If, like me, you love anything made with semolina, you will love this dessert. Basboussa, (known as Namoura in Lebanon and Revani in Greece ) is Arabic for ‘just a kiss’.
There are many different ways of preparing Basboussa, but I find this recipe is a real hit. It is often made with Rosewater, which I am not fond of at all, so I used Orange Blossom Water instead. Cortas is our favourite, it has a wonderful aroma and flavour. You can find Cortas Orange Blossom Water here (Amazon affiliate link). Alternatively, you could use 1 tablespoon of lemon juice instead.
This recipe does not use eggs, and you can replace the butter with almond butter to make it vegan.
It is best made with coarse semolina for a fabulous slightly spongy texture – the milk and yoghurt provide sufficient moisture. The baking powder here gives the lovely golden colour.
If you prefer a sweeter dessert, make a thicker sugar syrup by adding more sugar, according to your taste, and cooking for longer.
For mini basboussas, pour the mixture into buttered cupcake tins and bake for 15 minutes.
This recipe is so simple, you will be making it all the time. Basboussa is delicious served after a meal, or with coffee or tea, and makes a lovely gift, wrapped in cellophane and ribbon.
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- 2 cups coarse Semolina
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 1 cup plain thick yogurt
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup melted butter or almond butter
- 1/3 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup almonds
For the syrup
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon orange blossom water
- Preheat the oven to 175C and butter an 8-inch (20 cm) baking dish.
- In a large bowl, mix the semolina flour, 1 cup of sugar, the butter and the baking powder.
- Add the milk and yogurt and mix till it is like a paste. If it seems too thick, add a small amount of milk.
- Spread the mixture evenly into the buttered baking dish and smooth it down. Bake for 40 minutes until golden brown.
To make the syrup
- In a small saucepan, combine the water and 1 cup sugar. Stir till the sugar dissolves, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes.
- Remove from the heat, allow to cool slightly and add the orange blossom water. Set aside till the cake is ready.
- Remove the cake from the oven. Cut into diamond shapes with a butter knife and press an almond in each piece.
- While it is still warm, pour the syrup evenly over the top of the cake so it soaks all the way through.
- Place the cake back in the oven for 5 minutes or till the top is a lovely golden colour.
- Allow the cake to cool before serving. Press an almond into each diamond shape and serve.
- For mini basbousas, pour the mixture into buttered cupcake tins and bake for 15 minutes (till golden brown). Pour sugar syrup over the mini version and bake for another 2-3 minutes.
- Semolina and Orange blossom water can be found at most Italian or Middle Eastern grocery stores.
- Adjust the level of sweetness by halving or adding to the amount of sugar in the syrup.
- To make it vegan, substitute the butter with almond butter
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