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Basbousa - a simple and popular Middle-Eastern dessert


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Zeynab
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« on: April 04, 2008, 11:37:18 pm »

 BismEm



Delcious basbousa dessert


I recall, the first time I heard of the word 'Basbousa' was a few years ago from a Palestinian colleague at an institute where we were doing some computer courses.  Basbousa was the name of her much loved, pampered pet cat.  When I asked her what that word meant, I was told that Basbousa was a very sweet Middle-Eastern dessert.  I was also told that verbally in Arabic, a loved one can also be referred to as 'basbousa' just as in English one would say "sweety" or "my sweet." 

It was not until last week when I was passing a Perisan bakery and I stepped in to buy some Middle Eastern dessert that I saw a tray with five or six yellow cake-syrup squares that looked appetizing.  Apparently the item was selling fast and just a few were left.  Upon enquiring I was told it was Basbousa.  I decided to buy whatever was left and I don't regret it.  It tasted delicious!

For those who have never eaten Basbousa .. it is a Middle-Eastern dessert like a cake, but not exactly a cake.  The basic ingredients are semolina, shredded coconut and a whole lot of sugar.  However, you can adjust the quantity of sugar and make it less if you're not much of a sweet-tooth.  Though people also make rich Basbousa with cream, the recipe given below is the original and standard one and it is tasty and light.

Basbousa ingredients

1/2 cup oil (corn or canola).  Most recipes say butter, but we prefer oil.
1 cup semolina flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp. baking powder
A drop or two of vanilla extract
blanched almonds or pistachios for garnishing

Ingredients for syrup:

3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp. lemon juice
About 1/4 cup water

Preparation:

1) Make the syrup by dissolving the sugar and lemon juice in boiling water. Simmer until it thickens, then set aside and let it cool.

2) Mix all ingredients (except the syrup) in a large bowl. Stir thoroughly and spoon into a shallow, lightly  greased baking tray.  You can use a greased pie-pan if you like.

3) Bake for 20 - 25 minutes until it is golden, with the edges just beginning to brown.

4)  While it's baking, blanch, peel and slice/cut the almonds or pictachios.  Keep aside.  Actually it would be a good idea to prepare this a day in advance and keep it in the fridge. 

4) Remove the basbousa from the oven.  Coat the top with the cooled syrup, making sure all of it is covered. Once the syrup has begun to absorb, put the pan back in the oven for another 5 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Cut into squares or diamond shapes in the pan.  Garnish with blanched sliced nuts.  If you are using pictachios for garnishing, you can also use a little shredded coconut with it.  The green and white garnishing adds color to your Basbousa.

Serve hot after cutting into squares or diamond shapes.  Enjoy Smiley

Note:  If you like, you can also add one beaten egg to your Basbousa recipe.
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N. Truth Seeker
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« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2008, 11:57:43 pm »

wow, great basbousa pic.  I've had basbousa many times.  It's light compared to other middle-eastern desserts and tastes perfect with a hot cup a coffee after a spicy meal. 

Cat's name 'basbousa'?  teethsmile  that sounds cool!
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Ruhi_Rose
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« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2008, 12:12:53 am »

I too love basbosa.  I've been meaning to make it since so long but somehow haven't yet gotten down to it.  My cousin makes it very well.  she makes it just like this pic but with different decoration of powdered pistachios.  The only problem with basbosa is that left-overs turn hard the very next day, probably because of the syrup.  The syrup tends to settle down at the base leaving the top and center dry.  So make sure you finish your basbosa while it's still fresh. 

Thanks sister zeynab.  If you try it out, do let me know how it tastes Smiley
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Zeynab
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« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2008, 11:59:31 pm »

Well, I made basbousa last evening. It turned out real great! Just make a minor correction in the recipe. Using one egg is not optional, it's a must. Without it the batter will be too dry. Even after putting in one beaten egg, the batter was somewhat dry so I had to add 2 tablespoon water. And preparing it at home is much cheaper than buying it from a bakery .. almost half the cost.
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Ruhi_Rose
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« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2008, 07:50:43 pm »

Ah! u did? teethsmile thanks for the additional tips. and was it soft? usually the basbosa sponge tends to become a bit hard and dry the next day or after a couple of days.
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Heba E. Husseyn
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« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2008, 09:15:21 pm »

gee -- basbousa!!?  me, heard of it but never ever made it.  I thought it was a very complicated dessert.  But as u put it here, looks pretty simple.  I can imagine, semolina and finely shredded coconut with a little flour will make the sponge really really soft and moist.  Coconut contains quite a lot of oil and helps to keep the sponge soft.  Thanks sis.  You bet I'm gonna try baking this sooner rather than later  Cheesy
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« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2008, 06:48:01 pm »

Sis rose .. no, the sponge wasn't tough nor dry.  Just perfect.  In fact, a lot softer than the one from the bakery.  I suppose that was because I put about half cup finely shredded coconut.  Cononut contains oil and keeps the sponge soft.  The bakery one obviously had no coconut.  As we know, commercial foods are prepared at the minimal of cost price and maximum selling price.

Sis cat .. yes, it's very easy.  Nothing complicated at all.  In fact, it's simpler than the usual conventional cake.



 Smiley
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AceOfHearts
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« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2008, 07:51:55 pm »

Interesting. Thanks Sr. Zainab for sharing the recipe. Smiley
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« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2008, 10:18:20 pm »

u r very welcomed brother.  If there was a way of sending it thru the web, i would have sent everyone a piece ... Smiley
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