There are many, many versions of Basboussa ( and many spelling variations!) throughout the Arab world. Some of these are a spongy cake-like texture & some are more of a grainy texture. This Algerian version is more of a cake-like texture - which happens to be my favourite. I absolutely love the addition of coconut in the recipe, it really adds something to the Basboussa. This recipe is extremely simple to make & is delicious served with coffee or tea. It is definitely a Ramadan staple in our home!
For the Basboussa
- 1 1⁄2 cups of coarse semolina
- 1 cup plain flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3⁄4 cup unsweetened dried shredded coconut
- 1⁄4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup sunflower oil
- 1 lemon, zest of (finely grated)
- 1 cup yogurt
- 4 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla flavoring
For the Syrup
- 3 cups water
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon orange flower water (add a little more if you like it very fragrant)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- blanched whole almond
- Preheat the oven to 180°C Grease a large baking dish (approx. 11" x7").
- In a pan, place the sugar & water from the 'Syrup Ingredients', bring to the boil then simmer until you have a pale golden colour. Remove from the heat & stir in the lemon juice & the orange flower water. Set aside to cool, you can also store this syrup in the fridge until you need to use it.
- Place all the wet ingredients in a large bowl & using a hand mixer, mix until creamy. Add the dry ingredients a little at a time & mix well.
- Pour into your baking dish & level off the surface with the back of a dessert spoon or palett knife. With a small knife, score the surface into equal squares or diamonds & place a blanced almond in the centre of each square / diamond.
- Bake in the oven until golden - this will take approximately 30-40 minutes.
- Remove from the oven & cut through the scored squares / diamonds. Pour the syrup over the top & allow the Basboussa to soak up the syrup before serving. It is best to leave it for at least 2 hours for best results.