Basbousa can be best described as a dessert of Middle Eastern origin. Yes it is a dessert from a desert. It has variations in each country, especially those near the Mediterranean region and i have attempted to create a recipe of my own by making some variations in the syrup rather than in the cake itself.
This is my second attempt at baking a semolina cake. The first one was a Turkish Pistachio semolina cake. It tasted good but since i reduced the quantity of egg, it was not that soft. So i decided not to change the basbousa recipe and followed the ratio. Since this is the first attempt at basbousa i tried with small portions. The actual syrup recipe has sugar and few drops of lime. But for the syrup i followed the syrup in the Turkish recipe. This is one of the desserts i would call it 'divine'. Sorry for the bad picture above.....i was in a hurry and couldn't make it good diamond shapes, i should have at least cut in squares...
You can keep a ratio of the ingredients, so that you need not write down the recipe all the time. Here the ratio is 200 gms of semolina (rava), 200 gm sugar (in total) and 200 ml liquid (yogurt + oil), 200 mls syrup (100 ml orange juice and 100ml water) ...isnt that easy..
ingredients for the cake
fine semolina - 200 gms (you can blend regular rava / semolina in mixie for 5 seconds)
caster sugar - 100 gms
Yogurt - 100 ml
Vegetable oil - 100 ml (the orginal recipe has 100 gm melted butter)
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
Baking powder - 3/4 tsp
Rind of 1 orange (optional)
Almonds and pistachios - 1 for each piece
for the syrup
sugar - 100
fresh orange juice - 100 ml
water - 100 ml
rosewater (optional) - 3 drops
Rind of 1 orange
Place the sugar, yogurt, vegetable oil, vanilla and rind of orange in a bowl and mix well until the sugar is fully dissolved. Add the semolina and baking powder and mix well with a spoon or your hand. The mixture will be slightly water. Leave it aside for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, place all the ingredients for the syrup in a saucepan and bring it to a boil in medium heat. Let it boil for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and let it cool.
Grease a baking tray with butter or oil. Once the semolina mixture has rested for 30 minutes, give a quick mix again and place it in the baking tray and smoothen the top to level it. Cut it into desired shape and place the alomonds on each piece. I sprinkled the pistachios. Bake it at 180C for 30 - 35 minutes until the top of the cake turns golden brown.
Take it out of the oven. Pour the cool syrup on the hot cake. Serve warm. You'll love it. This is totally different from the Indian sooji ka halwa aka Rava Kesari