A delicious cake that is popular throughout the Middle East. It tasted a lot like coconut macaroons! My host mom showed me how to make it (but for precise measurements, I got the recipe from: http://www.ahlanlive.com/basbousa-semolina-and-coconut-squares-244261.html)
- 2 cups coarse semolina
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- 1 egg
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup yoghurt
- 1 cup milk (or a carton of cream and ½ cup water)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp vanilla seeds
- ½ cup blanched almond, cut in half for garnishing
- 3 tbsp tahini, to coat the oven tray
- 1 tbsp oil
- Heat the oven to 160C. Brush an oven tray with tahini.
- Mix the semolina, coconut, baking powder and vanilla.
- Beat the egg then add to it the oil, sugar, milk and yoghurt, and whisk all the ingredients until they’re creamy and smooth.
- Add the liquid mixture to the dry mixture and combine well using a wooden spoon.
- Transfer to the oven tray and spread the mixture evenly.
- To make the surface even, pour over the tbsp of oil and pat gently using the back of a spoon.
- Using a knife, make very shallow cuts along the surface to mark out the squares and place half an almond in the middle of each one. Place the tray in the middle of the oven for about 20 minutes, then take it out and gently cut the squares again (this is to avoid it getting crumbly if cut once it’s baked through).
- Put the tray back in the oven and cook for another 20 to 25 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes, then pour the syrup (room temperature) evenly over the surface.
- Allow to cool for at least an hour, or ideally, overnight.
- FOR SYRUP (pour on top):
- Put 1 cup sugar and ½ cup water into a pot and bring to the boil until the sugar dissolves.
- Add ½ tsp lemon juice and cook over a medium heat until the liquid reduces by about a third – about 15 minutes.
- Add ½ tsp cardamom or rosewater. Allow to cool and pour over basboosa.
Before baking (we put crushed mixed nuts on one half)