Basbousa is a classical dessert enjoyed by many parts of the Middle East. It is a moist, cake-like treat soaked in sweet syrup called atar. Basbousa in Arabic translates to “a kiss” in English! Basbousa is surfaced with a crunch layer, the middle is a soft, melt-in-your-mouth sensation, and the center has a topping of the atar and pistachio shavings. Learn how to use honey sticks when making this recipe below!
Ingredients: Basbousa cake base
- 1 ⅔ cups Farina
- 1 ½ cups unsalted butter + a bit for buttering pan
- 1 tablespoon of honey from honey sticks
- ½ cup White sugar
- ½ cup plain yogurt
- ½ cup sweet coconut shreds
- ½ tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp tahini
- Store-bought ashta
- Honey sticks of your flavor liking from honey sticks
- Pistachio (20)
Ingredients: Atar (make to your liking, here are the ratios and recommended amount)
1 cup sugar: 1 cup water: 1 tsp lemon juice: ½ tsp rose water: 2 tbsp honey: ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- Oven: Preheat to 350 degrees F.
- Butter: Cut butter into cubes (leave some for buttering the pan) and melt on low heat for 6-10 minutes. When bubbling foam appears, remove the white foam. Heat till butter clarifies. Strain using a fine cloth. This creates a new “butter” called Ghee. the 1 ½ cup of unsalted butter turns into about half a cup of Al saman, Ghee in English.
- Cut down coconut shreds into fine shreds.
- Chop or grind to shave pistachios.
- Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl: Farina, White sugar, coconut shreds, and baking powder. Mix well.
- On the side, gently melt your Ghee or al saman and slowly mix in your honey.
- Mix the dry and wet ingredients. Once well mixed, add in your yogurt bit by bit until it is all mixed in thoroughly.
- This should make a crumbly type of dough mixture.
- Paint your round 12-inch pan with the extra Ghee or saman and the tahini. Make sure to get a thin but even coat.
- Dump the mixture into the pan, spread evenly, then firmly press down to make an even surface.
- Take a knife and carve a snow-flake-like design into your basbousa. Start by doing one line down the center vertically, another horizontally. Then, two more diagonally. Then add lines in between the major lines created at a diagonal angle to create a diamond-like shape for each piece of Basbousa.
- Take peeled almonds and press them into the center of each piece of Basbousa.
- Pop these into the oven for 10 minutes at 350 on the lower shelves. When you notice the browning on the sides and goldening, move the Basbousa to the top shelf for slower baking for between 16-20 minutes. Turn off your oven after.
- On a pan with medium heat, mix water and sugar till it primarily dissolves.
- Add lemon and rose and mix.
- When the boil begins, add vanilla and honey till incorporated.
- Once it comes to a boil, turn off the heat.
- Take out your Basbousa and pour over evenly the atar while it is hot. Return the Basbousa to the top rack in the oven for 5-7 minutes.
- Remove, cut, serve with ashta with honey sticks poured on top along some pistachio shavings.