When I was growing up, our neighbours up the street were Middle Eastern. Every Ramadan season, they would invite our family for an Iftar feast. Most of the dishes they served were not familiar to me, but the one dish that stood out from the rest was the basbousa. It had a subtle sweetness that was not overpowering and was the perfect finish to a meal or as a teatime snack.
When my family moved to the UAE, I became more familiar with Middle Eastern cuisine. I learnt to cook many of the dishes that I had tasted in my youth, but my liking for basbousa has remained steadfast. After a lot of trial and error, I found a recipe that was simple yet tasty from the Nestle Family website.
Every time I make it for my ladies kitty party, I get rave reviews and requests for the recipe, so I thought I will add the recipe here for more people to enjoy. You can also get the recipe from the Nestle website which has a wide repertoire of recipes from across the planet.
For the cake
200 grams melted butter
1 can condensed milk
1½ teaspoon baking powder
1 cup almond powder
2 cups semolina
For the Syrup
2 cup sugar
1.5 cups water
1 tablespoon rosewater
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons almond powder
Combine all the cake ingredients in a bowl and mix well. It will form a dense paste. Make sure there are no lumps. Prepare a shallow baking sheet by greasing it well with butter. Press the batter into the pan making sure the sides are well covered.
Bake it at 1900 C for about 35 minutes or till the top is golden. While the cake is baking, prepare the syrup by gently heating the sugar and water until the sugar melts. Bring to boil, turn off the heat and add the rosewater, lemon juice and almonds. Cool and keep aside.
Once the cake is done, remove from the oven and pour the syrup over it while still warm. Once the cake has cooled down, keep it in the fridge before cutting into diamond shapes. Decorate with almonds or pistachios.