Basboossa is the equivalent of the Arab world’s pound cake. Very rich and dense, delicious, yet simple to make and requiring only four basic ingredients: semolina, yoghurt, sugar and butter! It is a dessert that elicits a sigh of longing when it is mentioned to Egyptians like my friend Phoebe. Comforting and basic, it conjures up moments of childhood spent roaming the streets of Cairo or Alexandria where cart vendors would sell it encased under plastic sheeting to protect it from pesky insects.
- 1 1/2 cups semolina
- 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (more for garnishing)
- 1/4 cup sugar (or 3 tablespoons)
- 3/4 stick of unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups yoghurt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- tahini paste to brush over the pans
- sugar syrup or atter
- Brush the pans with some tahineh until the surface is thoroughly covered.
- In a mixing bowl, mix all of the semolina, sugar, coconut, baking powder with a wire whisk or a wooden spoon.
- Add the butter and mix well.
- Add the yoghurt and mix until the batter is firm.
- Spread the batter and then flatten it gently to even it out in the pans. Cover and let it rest for at least 3 hours and up to overnight in the fridge.
- Prepare the syrup by mixing in a saucepan 1 cup of sugar with 1/2 cup of water and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Let it boil for about 10 minutes and then add the flavoring (rose and orange blossom water) if using, or vanilla or lemon extract. Cool.
- Heat the oven to 375F, bake the basboossa for 30 minutes or less if using small molds (about 10-15 minutes), until the surface is golden.
- Pour the syrup all over and let the cake stand for at least 1 hour to absorb the syrup.
- Add some coconut on top as a garnish. You can also toast the coconut in a skillet for 5 minutes if you wish.
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