I have had this extremely delicious dessert called Bosbousa a few months ago in Istanbul, Turkey. At that time, I didn’t know its exact name. I kept looking on Internet, about the recipe of a Middle Eastern dessert dunked in syrup. Got a few good ones, tried one or two of them. Each time I prepared it, it turned out to be more than the previous. Its only recently that I have found out – It goes by many different names and is wildly popular in Greek, Turkey, throughout the Levant and the North African countries, since many of these countries share a common Ottoman heritage. The recipe varies a great deal though, some contain eggs while others don’t, some include yogurt while others include milk, some made with butter or clarified butter and others with vegetable oil, some with coconut and others without. I made it egg-less with yoghurt and cream to make it more moist and crumbly and less fudgy.
Like I said above, probably every Country in Middle Eastern or African region has its own recipe. I have tried most of them, never got a chance to post though since it was always finished in no time. And since I always prepared it in a big batch for a whole bunch of people, those “people” attacked it at the first glance. I had to plead them to give it more soaking time. Anyway- I got clever this time and prepared it in advance. Took the photos and then served it to everyone. It was still finished in no time, but at least I got to click some pictures and note down the recipe while in making.
I have made a few changes to the original recipe which called for only yoghurt and no cream. Also, I have used half of course Semolina variety and half the fine one. For the sole reason I ran out of the fine one. But the result actually appealed me more than what I get by using only the fine variety so I will stick with this proportion of mine. You may use whichever you have handy, traditionally the finest possible variety is being used in the preparation.
I served it little warm, with a tsp of Syrup on top. It was absolutely heavenly ! The more you keep it dunked in the syrup, the better the texture will be. A piece of this delectable semolina cake, and perhaps a cup of Moroccan mint tea, is everything you need to be transcended to another world in this Spring.
I have prepared this Dessert for the HB Challenge, where am the host for this month. The theme of the month is- Arabic Desserts. Check out other Arabic Desserts prepared by the participants here.
Prep Time: 10-12 minutes
Cooking Time: 45-55 minutes
Serves: 8-10 people
Cuisine:- Middle Eastern, African, Arabic
Spice Level: Sweet
Recipe Level: Medium
Shelf Life: Up to 12 hours at room temperature, up to 5 days in the Fridge
Serving Suggestion: anytime, its always delicious. Specially when you drizzle a tsp of Syrup on top..
Nutritional Facts:- Rich in Fats, sugar and Calories. Ohh, and taste too !
What you need?
- 2 cups fine semolina (cream of wheat)
- ¾ cup unsweetened, desiccated coconut
- ½ cup caster sugar
- 150 g unsalted Butter ( Melted, kept at room temperature )
- ½ cup (200 g) plain Yogurt
- ½ cup double cream
- ¾ tsp Baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 20-30 almonds or almond flakes (for garnish)
For making Syrup:
- 1 cup water
- ¾ cup caster sugar
- 2 tbsp rose water
- 3 tsp lemon or lime juice
- 4-5 Saffron strands
- 2 cloves of Cardamom
How to make?
First, let’s make the Syrup.
- The syrup has to be at room temperature and the cake should be warm when you pour the syrup over the cake, so you have to prepare the syrup before baking the cake.
- To make the syrup, boil the sugar and the water at medium heat. Stir until the sugar has completely dissolved.
- Then add the lemon juice and remove the scum (if any) that floats to the top.
- Add the rosewater and boil until the syrup thickens a little (if you stir with a spoon, it will coat the back of the spoon and if you touch it, the syrup will feel a little thick and slimy).
- Don’t let the syrup boil for a long time and thicken up too much though, it means less syrup. It will take about 15 minutes to boil the syrup.
- Once almost done, add saffron strands, stir one last time and remove from stove. Keep aside and allow to come to room temperature.
In the meanwhile,
- In a large bowl, mix the semolina and the baking soda. Then add the coconut, sugar and salt and mix well.
- Add the melted butter, cream and yogurt and mix well with a spoon until well combined and it comes together. Eventually, the batter will get thick and come together, almost like a dough.
- Lightly butter a medium sized (about 10 inch) non-removable cake pan/pie plate before placing parchment paper (so that the paper doesn’t move) and then lightly butter the sides and the bottom.
- Spoon in the cake batter and even it out on top with a spoon. Allow it to rest for 15-20 minutes. I kept it for over 40 minutes, purely due to the reason I was busy cleaning my Fridge
- Then cut the cake into diamonds or squares (before baking it). Place the blanched almonds or almond flakes in the middle of each diamond/square and gently press them down a little.
- Bake the cake at 175 C (350 F) in a preheated oven, in the middle rack for about 20 minutes first.
- Then take the cake out and gently cut it into diamonds/squares again. If you cut the cake when it is fresh out of the oven, it might crumble. This is why it is good to cut it before it is fully baked
- Place the cake back into the oven and bake for another 20-25 minutes until it looks golden and crisp on top. Take the cake out and spread the syrup slowly and evenly on top of the cake.
- Allow the cake to soak up the syrup for a couple of hours or overnight and cool down to room temperature. I only kept it for 2 hours and it was all so perfect, although I must admit it tasted even better the next day
- Once you are satisfied with the time you have spent on soaking and the cake has cooled won enough, just cut the cake again and enjoy !
Some Notes and tips:
- The original recipe called for Blanched Almonds for garnish, I have simply used the raw nuts since I like the earthy taste and texture. You may use blanched almonds:– To blanch the almonds, boil the water until it is hot and bubbly. It will take about 7-8 minutes with the lid on. Place the almonds in a small bowl and pour about half of the hot water over the almonds and put a lid on. Allow the almonds to soak in the hot water for about 10 minutes. Take an almond out and rub it between your fingers. If the skin doesn’t come off easily allow the almonds to soak for a little longer. If they come off easily, pour the water out and start blanching all the almonds. Spread the almonds on a dry towel and pat dry and keep them in the towel overnight. I cut the almonds into halves but if you find that difficult, you could use whole almonds or store-bought almond flakes.
- With 3/4 cup yogurt it all came together for me but you could add a little bit more if you have difficulty it combining everything
- If you use a cake pan with removable bottom, there is a risk that the syrup runs down the sides
- You can keep the cake refrigerated, and warm it up before serving. You have to warm it up before serving, otherwise it will feel like a brick. I don’t warm up the whole cake, only the pieces that are to be served – a few seconds in the microwave is enough. You can keep it refrigerated for up to 1 1/2 weeks.
- I kept a small amount of Syrup aside after pouring into the cake. And while serving the cake to everyone, I simply drizzle a tsp of the syrup on top of each slice and then garnished with more pistachio powder. Such a heavenly bit it was, mmm !