Update : Picture updated Dec 2010
Basbousa is a traditional Middle Eastern dessert! My mom found the recipe a few years ago, and has been making it ever since! Everyone simply LOVES it! I'm always interested in traditional desserts around the world, and to compare the differences, and morely, the similarities! It's quite shocking sometimes! Basbousa is very similar to the Indian dessert, Halva. It can actually also be called Coconut Halva. It's a nice way to variate, without going too far away from the traditional, so that people expecting traditional dessert will also have a bite of this!
The basbousa actually really easy, and much lighter than it's Indian counterpart! It's essentially a one-bowl recipe! You just dump in all the ingredients, directly into the pan even! While it's baking, you can make the super-easy syrup, and pour it on once it's done! It's really that simple! The syrup is a real important step, don't skim on it!
Adapted from RecipeZaar
1 stick [1/2 cup, 113 g] butter, melted
3/4 cup [210 g] granulated sugar
1/2 cup [75 g] flour
1 1/4 cup [275 g] semolina
1 1/2 cup [150 g] coconut - make sure you use dessicated, shredded tends to absorb moisture, and make it pudding-y!
3/4 cup [220 g] milk
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp almond extract
blanched whole almons, for decoration
For the syrup -
1/3 cup + 2 tbsp [110 g] granulated sugar
1/2 cup [125 g] water
1 tbsp rose water
1 tbsp lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 180 C [350 F], grease a 9x11 pan.
- Mix together all the ingredients for the cake, except the blanched almonds.
- Pour it into the pan, score into diamond shapes, and add almonds to each piece [This is the traditional way to do it, and the almonds look really good when baked]
- Bake for 35 mins, or until the top browns.
- While the cake is baking, prepare the syrup.
- Boil together the sugar, water and rose syrup, if using, until no granules remains.
- Take off the heat, and add the lemon juice.
- Pour onto a slightly cooled cake. The syrup will pool on top, don't worry. It will all get absorbed, and give the most amazing texture.
- Give the 'cake' a few hours to soak up all the syrup, and then cut along the scored lines.