin.
  • 3
    For eggnog custard, combine milk, cream and spices in a saucepan and bring to the boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and leave to infuse for 5 minutes. Beat yolks with sugar in an electric mixer until thick ribbons form. Slowly add milk mixture to eggs, whisking constantly until smooth, then pour into a clean saucepan. Stir continuously over low-medium heat until mixture thickly coats the back of a spoon (5-6 minutes). Strain into a bowl and stir through Bourbon.
  • 4
    Remove cake from tin and cut into wedges. Melt a knob of butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until foaming. Add cake wedges in batches and fry, turning and adding more butter as needed, until golden (1-3 minutes each side). Serve warm with ice-cream and custard.


Drink suggestion: A topaque, such as Pfeiffer Classic Topaque from Rutherglen. Drink suggestion by Andrew Murch.