Blogging has given me some good bunch of friends…though I know them virtually and chat with them once in a while….I can say with my heart…that these friends hold a special place in my heart….Today’s guest Kajal of Aapplemint is one of them….She is not a new name to the blog world….and today she is here…spinning a traditional Middle Eastern recipe for all of us this Ramadan….Thank you Kajal for being part of this event and bringing in this wonderful treat….
For all my wonderful friends who are fasting this month, Ramadan Mubarak to you. Fasting from dawn to dusk ain’t an easy task at all, and that too for an entire month. Its amazing what faith can make you do, push your body to limits you’ve never known. To control and practice self restraint which under normal circumstances may seem impossible to do. May God be praised, for He has created the heaven and the earth and all that lies within.
Basbousa is a traditional Middle Eastern cake, made from semolina and soaked in syrup. It goes by many different names from Revani to Nammoura, Hareesa, Shamali and Pastusha. All of them vary from place to place but essentially is this lovely aromatic syrup soaked cake. This cake is easy to put together and keeps long and hence I think the prefect thing to prepare for Iftar (fast breaking). It is quite heavy, so one piece quite does the job. Traditionally they put pistachios, cashews or almonds on the top before baking, so whilst the cake the baking the nuts set right in.
I chose to change that a little and add some saffron in the syrup and showered some freshly chopped pistachios over instead. The coconut really is the star in this dessert and not to mention the ghee which makes is quite rich and sweetened condensed milk which gives a wonderful body to the cake. Its not your light airy cake you’d get from flour, but rather a dense cake with a noticeable crumb thanks to the semolina. In short if you’re an Indian you’d call it an Arabic “Mithai.”
- 1 tbsp Tahina
- ½ cup Ghee
- 1 tin Sweetened Condensed Milk ( I used Nestles Milkmaid)
- 1 teaspoon Baking powder
- 2 cups Semolina
- 1 cup desiccated Coconut
- 1 cup Water
- Juice of 1/2 Lime
- Juice of 1/2 Orange
- Pistachios for garnish
FOR THE SYRUP:
- 1½ cups Sugar
- 1 cup Water
- 1 generous pinch of Saffron strands
- Start with preheating the oven to 190C. Grease a 26x20cm baking tin with the tahina. In a large bowl, combine ghee, the sweetened condensed milk and baking powder and stir well.
- Add semolina, desiccated coconut, water, lime & orange juice and stir until well combined. Pour and level mixture into the prepared baking tin. Bake 35 minutes or until the top becomes golden in color.
- Meanwhile, prepare the syrup by boiling the sugar and water. Add the saffron when it comes to a boil and boil for 6 mins. Set aside.
- When the cake is ready, remove from oven and pour the syrup evenly all over. Set aside to cool into a room temperature, cut into diamond shapes and carefully remove from the tin.
- Serve dressed with chopped pistachios and rose petals if you wish.