Basbousa Recipe from Libya

Introducing Basbousa: The Ultimate Guide to Making Libyan Semolina Cake

If you’ve never tried Basbousa, you’re in for a culinary delight. Originating from Libya and popular across the Middle East and North Africa, this semolina cake is infused with simple syrup and garnished with almonds or walnuts. It combines the sweetness of sugar, the richness of butter, and the texture of semolina to create a dessert that’s truly more than the sum of its parts. Follow along as we explore this Libyan delicacy in detail.

A Journey Through Time: The Fascinating History of Basbousa

Basbousa, known by different names across various cultures such as ‘Revani’ in Turkey or ‘Hareeseh’ in the Levant, has deep historical roots. Originating in the Middle East, the dessert quickly spread to North Africa, becoming a staple in Libyan cuisine. It’s a dish that signifies celebration, often served during religious and festive occasions like Eid and weddings. Passed down through generations, Libyan Basbousa has maintained its core ingredients while allowing room for individual family variations.

What You’ll Need: Ingredients and Quantities for Authentic Libyan Basbousa

For this traditional Libyan Basbousa, you will require:

  • 1 cup semolina
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted melted butter
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Almonds or walnuts for garnish
  • For the syrup: 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water

Master the Art: In-Depth Directions for Crafting Basbousa

For a dessert that delivers on both taste and texture, follow these detailed steps:

  1. Begin by preheating your oven to 180°C (350°F). This allows for even cooking.
  2. Take a mixing bowl and add the semolina, granulated sugar, melted unsalted butter, and desiccated coconut. Combine these ingredients until they form a consistent mixture.
  3. Slowly add water to the dry mix, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. The mixture should become somewhat dough-like.
  4. Include 1 teaspoon of baking powder to the mixture for some fluffiness. Mix well.
  5. Grease a square or rectangular baking dish. Pour the mixture into the dish, spreading it evenly with a spatula.
  6. With a sharp knife, lightly score the surface of the mixture into diamond or square shapes. This will make it easier to cut after baking.
  7. Place an almond or walnut in the center of each scored piece, pressing lightly so it sets into the mixture.
  8. Place the dish in the preheated oven. Bake for about 30-40 minutes or until the top becomes a golden brown color.
  9. While the Basbousa is baking, prepare the sugar syrup. In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup of sugar with 1/2 cup of water. Bring to a boil and simmer until the mixture thickens slightly. Keep an eye on it to avoid caramelization.
  10. Once the Basbousa is done, remove from the oven and immediately pour the hot sugar syrup over it. Allow the syrup to soak in.

Final Thoughts: Rediscover Traditional Libyan Basbousa

This in-depth guide should equip you with all the knowledge you need to make traditional Libyan Basbousa. This easy yet rewarding recipe results in a dessert that’s perfect for any occasion, or just a sweet treat for yourself.

Your Questions Answered: Basbousa FAQs

1. Can I substitute vegetable oil for butter?

Yes, although butter provides a richer, more authentic flavor.

2. What’s the ideal storage time for Basbousa?

It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.

3. Can I use different types of nuts for the garnish?

Absolutely, pistachios and cashews make excellent alternatives.

4. Is it possible to add flavors like rose water or orange blossom water?

Yes, a few drops can be added to the syrup for additional flavoring.

5. Is Basbousa a gluten-free dessert?

No, semolina contains gluten, so it’s not suitable for those with gluten sensitivities.

Siti Bane
Siti Bane
Emerging from Africa's diverse culinary landscape, Siti Bane, in her mid-40s, epitomizes the essence of the continent's rich gastronomic heritage. As the Blog Editor for 70recipes, she marries tradition with modernity, inviting readers to experience the true flavors of Africa.

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