Showing posts with label basbousa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label basbousa. Show all posts

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Almond Orange Basbousa Bundt #BundtBakers

This Almond Orange Basbousa Bundt takes the best of the Arabic sweet treat basbousas - semolina, coconut, almonds, orange syrup and lots of butter - and bakes them into a tender, buttery crumb cake I think Scheherazade would be pleased to serve.

This month my Bundt Bakers are taking inspiration from the tales that Scheherazade told over 1001 Nights to create Bundt cakes with Arabic flavors. I decided to recreate the sweet treat basbousas that I made a while back for a Creative Cookie Exchange post, but instead of using camel milk caramel to glaze the cake, I took a more traditional route with orange syrup. Basbousas are normally adorned with almonds but I took the liberty of adding dates as well since those often feature in Middle Eastern desserts. The result was a lovely cake with a great buttery crumb, very much like a basbousa in Bundt form.

Many thanks to our host Lara of Tartacadabra for the wonderful challenge. Make sure to scroll down to see the other wonderful 1001 Night Bundts we have for you this month.

For the Bundt:
16-20 whole skinned almonds
8-10 whole seeded dates
1 1/4 cups or 250g medium coarse semolina
3/4 cup or 50g freshly grated coconut
1 cup or 125g flour plus more for flouring the pan
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup or 115g unsalted butter, softened, plus more for buttering the pan
2/3 cup or 132g sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup or 100g thick plain yogurt
1/4 cup or 60ml milk

For the orange syrup
1 orange
1/2 cup or 100g sugar
Pinch salt

Cut the dates in half and press on almond into each half. Butter your 10-cup Bundt pan well then coat with a light dusting of flour. Set aside.

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.

Whisk together the semolina, coconut, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.

With electric beaters or in the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until they are light and fluffy. Add in the egg and vanilla and beat again.

Add the flour mixture along with the yogurt and milk to the mixing bowl and then beat until well combined.

Press date covered almonds down into the bottom of your prepared Bundt pan, almond side down.

Spoon in batter to cover them carefully, trying not to dislodge them.

Press date covered almonds into the sides of your Bundt, tucking them down to secure them.

Keep spooning the batter in carefully. Smooth out the top of the batter, working it to the sides to hold in the date covered almonds. They won't all stay exactly in place but do your best.

Bake in your preheated oven for 55-60 minutes or until the Bundt is golden and a toothpick comes out clean.

While the Bundt bakes, measure your sugar into a small pot. Grate in the zest of your orange and then squeeze in the juice, using a small strainer to catch any seeds.

Heat the sugar and juice until the sugar dissolves. Add the pinch of salt and cook until the syrup starts to thicken slightly, about 5-8 minutes. Set aside to cool.

When the Bundt is baked, remove it from the oven. Leave to cool for about 10 minutes on a wire rack. Loosen the sides of the cake with your toothpick then turn the cake out onto the wire rack.

When it’s still quite warm, start brushing on the orange syrup, allowing it to soak in as you do. Put it on your serving plate or put a plate underneath to catch any drips.

Keep brushing and soaking until all of the orange syrup has been absorbed.

Cut into slices and serve with cups of hot tea.


Oh, if only Scheherazade could bake like my fellow Bundt Bakers! She wouldn't have had to make up all those stories to keep her husband, the king interested. Seriously. Check 'em out.


#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on the BundtBakers home page.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Camel Milk Caramel Basbousa #CreativeCookieExchange

Basbousa are little squares or diamonds made with semolina dough that are traditionally topped with almonds and then soaked with rose flavored syrup when hot. For a twist to the typical recipe, I’ve soaked mine in caramel syrup made out of camel milk. 

Sometimes for these Creative Cookie Exchange posts I have a recipe in mind – sometimes even baked - weeks ahead of time because our organizer, Laura from The Spiced Life reveals the theme several months in advance, to help us plan. But this month, with the delicious theme of caramel, I just wasn’t finding inspiration anywhere. Until my fellow CCE member, co-creator of Bread Bakers and friend, Renee from Magnolia Days asked the following question in the group: “Does dulce de leche count as caramel or is it strictly caramel for the May event?” This set off a flurry of comments where several of us defended dulce as absolutely a caramel and got me thinking about the camel milk cajeta or dulce de leche sitting in my refrigerator. It does keep for months, but why not use some of it in a cookie? So the wheels started turning.

Camel milk caramel can certainly be put in any cookie. But wouldn’t it be fun to find an Arabic one to use it in? Hence, the basbousa. With their traditional sugar syrup, I’ve always found basbousa too sweet – and I’m not a fan of rose water and rose essence, which taste like eating soap to me – but with the addition of the sweet and slightly salty camel milk caramel, they are perfect. Another treat entirely.

So, with my apologies to the Arabic world in general, and Egypt in particular, I've adapted from this recipe from  Do watch the video if you are making the original, because the instructions differ from the written recipe. I’ve written mine to include the half hour rest, for instance.

1 1/8 cups or 215g coarse semolina
3/4 cup or 50g freshly grated coconut
1/2 cup or 100g sugar
1/4 cup or 30g flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup or 100g thick yogurt or crème fraîche
7 tablespoons or 100g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
16-30 whole almonds, depending on how small you cut your basbousa.

For the caramel syrup:
1/2 cup or 120ml dulce de leche, cajeta or thick caramel. I used a camel milk version, instructions here.
1-2 teaspoons milk

Grease an 8x8 in or 20x20cm baking pan and set it aside.

Mix the semolina, coconut, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl.

Add in the yogurt and melted, cooled butter and mix well.

Your dough should be fairly stiff but pliable.

Spread the mixture with your hands into your greased baking pan. Make sure to get it right up to the sides and nice and even.

Cover with a towel and let rest for half an hour. When the time is almost up, preheat the oven to 350°F or 180°C.

Cut the dough into diamond shapes then press an almond into each one. I chose to cut mine pretty small, but you can certainly cut yours larger. You just won’t need as many almonds then.

Bake in your preheated oven for 20–25 minutes or until golden brown. While it's baking make the caramel syrup.

Put the stiff caramel in the microwave in a microwave safe bowl and warm it slightly, just to loosen it. Add a little milk to make it even more runny and stir well till the milk is completely incorporated. You are looking for the consistency of maple or chocolate syrup.

Right when the hot cake comes out of the oven, pour the caramel syrup over it.

It sits there for a few short minutes.

Then it sinks in, leaving the almonds with a lovely shine.

Cool to serve and use a sharp knife to cut through again and lift them out.

Enjoy! Basbousa is a term of endearment in Arabic meaning something like "little sweet," so make these for your basbousa.

Are you looking for more caramel cookie goodness? Here you go!

If you are a blogger and want to join in the fun, contact Laura at thespicedlife AT gmail DOT com and she will get you added to our Facebook group, where we discuss our cookies and share links.

You can also use us as a great resource for cookie recipes - be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts. You can find all of them on our home page at The Spiced Life. We post all together on the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month!