Monday, October 12, 2009

Basbousa, or Baked Coconut Halva


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!

Picnik collage

Basbousa/Coconut Halva
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

Instructions -
  1. Preheat oven to 180 C [350 F], grease a 9x11 pan.
  2. Mix together all the ingredients for the cake, except the blanched almonds.
  3. 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]
  4. Bake for 35 mins, or until the top browns.
  5. While the cake is baking, prepare the syrup.
  6. Boil together the sugar, water and rose syrup, if using, until no granules remains.
  7. Take off the heat, and add the lemon juice.
  8. 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.
  9. Give the 'cake' a few hours to soak up all the syrup, and then cut along the scored lines.
What you achieve are perfect mini-desserts! Sorry I don't have a picture of a piece, this was given away! But each piece comes out seperately, with a nice firm texture. The taste is simply out of this world, not too sweet, and you can't really taste the coconut, so coconut haters, don't run away from this one. It's like a tea-time dessert, and Indians will find the taste very familiar! Try this!

Baked basbousa


  1. Oh this looks so nice and yummy. I have to try it. I adore traditional recipes. Thanks for sharing :)

  2. That look wonderful! I love coconut and almond together.

  3. Looks nice and yummy..however I'll have to eat it all by myself similar to having to finish the bounty chocs that come in the packet of assorted chocs..Coconut sweets are so much hated at home....

  4. Oh I love Basbousa! I have baked it a few times, a little bit different recipe than yours. But I have to agree with you, everyone just loves it! :)

  5. This looks so tasty and I adore coconut. :-)

  6. It looks amazing, thanks for sharing it with the world.

  7. Oh wow that looks yummmm, pics are looking grt :-)
    Wish you and your family a happy and properous diwali

  8. Just stopped by to say hello. How are you doing?
    Your cookies look like you could pick them up right off the page. Wonderful. Let me know if you would like me to purchase some items for you here and I could ship them in the flat rate Post Office boxes. They are $10.99. for shipping.

  9. Hi first time here...Coconut halwa looks yummy...

  10. that's very interesting and you are right, the similarities even more so :)

  11. Hi there Avanika,

    What a beautiful dessert. It looks elegant, and how nice that it's kind of simple. Your photos are lovely (that close-up of the almonds is very pretty).

    :) Jane

  12. This looks delicious! I like the coconut, almond and semolina combination. Also I love anything with rosewater.

  13. Natalie - Thanks. Glad to know you tried it!

    Palidor - Then you MUST try this! It's fab!

    Rachel - All the more for you!

    Chocolaty Lifestyle - Glad to know you like it too. Could I have a look-see at the recipe?

    Chef Jeena - It doesn't taste exceptionally coconutty, however!

    SousouKitchen - You're totally welcome.

    Parita - Thank you!

    DCRose - Thanks for the offer. I'll mail you about it!

    Tina - Welcome to the blog. Thanks!

    Nags - It's amazing, isn't it? The world is much smaller than we think it is!

    Jane - Thanks so much!!

    Erika - Well, then, it seems tailor-made for you!

  14. Wow, this looks just amazing! I love coconut anything so this is right up my alley!

  15. Ooh thankyou for the recipe! I've bought this but never made it myself :)

  16. Oh, i lovde this one....i used to have it while i was in uae....just love this one...the halwa is soaked in syrup and have been thinking of making it since a long long time...but my hubby hates anything with sooji and coconut!

  17. Creampuff - It's really lovely :)

    Lorraine - I wish I could buy it somewhere around me. But it's easy enough to make whenever I crave it!

    Shabs - Yup, I have faint memories of eating it in UAE too! Halve the recipe and eat it yourself ;)

  18. I can't wait to try this. It looks delicious.
    Do you melt the butter before adding it to all ingredients or do you cream room temp. butter with sugar?

  19. Anon - Sorry I missed that out! I melt the butter and just mix it with the rest of the ingredients!

  20. This is yummy . i have made it and i am going to make it again today .. thanks for a great one :)


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