Why Egyptian basbousa is the semolina cake we need to all be baking

It is really 1 of the SBS Foodstuff all-time dessert favourites. A recipe by Amira Georgy in her Egyptian Food items Safari episode with the extraordinary guideline, Maeve O’Meara and a single that gets its golden colour from the (numerous grams of) melted butter. It is basbousa.

Basbousa (basbussa, basboosa) has Ottoman roots. It is popular throughout lots of Center Eastern international locations recognized by lots of other names this kind of as harissa, namoura and revani to name a handful of, and is an Egyptian and North African dessert mainstay. It is popular for the duration of Eid, Ramadan and Lent and is an egg-free cake that and can be built lactose-absolutely free, by substituting the dairy butter for plant-dependent or making use of ghee or coconut oil, as well. 

This sweet tale starts with a semolina or farina batter. It is slightly thick, not overly sweet and the coconut is subtle all through. It really is minimize into its signature diamond condition, topped with nuts either ahead of and/or just after it truly is baked and then concluded off in a aromatic scorching syrup. It can be as straightforward as a sugar syrup (1 ½ cups sugar to 1 cup water), orange blossom, or more frequently rosewater and lemon juice. 

Georgy brought her recipe to our screens in the mid-2000s and I am heading to dip my dessert-loving hat to it correct listed here, right now. It works by using the tried using and tested system of ‘cooled syrup meets sizzling cake’ and the odor by yourself is motive ample to have one particular rotating in and out of the oven when at house. 

Semolina is calling

Preheat the oven to 180°C. In a medium-sized bowl, mix 2 ½ cups semolina, 1 cup desiccated coconut, 1 cup caster sugar and ½ cup self-increasing flflour. Add 200 g Greek or thick yoghurt, 200 g melted butter (you can also brown your butter if you love that excess nuttiness) and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Mix nicely and Georgy suggests undertaking this with your fingers to get the texture correct. If the mixture is far too thick and dense, you can add a tablespoon of milk or a tiny watered down yoghurt to loosen it up, but it should nonetheless be considerably agency, among dough and batter.


Spread the combination with your hands into a buttered or lined 30 cm baking tray. You can also line your tin with tahini if you have got a jar in your pantry. Push down firmly and evenly and you can relaxation it for 30 minutes if you have the time, but it really is not a dealbreaker. Lower diamond shapes producing absolutely sure to contact the base, this allows for that syrup to trickle amongst the layers. Position a blanched and peeled almond in the centre of just about every diamond and you can also use a different nut that you have on hand as very well. Bake for 35–40 minutes or right until golden brown, specially close to the tin’s edges.

To make the sugar syrup, spot 1 ½ cups sugar and 1 cup h2o in a medium-sized saucepan and provide to boil, stirring till the sugar has dissolved. Simmer for 4-5 minutes without the need of stirring to ensure the sugar will not crystallise. Add 1-2 tsp of rosewater and 1 tsp of lemon juice and then set apart to interesting. Pour cooled syrup over the hot cake quickly and enable it sit and soak for 15-20 minutes. Finish in further coconut and nuts for included crunch.

A good friend of mine told me that basbousa in Arabic is in some cases applied as a time period of endearment for our loved types, so be guaranteed to share your basbousa with your basbousa.

Love the tale? Stick to the author here: Instagram @farahceljo.


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