This is a traditional Middle Eastern dessert made of semolina flour, yogurt, and coconut. To adjust the sweetness, you can half or double the amount of sugar in the lemon syrup.

Recipe Summary

prep:
15 mins
cook:
45 mins
total:
1 hr
Servings:
9
Yield:
9 servings
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Ingredients

9
Original recipe yields 9 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease an 8 inch square baking dish.

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  • In a large bowl, mix together the semolina flour, baking powder, 1 cup sugar, coconut and butter. Add the yogurt and milk; mix until moistened but not runny or liquid. If you see that it is too dry, add more milk. Spread into a greased 8 inch square baking dish, smoothing the top as much as possible. Decorate the top with whole almonds.

  • Bake for 40 to 45 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown. While the basboosa is baking, combine the water, 1 cup of sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, and cook for at least 5 minutes.

  • When the basboosa has finished baking, pour the syrup over it as evenly as possible. Place it back in the oven for about 5 minutes, or until the syrup has been fully absorbed. Let rest for about 20 minutes before cutting into pieces and serving.

Nutrition Facts

299 calories; protein 2.8g 6% DV; carbohydrates 51.9g 17% DV; fat 10g 15% DV; cholesterol 15.7mg 5% DV; sodium 95mg 4% DV. Full Nutrition

Reviews (23)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
02/11/2009
This is a great recipe (sometimes also called Hareesa)and very much like what my Egyptian mother makes. Unfortunately Mom makes all these wonderful recipes but she can't give you exact measurements-she does it all by sight. I do have some recommendations: Buy the medium semolina (sometimes called #2) because the fine semolina makes it difficult for the syrup to absorb throughout the whole basboosa. Also, at the end of the baking time, turn the broiler on for 2-3 minutes to give the top a golden brown color. Last, make sure to double the syrup ingredients. Boil the syrup for 5 minutes then simmer for about 10 minutes. Read More
(62)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
08/05/2011
Beware! The recipe doesn't specify but someone's suggestion of using #2 semolina or it will not absorb the syrup is true. All I found was #1 and it turned out dense in spite of using a 9.5 inch pan. I think this would have made all the difference in the world. I made cuts both before and after baking and the syrup only penetrated these cuts leaving most of my basboosa dense and dry. I guess now I have semolina to try to making handmade pasta...lol. That said the flavor of coconut and the lemon juice in the syrup stood out. I think it would have been good. I followed the recipe exactly except for adding 1 tsp almond extract which gives it a nice flavor! Read More
(21)
29 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 21
  • 4 star values: 3
  • 3 star values: 4
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 1
Rating: 5 stars
02/10/2009
This is a great recipe (sometimes also called Hareesa)and very much like what my Egyptian mother makes. Unfortunately Mom makes all these wonderful recipes but she can't give you exact measurements-she does it all by sight. I do have some recommendations: Buy the medium semolina (sometimes called #2) because the fine semolina makes it difficult for the syrup to absorb throughout the whole basboosa. Also, at the end of the baking time, turn the broiler on for 2-3 minutes to give the top a golden brown color. Last, make sure to double the syrup ingredients. Boil the syrup for 5 minutes then simmer for about 10 minutes. Read More
(62)
Rating: 5 stars
03/25/2007
Make this fab dessert even healthier by using NON-FAT plain yogurt and substituting the 2 cups total white sugar used (in the cake and the syrup) with 1 cup sugar 1 cup sugar substitute. I also use a fresh squeezed lemon--all of it instead of the 1 tablespoon in recipe. It gives more boost to the flavor and makes it sing! Try covering the entire dish with sliced almonds instead of whole ones--you get an ever better toasted almond flavor. And for my last substitute use Cream of Wheat instead of semolina! Not everyone has semolina flour on hand but most people have Cream of Wheat! The larger the baking dish you use as well the faster the cake will cook. I usually double the recipe and spread it into a 8 x 11.5 glass dish for quick baking. For special occasions and for the sake of presentation bake in a beautiful oven proof pottery dish like a quich dish or fancy pie dish. Or any shallow pottery piece is fine. It is beautiful when placed on the table! Read More
(42)
Rating: 3 stars
08/05/2011
Beware! The recipe doesn't specify but someone's suggestion of using #2 semolina or it will not absorb the syrup is true. All I found was #1 and it turned out dense in spite of using a 9.5 inch pan. I think this would have made all the difference in the world. I made cuts both before and after baking and the syrup only penetrated these cuts leaving most of my basboosa dense and dry. I guess now I have semolina to try to making handmade pasta...lol. That said the flavor of coconut and the lemon juice in the syrup stood out. I think it would have been good. I followed the recipe exactly except for adding 1 tsp almond extract which gives it a nice flavor! Read More
(21)
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Rating: 4 stars
11/10/2008
this was easy and turned out great. i cut the basboosa into squares before baking and then went over those again after baking to let the syrup distribute nicely. i also added rosewater to the syrup. this tasted really good because of the coconut. i will use this recipe again. Read More
(19)
Rating: 5 stars
12/21/2008
I have tried many times to get a proper recipe for this desert which mom used to make for us as kids. This is as good as it gets and I made it repeatedly for my little family. Ditto with the rose water added to the syrup/mixture or both if u want. Read More
(15)
Rating: 5 stars
09/27/2007
Delicious my only recommendations are to add a whole lemon's juice to the syrup part and before you pour on the syrup....poke some holes in the cake so that the syrup can reach the bottom layer. I couldn't figure out why mine was absorbing all of the syrup- I'll know for next time. Read More
(12)
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Rating: 5 stars
09/01/2011
5 star but slight changes... make sure to use the #2 semolina flour. Next only use 3/4 cup sugar in batter. In the syrup I used rose flavoring. Plus I only used 3/4cup water and 1/2 cup sugar to make syrup. I decorated it with sliced almonds which I already had on hand.And after pouring the syrup on I broiled it in the oven for around 5 minute. When cooking in oven pay attention. Cooks faster than you think. Lowered my oven temp to 335-340. Everyone loved it and I never made it before so good luck. Read More
(11)
Rating: 5 stars
06/21/2010
I know that rose water is a must-have for arabic deserts. But i personally don't prefer it and that is why I chose to leave it out of the recipe. I guess I should have added it as an optional thing in the recipe. Glad you all like it. Felicia Read More
(9)
Rating: 5 stars
12/13/2011
This was the third recipe I tried of basbousa and thankfully it turned out just the way I wanted. The coconut flavor stood out like someone else has mentioned too which was a big plus point and it wasn;t too cakey- just the right amount of baking powder. If this hadn;t turned out good I was going to give up on basbousas but I'm definitely going to make this again. oh but I did find it too sweet for my taste even though I used half the amount of sugar in the syrup than suggested. Read More
(7)