Basbousa is a traditional Middle Eastern moist cake-like sweet or dessert using semolina/suji/cream of wheat, baked and soaked in a sugar syrup, either flavored with orange blossom or rose water. The other names for it used in different parts of the middle east are “Harissa”, “ravani or revani” etc.
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Step 1: INGREDIENTS NEEDED:
2 ½ cups coarse suji/semolina/rava
1 cup coconut powder or flakes (dried)
¾ cup castor sugar or powdered sugar
½ cup all purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
1 cup thick yogurt
¾ cup melted butter (unsalted)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract/essence
Few almonds, blanched, peeled and halved
FOR SUGAR SYRUP:
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 teaspoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon rose essence/extract
Step 2: INSTRUCTIONS:
Grease a large baking pan (I used a 9 x 11 inch pan) with ghee or butter.
In a large mixing bowl, add the semolina, coconut, sugar, flour, baking powder, melted butter, salt, vanilla essence and yogurt.
Mix well with your hands till the semolina is well coated and all the ingredients are well mixed.
If you feel the mixture is too dry, add a few teaspoons of milk.
Once it is thoroughly mixed, spoon the semolina mixture into the greased pan and spread it till the edges; make sure to smoothen the top well.
Cover and keep aside for about half an hour for the flavors to blend well and semolina to soak up all the wet ingredients..
Step 6: Meanwhile, Let Us Prepare the Sugar Syrup:
In a saucepan, heat the sugar and water on medium till the sugar starts to melt, stirring continuously.
Once the sugar has melted completely, lower the heat to medium low and simmer for about 5 minutes without stirring.
After 5 minutes, remove from heat, stir in the lemon juice and rose essence; keep aside to cool.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit or 190 degrees Centigrade.
After 30 minutes of soaking, cut the mixture into either square shapes or diamond shapes.
Place half a blanched almond on each cut diamond and press gently.
Bake the semolina-coconut mixture in the preheated oven for 35 to 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
Remove from the oven and immediately, pour the cold sugar syrup over the hot basbousa!!
Make sure to cover the whole pan with the syrup.Keep aside for at least 2 to 4 hours or even overnight for the syrup to soak through.
Cut and Serve it either cold or at room temperature; refrigerate leftovers.
Step 11: NOTES:
For a lighter cake, you can reduce the semolina/suji to 2 cups.
For a different flavor, you can use a cinnamon stick in the sugar syrup.
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