Basbusa piece

Basbousa is a traditional Middle Eastern sweet cake made with semolina and a rosewater sugar syrup. It is a lovely sweet treat at the end of a large meal.

My dear friend Azwa and her husband Justin generously made this traditional dessert for our Abu Dhabi dinner!


Adapted from Famous Cuisines Channel

2½ cups semolina
1 cup desiccated (unsweetened) coconut
1 cup sugar
½ cup self-raising flour
¾ cup thick yoghurt
1½ sticks (12 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup blanched almonds (see below)
1½ cups sugar
1 cup water
1 tsp lemon juice                                 
1 tsp rosewater

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Prepare an 11 x 14” baking dish by generously buttering the bottom and sides.
2. In a large bowl mix the semolina, coconut, sugar, flour, yoghurt, melted butter and vanilla.
3. Spread the mixture with your hands into a buttered 11 x 14” baking dish. Let rest for 30 minutes.
4. Cut into diamond shapes, cutting all the way through to the base of the pan.
5. Place an almond in the center of each diamond.
6. Bake for 35–40 minutes or until golden brown.
7. Meanwhile, make the syrup. Place the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
8. Simmer for 5 minutes without stirring. Stir in the lemon juice and rosewater and remove from the heat. Leave to cool.
9. Once the cake is finished baking, remove from oven and pour the syrup over the cake while the cake is still hot. Cool.

Great served with coffee or hot tea.

Blanched Almonds
¼ cup almonds

1. Bring a small pot of water to boil
2. Add almonds and boil for no more than 1 minute
3. Drain and rinse with cold water
4. Blot dry, let cool for a few moments
5. Using your fingers, simply squeeze almond out from skin, it should fall off very easily.

We ran out of little blanched almonds so finished off the corners with pistachios!