Basbousa, semolina cake from Egypt

Basbousa -The middle eastern Semolina Cake

Basbousa, Harissa, Revani, or simply a Semolina and Curd cake is what this Middle eastern gastronomy dessert can be called as. For simpler terminology, this is a semolina cake drenched in sugar syrup and can be claimed as a very popular dessert treat that has left indelible footprints across the Middle East and some parts of the Mediterranean , Africa and Europe as well.

Semolina sweet delicacies are a familiar sight across restaurants in the Middle East. With regions, the names and texture seems to vary basis the cultural food traditions , however, the base of semolina and curd remaining the same.My recipe is the  Egyptian Basbousa version of the semolina cake today, a delight that’s popular across Egypt. In Greece and Turkey, the same cake with slight changes is called as Revani.

Basbousa , in Arabic language is a simple semolina and yogurt cake featuring coconut that is soaked in sugar syrup . Ideally Basbousa as a term in the Arabic Dictionary is known to be understood as “something sweet”. That’s how probably , the origin of this flavorful dessert is related to a sweet dessert.

Basbousa semolina cake

Basbousa, the middle

Nevertheless, there are myriad ways of preparing the best of Basbousa recipe with a blend of varied flavors that conjure up in making the most decadent Bascousa with a distinct taste and perceptible flavor .While some recipes call for the  use of eggs, some are eggless, like mine is an eggless version.Likewise, some renditions use a syrup flavored with rosewater or orange peel, while still others use a flavor derived from spices like cinnamon.

Mine is a classic one today, eggless version with a generous amount of coconut , and a sugar syrup made with few drops of rose water.The resultant delight is a beautifully created soft, moist yet dense and sandy sweet cake .The coconut semolina curd and butter works beautifully to create magic, with a beautiful blend of semolina and the dominating coconut.

Well come to think of it, travelling back home, in a layman’s language this can very well cross paths with our Suji(Semolina ) cake, without the sugar syrup. The suji cake is a step down simpler broken into just few ingredients of Suji, curd, sugar,oil and baking powder.A simple cake made with suji, sugar,curd and oil, it forms the crux of a basic Suji cake that we call so in India

So Middle East or India, Suji or semolina cake trends on familiar pattern of delicious desserts served . I like to relish my share with a cup of tea at times and even as a dessert after meals.

Filled with flavor and dramatic amalgamation of the sugar syrup into the baked Basbousa, this  gorgeous cake is a mix of sweetness from the coconut and sugar syrup that cuts through the sourness of the curd if any ;and balances the taste , while the crunch of the semolina and the coconut lends a beautiful chewy texture. With a  copious amount of coconut, its has a subtle domineering touch to the overall cake.

Depending on what type of semolina you use, the texture might change, however I mostly love the fine semolina, which I use often for other Indian delicacies like Upma and Sheera as well. Its gives out a smooth and soft texture that completely absorbs the sugar syrup thus soaking in the flavorful rose water infused sugar syrup and working out a delectable soft Basbousa.

Garnish it with some flaked almonds and desiccated coconut like I do and prepare  to surrender your taste-buds to this beautiful middle eastern sweet delight of indulgence.

Basbousa -The middle eastern Semolina Cake
 
Basbousa is a middle easter Semolina Cake thats very popular in Egypt. Its a semolina cake made with semolina, curd coconut and drenched in Sugar Syrup and is found across the regions of Middle East .
Author:
Recipe type: Cakes
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Ingredients
  • Semolina 2 cups( cup size 250 ml)
  • Curd 1 cup
  • Coconut ¾th cup
  • baking powder 1 tsp(you can use soda as well, but i prefer baking powder)
  • Milk ¼th cup or if the batter thickens, you can add ⅓rd cup
  • Butter ½ cup
  • Sugar 1 cup
  • ⅓ cup flaked almonds for garnish
  • For Sugar Syrup
  • Sugar 1½ cup
  • Water 1½ cup
  • Rose Water 1 - 2 tsp
  • lemon juice- ¼ tsp
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F ( 175 degrees C) for 10 minutes
  2. In a mixing bowl, add sugar and yogurt. Blend. Add butter and blend again
  3. Add the semolina, coconut ,baking powder and milk. Mix well with a spatula
  4. Transfer to a 8x 8 inch round baking tray(greased)
  5. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.
  6. If the top has still not browned then you might change the temperature settings "top power only" for 5 minutes or turn on the broiler for 1-2 minutes until the top is slightly browned
  7. While it is baking , make the sugar syrup by adding water and sugar on high heat. Bring to a boil, add rose water and turn the heat to low flame and let cook for a few minutes until the syrup marginally thickens.
  8. Remove from the flame and add the lemon juice..Let it cool
  9. As soon as you remove the basbousa from the oven, pour the cooled sugar syrup over it and let it absorb the syrup.
  10. Let the cake sit for an hour or two before serving so that the syrup completely soaks into the cake.
  11. Cut into diamons or squares and serve with garnish of almonds and desiccated coconut on top

 

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