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A Florentine Chocolate and Semolina Tart to celebrate Easter

Chocolate and semolina are two ingredients that apparently have two completely different lives.

Chocolate is the protagonist of the most spectacular desserts: dark, intense, often reserved just for the grown-ups. Semolina, on the other hand, reminds me of childhood, simple food, motherly cuddles. They meet and fall in love in this tart, two different layers, but well-balanced. It has also a homey, familiar character, as every tart made with a shell of shortcrust pastry dough.

semolina chocolate cake


[First Posted April 2014. Updated April 2024]

I am fond of this cake. I was given this recipe by Emanuela, a friend from Florence, the same who also taught me how to make pappa al pomodoro, something for which I will be eternally grateful.

It is also the dessert I ate the first night I had dinner with Tommaso. It was store-bought and taken out of the fridge at the end of the meal, but at that moment I thought it was the most delicious cake in the world, as if he had prepared it before my very eyes a seven layer chocolate cake.

Chocolate and semolina tart

a Florentine cake with semolina and chocolate to celebrate Easter
5 from 2 votes
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Resting time 8 hours
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Tuscan
Servings 8


For the short pastry

  • 250 grams all-purpose flour
  • 125 grams butter, cold, diced
  • 125 grams sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pinch fine sea salt
  • Grated zest of an organic lemon

For the semolina custard

  • 500 ml whole milk
  • 125 grams semolina flour
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 5 tablespoons vin santo, or any sweet dessert wine
  • 2 eggs

For the chocolate ganache

  • 200 grams 70% dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 200 grams cream
  • 25 grams butter
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Make the crust

  • In a large bowl or on a wooden board, mix together the flour, sugar, salt, and grated lemon zest. Add the cubed butter and use your fingertips to rub it into the other ingredients, until they form fine crumbs, similar to grated Parmigiano Reggiano. You can also use a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment to do this.
  • Add the beaten egg, and use your hands to quickly incorporate all the ingredients, until the dough just comes together. It will still be slightly sticky and not completely homogeneous, but the flour should all be incorporated, with no visible streaks. Flatten the dough into a disc and wrap it in plastic wrap, then stash it in the fridge to rest for a few hours, or ideally until the next day.

Make the semolina pastry cream

  • Heat the milk in a saucepan, add the sugar, then pour in the semolina making sure that no lumps are formed. Stir constantly with a whisk. When the milk reaches the boiling point and you can see big slow bubbles form on the surface of the pastry cream, remove it from the heat, add the vinsanto and stir well to incorporate.
  • Let the pastry cream cool down for about half an hour, then when it is barely warm add the eggs, and whisk until perfectly combined.

Make the semolina tart

  • Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F and butter a 26 cm/10 in round tart pan with a removable bottom.
  • Remove the dough from the fridge and roll it out with a floured rolling pin into a disc big enough to cover the bottom and edges of your tart pan, then transfer it to the prepared pan, fitting it into the bottom and up the sides. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork. With a spatula or spoon, spread the semolina pastry cream evenly over the crust. 
  • Bake the cake for 50 minutes or until the semolina custard is golden and puffed up. Remove it from the oven and let it cool down. The semolina pastry cream will deflate a bit.

While the cake is cooling, make the chocolate ganache.

  • Warm the cream in a small saucepan, and when it is barely simmering pour it over the chopped chocolate. Stir to melt the chocolate with a spatula, then add the butter.
  • Pour the chocolate ganache slowly over the tart, then shake it gently to evenly distribuite it.
  • Let the tart cool completely in the fridge for a few hours before serving. Remove it from the fridge half an hour before eating to bring it to room temperature. It can be kept in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.
Order now the Cucina Povera Cookbook100 recipes to celebrate the italian way of transforming humble ingredients into unforgettable meals. ORDER NOW!

semolina chocolate cake

More chocolate cakes from the blog and newsletter archive

  • Torta Caprese. Torta caprese is an incredibly simple recipe to bake. Even though you could possibly use almond flour to make the cake even more quickly, it really benefits from the use of real almonds, toasted and ground into a coarse meal.
  • Chestnut flour and chocolate biscotti. Turn the traditional Tuscan almond biscotti into a Fall treat. Substitute part of the all-purpose flour with chestnut flour, add the zest of an orange, and a generous amount of dark chocolate chips. 
  • Chocolate pudding. If you find a hundred year old recipe by Pellegrino Artusi which gives you the chance to have a soft, wobbling and refreshing chocolate dessert you don’t want to lose the chance to try it, especially because it is not too sweet as you drizzle it with a thick coating of dark caramel.
  • Chocolate Salami. This is the chocolate salame of kids’ afternoon birthday parties, of rooms full of colourful balloons, gift paper excitedly torn into a million pieces, soft milk buns with prosciutto, tiny round pizzette that you could eat in one bite, bowls of popcorns and chips.

semolina chocolate cake

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This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Wow Juls! Massive congrats on the book! I think your blog is wonderful and it’s a real inspiration for me. I hope to move (back) to Italy over the next couple of years to really focus on mine. London life is far too busy! Really looking forward to trying the chocolate and semolina tart – it looks amazing.

    Emma x

  2. Hi Jul’s , congratulations on your new cookbook, you must be so excited! Your chocolate and semolina tart looks so delicious can’t wait to make it! Love your blog and food photography, sending you lots of support and encouragement x

  3. Jul’s…. APPLAUSE!! Looking forward to following your journey. Your Texas girls are so thrilled for you! Hugs!!!

  4. Congratulations Giulia!!! I’m sure this cookbook will be a great success and that it will be translated in english too -to be enjoyed by the rest of the world too! 🙂

  5. O congratulations Giulia!!! How cool is that? And I’m sure the book will be out in other languages very soon! Whoohoo!!

  6. What great news Giulia! I found your blog after my trip to Italy last year..just luck I guess and love it. I even painstakingly convert the metric to US measures. Good luck.

  7. Beautiful tart and congratulations on your book!! Looking forward to hearing/reading more about it and maybe some sneak peeks? 🙂

  8. Congrats on your new book! Home from my wonderful Italian holiday, and I right away made a zuppa inglese for my office friends. It came out great, and everyone loved it. They want me to cook a whole meal from my Italian recipes… maybe next vacation!

  9. Yay! Fantastic news and so excited for you! I’m working on my first cookbook right now – it’s just the most amazing amount of hard work but also fun 🙂

  10. I have been following your blog for quite a while, since Domenica Marchetti mentioned it in her blog. I find your recipes and your photos absolutely worthy of the new book you are ready to publish.My name might new in your blog, ma sono una romana che vive negli U.S.A. e ama la buona cucina e la fotografia artistica. Grazie per tutte le ricette e BUONA PASQUA Giulia!!!!

  11. Congratulations on your new book, how exciting. Love that your tart has another layer, the custard. Very elegant looking!

  12. The cake looks lovely! I have a question, what exactly is semolina flour? Is it the same as semola? The internet gives very confusing answers if you try to translate it… And can I replace the vin santo with something else if I don´t have it at home? Thank you very much in advance!

    1. Hello Clara! semolina is usually finer than semola, but you could you semola if you do not find it. Ans of course yes, replace vinsanto with a sweet wine or liquor! let me know how it will turn out!

      1. 5 stars
        Hello Giulia! I used a fine Semola in the end and I found a good Vin Santo. The cake turned out absolutely delicious!

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