Coconut Halva (Basbousa)

Total Time
Prep 15 mins
Cook 30 mins

If you like coconut, then you'll love this Egyptian dessert! I substituted almond extract for the vanilla and added a little bit of rosewater for flavor. Adapted fromt the cookbook Taste of the Middle East by Soheila Kimberley. You can find semolina in bulk at your local natural food store.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Prepare the simple syrup first by placing the sugar, water, and lemon juice into a pan, stirring to mix and bring to boil. Simmer for about 6-8 minutes until the syrup has thickened just a little. Stir in rosewater if using. Allow syrup to cool then chill.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a saucepan melt the butter. Add the sugar, flour, semolina, coconut, milk, baking powder and almond extract, mix thoroughly. Do not allow to burn.
  3. Pour the mixture into a buttered 8" square baking pan, flatten the top and bake in oven for 30-35 minutes or until the top is golden.
  4. Remove halva from oven and cut diagonally so that you have diamond shaped portions. Prick the cake all over using a toothpick. Pour the chilled simple syrup evenly over the top and decorate with a whole almond on each diamond shaped piece. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Most Helpful

I have never had Basbousa before so I don't know what it is suppose to taste like. DH & I thought that this tasted ok but it wasn't very impressive. Sorry I couldn't rate it higher. Made for Ramadan Tag

Nasseh September 16, 2009

I thought this was pretty good. The only thing was I had baked it in a pan that was too big and it come out thinner than what I had anticipated which is purely my fault for not following the directions. I used desicated coconut and it had a nice coconutty flavor to it, but next time I think I will use shredded coconut. I also used regular margarine and white sugar. Thanks for the yummy recipe.

chef FIFI October 03, 2006