Basbousa or Haressa is a sweet cake made of semolina and coconut soaked in syrup. It is famous dessert in Eastern mediterranean cuisines which has a variety of names. The syrup makes the cake super moist and juicy. Just like the different names, there are a few different recipes to prepare it. Actually it is quite simple to make and really delicious. I first had this dessert at our usual eatery 'Aladdin gyro-cery' here at Seattle. Its a treat for your sweet tooth. Its open on all days until 3 am i guess. We love our late night dinners there, and i mean really late, like 2am after finishing our road trip. Oops! got carried away with my story. And here goes the recipe.
1 1/4 cups Semolina/Rava
1/4 cup All purpose flour/Maida
2 1/4tsp baking powder
1/4 cup +1tsp shredded Coconut (frozen and thawed)
1/4 cup Ghee(melted)
1/4 cup Olive oil
1/2 tsp Almond extract
1/4 cup + 2tbsp plain Yogurt
1/4 cup Sugar
15 raw Almonds
1/2 cup Water
3/4tsp Rose water
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease and flour a baking dish/cake pan and keep it aside.
- Roast the shredded coconut in a medium flame until dry and keep it aside. (Instead you can use store bought dry coconut flakes.) Also dry roast the almonds.
- In a bowl, mix together the semolina, flour, baking powder, sugar and the roasted shredded coconut.
- Then add the wet ingredients; ghee, olive oil, yogurt and almond extract. (The original recipe calls for 1/2 cup butter, but i used 1/4 cup each ghee and olive oil. Its up to you to use whichever you prefer.)
- Knead into a soft dough and transfer it to the baking pan.
- Press and spread the dough with you hands to equal thickness.
- Sprinkle the roasted 1tsp coconut flakes over the top and place the almonds pressed over it.
- Bake the cake for 35 mins.
Meanwhile, lets prepare the rose water syrup.
- In a sauce pan, add sugar and water and bring it to a boil at medium heat.
- Simmer for 5 more mins, pour the rose water and switch off.
- Let the syrup cool down.
- Remove the baked cake from the oven and immediately make squares with a sharp knife.
- Now pour the syrup all over the hot cake to absorb it.
- Allow the cake to sit for 2-3 hours to soak up all the goodness before you serve it.