Basbousa. Middle Eastern Semolina Cake

Happy Thursday! If you have been following the news or know anyone who is of Islamic faith then you know that Ramadan has been observed by Muslims all over the world for the last 4 weeks. During the annual observance of Ramadan Muslims fast for one month, which involves not eating or drinking between sunrise and sunset. This is meant to allow people to devote themselves further to their faith with the goal of ultimately becoming closer to God. The annual fast during Ramadan is an integral part of the Islamic faith.

This year Ramadan took place from mid-May to mid-June (ending on June 15th this year). The last day of Ramadan is known as the “festival of breaking the fast” and it is called Eid al-Fitr, this marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. On Eid as it is known Muslims gather together at the mosque for a prayer before spending the day with family and friends with a large feast and wishing one another ‘Eid Mubarak’ or ‘Blessed Eid’. Which brings me to this Middle Eastern dessert called basbousa that is usually made for celebratory occassions.

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How did we come across this eclectic and delicious sweet dessert called basbousa? It started when my daughter Anjali as part of her World History class’ final-graded project had to do a presentation on any world topic of her choice. Guess what topic she chose? The very controversial Israeli/Palestinian conflict. As part of her presentation Anjali wanted to make a Palestinian dessert that she could hand out in class. While researching Palestinian desserts Anjali came across basbousa. Basbousa is a Middle Eastern dessert that originated in Egypt. So why did Anjali consider this a Palestinians dessert? While researching her topic she discovered that Palestinians live in many parts of the Middle East not just in Palestine and Jerusalem but also in countries such as Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Iran and Jordan.

There are many variations of basbousa, Anjali chose this recipe Basbousa. Middle Eastern Semolina Cake on themediterraneandish.com mainly because it looked very easy to make and the ingredients were simple. Basbousa tastes very similar to halwa but is more of a cake consistency.  It’s very light and fluffy and tastes scrumptious 😋. Folks, this is an awesome recipe! Give it a try!

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Basbousa
Basbousa. Middle Eastern Semolina Cake on themediterraneandish.com

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 cup fine semolina PLUS 1 cup coarse semolina (or 2 cups coarse semolina or 2 cups original Cream of Wheat enriched farina)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut or coconut chips
  • 1/4 cup shaved almonds
  • For Cinnamon Syrup:
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 3/4 cup water
  • 1 short cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 tsp lemon juice

Here is a look at our basbousa making process

  • Mix yogurt, baking powder and sugar together.

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  • Add semolina and mix into a creamy consistency.
  • Add milk and butter and mix until smooth.
  • Pour batter into baking pan and bake for 45 minutes until golden brown.
  • In the meantime make cinnamon sugar syrup. We added cardamom powder for some extra flavor.
  • Pour sugar syrup over warm semolina cake and let it soak for 2 hours.
  • After 2 hours semolina cake is ready to eat! Top with slivered almonds and shredded coconut.

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  • Cut and serve!

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  • We placed our basbousa on Turkish and Israeli plates. We love exotic pottery!
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Pottery from Israel gifted by my cousin Uma from her business trip to Israel

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Beautiful pottery plate from Turkey

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The basbousa was devoured by the entire family and Anjali’s classmates loved it too! I even served it to our friends Devi and Del when they stopped by for tea and they had seconds and took some home as well! Basbousa is a delicious sweet semolina cake that tastes great with a strong cup of coffee. Give it a try!

For complete instructions on how to make basbousa take a look at this link Basbousa. Middle Eastern Semolina Cake on themediterraneandish.com

اكل سعيد في فلسطين

akl saeid fi filastin!

Happy Eating! in Palestinian Arabic.

Eid Mubarak.

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