Make Ahead

Basbousa - Semolina Cake soaked in a Lemon Rosewater Syrup

January 19, 2012
3 Ratings
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

This recipe is a traditional middle eastern recipe that features in the cuisines of several countries. I was brave one evening and tried it in the microwave to satisfy my sweet cravings and was thrilled with the results.
Rinku Bhattacharya /Spice Chronicles

What You'll Need
  • For the Cake
  • 3/4 cup semolina
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1/2 cup whole milk yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Almonds to garnish
  • For the syrup
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 limes
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated citrus zest (lemon, lime and or orange)
  • 1 teaspoon rosewater
  1. Mix in the semolina, flour and the baking powder and stir well.
  2. Mix in the egg, butter and yogurt and the sugar and mix well with either a strong wooden spoon or an electric beater until well mixed. Do not overbeat.
  3. Grease a glass casserole and pour in the mixture.
  4. Place the almonds about 2 inches apart, to essentially ensure a placement that is right in the center, when cut into squares.
  5. Cover with the cling wrap and microwave for 5 minutes on high. This does depend on your microwave, I recommend, doing this first for 3 minutes and then adding 2 more until the mixture is firm, but not too dry.
  6. While this is cooking, place the water and the sugar on the stovetop, heat till the sugar is dissolved and the mixture comes to a boil.
  7. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  8. Cut the limes and squeeze in the juice and stir in the zest.
  9. Add in the rosewater.
  10. Cut the semolina mixture into 2 inch squares, such that the almonds are in the center.
  11. Pour over the syrup, this will first seem like a lot but eventually it get absorbed. Let it soak for at least 30 minutes and serve warm.
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1 Review

patti February 10, 2020
was really excited until the word microwave was used -- have been trying to replicate my teta's recipe - will keep trying - not quite there yet.