Best Ever Pastry Shop-Style Basbousa
The search for the perfect, aunthenic Egyptian-style basbousa stops here! This one is super soft, dense, never ever cake-y, and melt-in-the-mouth delicious. Easily rivals the pastry shop’s. Plus…recipe video included!
People of the World…Ladies and Gentlemen…Boys and Girls…
Please make way, give a big round of applause, scream your loudest cheer and show some love as you welcome the one…the only…The Greatest Basbousa in all the land!
It’s here! It’s here! The much anticipated, the highly requested, the most sought after recipe of the year!
A perfected classic worthy of a grand entrance and a bragging title.
This is IT people! The only basbousa recipe you’ll ever need. One I can wholeheartedly claim to be the BEST recipe on the internet (of its category).
How do I know?
Weeeeell…I kind of tried them ALL!
I’ve spent a good part of the last 3 years testing over 40 recipes (I stopped counting after 40), searching high and low for a homemade basbousa recipe that measures up to the ones we get from the “good” pastry shops here in Egypt, if not better.
To say it was the most frustrating recipe I’ve ever encountered, would be an understatement. Those who have tried making this type of pastry shop-style basbousa, would understand. Failure after failure after inedible failure. And its not because its difficult to make. Oh no! Basbousa’s difficulty level can be compared to making muffins, but it all boils down to the ratio of ingredients and mixing method. If you don’t have the right ones…you don’t have a good basbousa.
Before I vent over my basbousa journey and give you all the tips and tricks on how to make a basbousa that will make your jaw drop…let me back up a little to explain what basbousa is.
So what is Basbousa?
Basbousa which literally translates ‘just a kiss’ (aaaaawwwww), is basically a syrupy semolina “cake,” with a prominent buttery flavor, a signature pleasantly sandy texture, made super moist with a generous shower of sugar syrup. It originated in Egypt, but is also popular throughout the Middle East and the Mediterranean under different names and variations like: Nammoura, Harissa and Revani to name a few. So while they share the similarity of being a semolina based treat soaked in syrup, they tend to vary in flavor, texture and integrity from one country to the other. They’re more like cousins than they are twins. Some recipes call for eggs, others add yogurt. Some add coconut, while others depend on citrus, spice or floral waters for flavor. Some go bold with butter or oil, while others are strictly in the ghee camp. Some are all about the cake-y fluffiness, while others are dense and fudgy.
All great in their own right, but today, we are focusing on the Egyptian kind. The one I grew up with and has a worldwide reputation that precedes its delicousness! The one that signifies all that is sweet in life to the extent that there are popular Egyptian songs just about it. The one that has visitors to Egypt hooked on for life. When our friends from Canada visited us in Egypt last Spring, they fell in love with basbousa so much, that they had to take back a couple of kilos worth of it back home #truestory.
Its sometimes covered in nuts, and a dollop of eshta (country-style clotted cream) is always welcomed.
The perfect Egyptian pastry shop-style basbousa is characterized by a soft, dense, never ever cake-y, melt-in-the-mouth texture, with a thin, ever-so-slighlty crunchy surface. And that is exactly what I was after. Is that too much to ask? Apparently YES.
Homemade-style basbousa on the other hand, is also very delicious, but the texture is very different from the ones made at pastry shops. It’s fluffier and cakier, due to the use of baking powder and yogurt. It’s more like if a basbousa and a cake had a baby. Good? Absolutely. What I had in mind? Far from it. It has its time and place and one day I’d would love to tackle it, but today…is all about the pastry shop-style that seems to be driving home bakers crazy.
I watched dozens of YouTube tutorials, read pages of cookbooks, scoured online sources, called up pastry chefs, all claiming their basbousa recipe to be the answer. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, I tried them all, plus more that I had personally developed, only to be doomed with disappointment. I had pans after pans of rock hard “basbousa,” if we could even call it that, fluffy wannabes, cake-y imposters, cloying sweet confections, cracked tops, and most of all, seized up basbousa-ish that refuses to soak in the syrup. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!
I was this close to throw in the towel on it, announce defeat and give in to supporting my local pastry shop. Until an angel in the form of a chef came to the rescue.
Apparently Egyptian Chef Hagar Elhakeem has been following my blog for quite some time and baking from it; huge honor I must say. One day, through Instagram, she sent me photos of the recipes she’s been making from the blog, along with a very kind message of appreciation. She then so kindly offered that if I ever needed help with a recipe, she’d be more than happy to assist. Thinking I had nothing to lose, I jumped to the chance to ask if she happened to have a great pastry shop-style basbousa recipe up her sleeves. And she said: “yes; its very close!” Clearly that wasn’t the first ‘yes’ I’ve heard, but her confidence and the way she described the texture, renewed my faith in basbousa.
So? I tried it and it turned out exactly like she’d described, “very close.” It was definitely the BEST basbousa recipe I’ve tried at this point. The sweetness and flavor was on point, but I felt there was room for improvement in the texture department. I wanted it softer, denser, fudgier and fall off the fork tender. And I cannot be more excited to say that after a few tweaks, I DID IT! But without Chef Hagar’s base recipe, I would’ve been still searching, so I can’t thank her enough for that.
So without further ado, please meet the fruit of my labor, the reason I grew a gray hair in my 30s, my love and pride: Le Pastry Shop-Style Egyptian Basbousa.
Okay…first things first. Ingredients:
- Semolina (aka Semeed in Arabic): Is the heart and soul of basbousa. It’s what gives it structure and that signature sandy texture. It’s a type of flour made from durum wheat and is commonly used for making pasta. It is extremely high in gluten, which explains why a lot of basbousas can comes out tough, and brick-like. With the right treatment, gluten development can be kept to a minimum, yielding super soft results. For this recipe, you’ll want to stick with medium grind semolina. Avoid fine semolina as is makes for a cakier basbousa and coarse makes it, well, too coarse.
- Ghee: It is the fat of choice here and the main essence of an authentic Egyptian basbousa. Since basbousa doesn’t have a lot going on in terms of flavor, the taste of ghee really comes through. So your basbousa will taste as good as your ghee is, so choose the brand you love the most. Butter CANNOT be substituted here; I tested it out and the texture and flavor was completely off. If you must, you could use clarified butter only. Here’s a tutorial on how to clarify butter.
- Unsweetened Shredded Coconut (aka desiccated coconut): I know that pastry shop basbousas don’t taste like coconut, but trust me on this…most basbousas you’ve been eating contain coconut, you just don’t know it. The coconut amount here is very little, so the taste is very subtle, and if you didn’t know it was there, you wouldn’t be able to detect it. It adds a flavor dimension, that wouldn’t be present without it; that special somethin’ somethin’ you can’t put your finger on. My son hates coconut, but he goes nuts for this basbousa. If you’re absolutely against it, you could reduce the amount by up to half. While I wouldn’t recommend omitting it, the basbousa will work without it.
- Milk: Yes pastry shops make it with milk, not yogurt like so many recipes do. Some even make it with water to cut on costs. I tried water, and works really well too, but it lets the ghee flavor shines even more. So if this is something you like…go ahead and use water.
- Sugar: Obviously.
- Heavy Sugar Syrup: Two kinds of syrup go into making this basbousa. Heavy syrup goes into the batter before it bakes, and the light one is used for soaking the baked basbousa. By heavy sugar syrup, I mean the kind we use over kunafa, balah el sham, and Qatayef. It has a 2 to 1 ratio of sugar to water and the consistency of corn syrup. It is the secret weapon here; what gives the basbousa that soft, fudgy, melt-in-the-mouth texture. I always have my Big Batch Sugar Syrup on hand, so I just use some of that, instead of making 2 different types of syrups every time I make a basbousa. It’s also worth noting, that I tried subbing in light corn syrup and it worked really well. So there’s a quicker option!
- Light Soaking Syrup: This one is used to soak the baked basbousa with. It’s what gives the basbousa its syrupy texture and softens it. This kind of syrup is much thinner than the former sugar syrup. It has a higher ratio of water to sugar, so it also way less sweeter. You’ll find that most basbousa recipes, will have you pour boiling hot syrup over the hot basbousa, but here we’re breaking the rules. Hot syrup causes the basbousa to seize and turn rock hard, so make sure its cooled down to room temperature.
Phew that was long!
Now that we’ve got the list of ingredients out of the way…the process is actually a breeze to come together. See for yourself!
Remember when I mentioned how semolina is super high in gluten. Now, this is how we shield it from developing. You need to well coat every grain of semolina with melted ghee to waterproof it, so when it hits the liquid ingredients, it doesn’t develop as much gluten. This is traditionally done by hand; a process called ‘bas’ which is not surprisingly the first 3 letters of bas-bousa. I’m a spatula girl and I find it does the job really well, but you do you.
In goes the coconut; that optional (but not really) ingredient. Before I add it in, I like to shred it even finer in the food processor, so I don’t get obvious long strands in the final product. After that, you’ll want to leave the mixture to hang out together until you prepare the liquid ingredients.
In a measuring cup, the milk, sugar and heavy sugar syrup go in together, then microwaved until very warm.
Then whisked together until all the sugar granules dissolve completely.
Liquid goes into the dry…
Then folded in ever so gently. Don’t forget we’re dealing with a gluten monster here that were trying to tame. So the less you handle the batter, the better. Overmixing increases gluten development, so you just want to mix until no pockets of dry ingredients remain.
Now pour the batter into a baking pan that’s been greased with ghee…don’t listen to anyone who tells you to grease the pan with tahini. Lies, lies, lies! I actually tested it out in what was probably my 51st trail and it made the basbousa taste like tahini. So unless you want a tahini flavored basbousa, go with ghee. Tap the pan over the counter several times to smooth. Then refrigerate until the batter is no longer jiggly; that should take about 15-20 minutes. This resting step allows the liquids to hydrate and expand the semolina grains, which makes for a finer texture.
If you love nuts; go nuts! Hazelnut is probably the most common nut topping. For some people, a basbousa doesn’t count if it’s not covered in nuts…I’m not one of those people. Refrigerate that as well then bake!
When it comes out of the oven, it will look like a dry land in the peak of drought. So immediately quench its thirst with the cooled light soaking syrup.
And forget about it for at least 30 minute to cool down a bit and give the semolina grains some time to drink up all the syrup and puff up and become nice and soft.
Then prepare to be amazed by how the knife glides into it like butter. I love it while still slightly warm…with a dollop of eshta on top. YUM!
People will have a hard time believing that this basbousa came out of your oven and not from the store. So be prepared to defend yourself.
As a self-proclaimed basbousolgist, I urge you to give this one a try and I guarantee that you’ll making it over and over again. Yes…I’m that confident in the beauty of this recipe.
But may I ask you a favor? Would you please, pretty please weigh your ingredients using a scale. It’s for your own good. I’m only looking after your #BasbousaGoals
And if you’d like to get a more up close and personal view of exactly how I make it, please check my tutorial labeled ‘Basbousa’ on my Instagram highlights.
Best Ever Pastry Shop-Style Basbousa
The search for the perfect, aunthenic Egyptian-style basbousa stops here! This one is super soft, dense, never ever cake-y, and melt-in-the-mouth delicious. Easily rivals the pastry shop's. For the best possible ingredients, be sure to weigh your ingredients using a kitchen scale.
For the Light Soaking Syrup:
- 250g (1 1/4 cup) granulated sugar
- 350g (1 1/2 cup) water
- Small squeeze of lemon juice
For the Basbousa Base:
- 500g (3 cups) medium grind white semolina (semeed NOT basbousa mix)*
- 150g (2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon) ghee, melted
- 50g (1/3 cup packed) unsweetened shredded coconut (aka desiccated coconut), (optional but highly recommended; could be reduced)
- 150g (2/3 cup) whole milk
- 100g (1/3 cup) heavy sugar syrup (recipe below; may be substituted with Big Batch Sugar Syrup
- 250g (1 1/4 cup) granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons ghee, for brushing over the basbousa (optional)
- 150g raw nuts, like hazelnuts or almonds, blanched and coarsely chopped (optional)
- Fresh eshta (country clotted cream), for serving, optional
For the Heavy Sugar Syrup: (enough to make the 100g syrup called for in the batter; but still weigh before adding)
- 70g (1/3 cup) granulated sugar
- 40g (2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons) water
- A drop of lemon juice
To make the Light Soaking Syrup:
- Start by making the syrup as it needs to cool down to room temperature before using. In a medium saucepan, combine together the sugar, water and squeeze of lemon juice.
- Set the saucepan over medium-high heat. Gently stir the mixture, as it heats, being careful not to get any sugar granules up the sides of the pan. Continue stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved. Bring mixture to a full boil, then remove immediately from heat. Set syrup aside to cool completely before using.
To make the Basbousa Base:
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 210C/ 410F. Grease a 34cm (13 inch) round pan with ghee; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine together the semolina and melted ghee, stirring really well with a rubber spatula, to coat the semolina grains with the ghee. It is very important to make sure that every grain is well coated, as this step reduces gluten formation which can result in a tough basbousa.
- If desired, process the coconut in a food processor or spice grinder until very fine. Stir into the semolina/ghee mixture until well combined.
- In a 4-cup microwave-safe measuring cup (or small bowl), combine together the milk, heavy sugar syrup (recipe below), and sugar. Heat in the microwave until very warm; about 1 1/2 minutes. Whisk the mixture really well until the sugar is fully dissolved. To make sure if the sugar has dissolved, dip your finger in the mixture, rub between your fingers, and if you can't feel any grit, then its good to go.
- Pour the warm milk mixture over the semolina mixture, and using a rubber spatula, fold gently just until no dry pockets of semolina remain. Do not over mix, or the basbousa can turn tough.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Tap the pan over the counter several times to smooth out.
- Transfer the pan to the refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes to rest (but no longer than 1 hour), until the batter has thickened up and is no longer a loose fluid. If you shake the pan, it shouldn't jiggle. Sprinkle the nuts, if using, over the surface of the batter, pressing it in to adhere.
- Bake for 22 to 27 minutes or until the basbousa's surface is deep golden brown in color.
- As soon as the basbousa comes out of the oven, quickly pour the cooled Light Sugar Syrup all over the basbousa. The syrup should soak in, in a matter of a few minutes. Once soaked in, brush the surface of the basbousa with 2 tablespoons of ghee, if desired.
- Allow to cool in the pan for at least 30 minutes, before cutting into squares and serving. Use a flexible lifter to get the sguares out of the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature with fresh eshta, if desired. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week at room temperature. Individual servings may be rewarmed for a few seconds in the microwave.
To make the Heavy Sugar Syrup:
- In an extra small saucepan, combine together the sugar, water and drop of lemon juice. Set over high heat. Try to avoid stirring it as it heats to prevent crystallization from happening. Once it comes to a boil, reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for 5 minutes or until the syrup thickens and reduces down to 100g (1/3 cup).
- Please note that this recipe was developed using metric weight measurements. For your convenience, I've converted them into cups, but due to the temperamental nature of this recipe, it is highly recommended to use a scale to measure your ingredients, even liquids, to achieve the best possible results. Results of using cups, cannot be guaranteed.
- My preferred brand of semolina for making this recipe is Sonbolat Elforat, but I've also used Five Stars with great results. Whatever brand you're using, just make sure that its medium grain; NOT labeled fine or coarse. Also be sure not to confuse semolina (or semeed) with basbousa mixes. Basbousa mix has semolina as one of the ingredients, but they also contain sugar, baking powder, etc and so they will not work in this recipe.
- Recommended semolina brands by readers: Sainbury's in the UK, Cedar #2 in Canada, Sooji Wheatlets in the US and coarse semolina in Australia.
- My favorite brand of ghee is Best Sherraton.
- Butter cannot be substituted for ghee in this recipe, as it badly affect the texture. However, if you must, you could use clarified butter only. To clarify butter, melt 200g butter slowly over medium low heat until the milk solids have separated from the butterfat. and collected on the bottom of the saucepan. Remove the pan from heat, let the butter settle for 10 minutes, then carefully skim the foam from the surface with a spoon. Slowly pour the clear butterfat into a bowl, leaving all the milk solids behind in the saucepan. You should end up with about 150g clarified butter.
- The coconut taste is very subtle here, and if you didn't know it was there, you wouldn't taste it. It adds a flavor dimension, that wouldn't be present without it. You could reduce the amount up to 30g, if you prefer. While I wouldn't recommend omitting it, the basbousa will work without it.
- If you wish to make 1/2 the recipe, bake in a 24cm (9 1/2 inch) pan. Baking time remains the same.
Recipe adapted with changes in mixing method from Chef Hagar Elhakeem
Measurements Note: All recipes of this site have been developed using weight measurements. Although US volume measurements have been included for your convenience, it is highly encouraged that you weigh your ingredients using a kitchen scale to get the best possible results. Due to the sensitive nature of baking, kitchen scales are proven to yield more accurate and consistent results than measuring cups. Enjoy!
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OMG, YOU DID IT!!! Finally finally! Hahaha I’m so proud of you and can’t wait to give this a try!!! Looks like exactly what I was looking for!! ?
Hahahaaaaaa I love how you guys are celebrating the triumph with me. I’ve never seen that much excitement for any of my recipes before. Looks like a lot of people were struggling with it like me. I hope you have great success with this one.
Okay, resemblance is DEFINITELY there. But I’m after something slightly more cakey, less fudgy, more coconut-y. Do you think I should I add more flour and coconut or just coconut?
(fudgy in terms of texture, obviously)
I’m happy to hear that you liked it Rita! I was actually trying to eliminate any traces of cake-iness in this recipe lol! But if you prefer it cakier, then defending do not add more flour; that will only make it drier. What you should do is change up the mixing method a bit. So after you’ve rubbed the ghee into the semolina, mix in the sugar and coconut as well. Note that you’re not dissolving the sugar in the liquid ingredients here. After that, combine the heavy syrup with warm milk and fold them in. It should come out a bit cakier this way, but if you want it even more cake-y then you could add 1/4 teaspoon baking baking to the semolina.
For the coconut amount, feel free to add in as much as you like.
Best of luck 🙂
Thank you for your tips, I will try this out!! P.s. it actually gets better as it sits in the fridge for a day!
Could you please recommend the oven?
Please do mention the brand, capacity, etc.
Ramadan Kareem!! I’ve been following your blog for some time now and for me it is just perfection. The way you tell your stories, the detailed and perfect instructions and accurate measurements, and the beautiful pictures.
This Ramadan I decided to try making sweets at home since I just love baking but mostly western desserts and you have a plethora of middle eastern recipes which look perrrfect and I am so excited to try them.
I’ve noticed you specify that medium grind semolina will give the best results so I am windering which brand you use or where you get it from. I have tried several basbousa recipes and as you can imagine they were utter inedible failures and I am too excited to try yours. Thank you
Ramadan Kareem to you and your family too Eman! Thank you for your kind words and I’m honored that you’re enjoying the blog so much. Kindly refer to point number 2 in my recipe notes regarding brand preferences. You can also see photos of them, as well as many tips on my instagram tutorial on my highlights. Best of luck and enjoy ?
Hello again, I have tried the recipe but there must be something wrong in the way i kade it, during being in the oven i found all the ghee rose to the top and kept bubbling, needless to say it wasn’t a success with me ?? but it would be a great help if u tell me maybe what I am doing wrong. I followed the recipe to the T and left it in the fridge for 20 minutes vefore baking and it wasn jiggling when i put it in the oven. I would so apprecoate ur input as everyone keeps saying how awesome this recipe is and I really want it to work for me. Thank youu
Hi Eman! So sorry to hear that it wasn’t success for you. Did you by any chance use ready-made basbousa mix and not plain semolina flour?
I got a very similar comment like yours from someone else, who experienced the same results. After investigating together for so long, we discovered that she had been using basbousa mix which already contains sugar, leaveners, among other things and not plain semeed. Hope this solves your mystery.
Thank u so much for ur reply! actually no I’ve used plain semolina, but this makes me think I should change the brand. I will get another vrand of semolina and try again as the actual end product does taste so yummy and so so close to what I’ve been looking for, sadly it’s just a mushy pan ?? I will surely try again and report back with the results. Thank u ?
What brand of semolina did you use?
I couldn’t find the brands you mentioned in the supermarkets around me so I got a generic semolina from a sweets shop called candy shop similar to darb el barabra. what i understand is that it’s only medium grind semolina with no additives. but i finally found 5 stars brand and will try that soon isA. thank u sooo much.
I wanted to ask if I want to decrease the basbousa’s sweetness a bit what can I decrease? perhaps some of the sugar or the thick sugar syrup? or do i find it too sweet now as it wasn’t successful ?? thank u for ur intrest and ur replies, I really appreciate it ??❤❤
Great! Looking forward to hearing your feedback with the 5 Stars semolina! It is pretty sweet, but not any sweeter than the average basbousa. I actually find it less sweet than many pastry shops. I recommend trying it as is for your next trail, and if all goes well and you still find it too sweet, you can try reducing the sugar amount by maximum 25%, not the syrup.
This looks incredible! Its making me drool! I will certainly be trying this over the weekend and let you know how it turned out
Thank you Nouran! I hope you love it as much as we do. Can’t wait to hear your feedback ?
Hey there, im reporting back as promised! I made it last night and it was incredible! My mother in law even told me i have outdone myself with desserts this time which is a huge compliment coming from her! Thank you so much for a fail-proof recipe. I will definitely be making this for any iftar party this month!!
YAY! Love hearing that! Nothing feels better than getting your mother-in-law’s seal of approval right?! lol! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your update.
Hi! I tried making this and I measured everything in grams. The only difference was that I only had fine semolina on hand and that’s what I used. Also, I used 13×9 rectangular glass pan. I’m not sure if this affects the texture but my basbousa came out soft but very dry at the same time. Almost like it needed another round of Light sugar syrup. Even when I poured the syrup it absorbed it very fast. When I tried it it had a sandy texture to it. Can you please tell me what you think went wrong? Thank you!
Looks amazing. I was wondering could I use desiccated coconut instead of shredded? Also recipes usually cut the basboosa before baking you didn’t? Does cutting it help absorb the syrup better?
Thank you Amanda! Yes desiccated coconut is actually the type I use. It’s the only coconut variation we have in Egypt & I knew that if I wrote desiccated, it might not be understood by my homies. I’ll edit the ingredient list to make it more understandable for everyone. Thanks for the heads up!
As for cutting the basbousa, you can do that if you’d like to make a nut studded design or something, but it is absolutely unnecessary otherwise and does not affect the level of absorption one bit in this specific recipe. The batter here is much looser than most basbousa batters, so even when I scored it with a knife before cutting, it mostly fused back together during baking. Also, since I was going for an Egyptian pastry shop-style look, unlike the homemade versions, it is never cut beforehand. Hope that helps ?
Finally!! I’ve been waiting for this recipes for ages.
Quick question, I can’t seem to find ghee where I live. Can I substitute it for butter or clarified butter?
Don’t mind me! found the answer in the post.. Thanks
No problem! Any time dear 🙂
Can I use cream of wheat/ farina instead of semolina?
Hi Nela! I’m really sorry but I’m not familiar with them as they’re not available where I live. Sadly I can’t tell for certainty if they’re a good substitute as I’ve never tried them before. If you do experiment with them, please let us know how it worked out. Best of luck ?
Hi Cleo, i was wondering is it possible to replace the syrup+whole milk with condensed milk? Plz let me know, i hope to make it tonight.
Hi Madjida! While this substitute sounds like it makes a lot of sense, I wouldn’t recommend it as this is a very sensitive recipe; the slightest change could make it fail. I’m honestly unsure of the amount of sugar present in condensed milk and this could throw of all the ratios. My suggestion would be to try it as is the first time, then experiment in future trials.
Tasbih, I have a few basbousa snobs in the family and they were all skeptical when I told them I was finally gonna make them a pastry shop-style basbousa (yes, I had this much faith in your recipe before I even made it!). Both mama and baba tried achieving it COUNTLESS times before to no success so the expectations were HIGH. I made it yesterday and I’m happy to report that the whole house went NUTS (pun intended) for it. They couldn’t believe I got it right from my first try and they all said it was the best basbousa they ever tasted, even better than the pastry shops’ themselves. And it’s all thanks to you! I can’t wait to try all your other middle eastern desserts this month as I’m sure they will all be a hit, as usual 🙂
Maya your comment makes me so happy that I feel like doing somersaults right now! YAY! Absolutely love hearing that. So glad it was such a hit! Thank you so much for taking the time to write your feedback.Wishing you many more successes in baking and everything else in life.
Hi thank you for the wonderfully detailed recipe. One question only have coarse or fine semolina here in the UK. which one should i go for? Cheers
I have the same issue. Can’t find medium grain in the states. Any good recipes for the fine/coarse grain?
Hi Suzan. I’ve been getting this a lot from people living in non Middle Eastern countries and rest assured I’m trying to get this figured out. Right now, I can’t tell for sure which one would be the closest to the medium grind found here in Egypt, because I’ll need to see and try it for myself. However, I’m awaiting the feedback of readers living in the US and Canada who are planning on trying it and updating me with the best type for this. I will write an update as soon as I know.
Hi Sara, you have no idea how much I’ve been getting this question from people living in non Middle Eastern countries. I never imagined this would be an issue. However, I just got feedback from a lady who lives in UK who made this with great success. She said that she used Sainsbury’s brand semolina that did not specify the grind. I’m guessing that medium grind is the mainstream, when it comes to semolina. Hope that helps.
Have mine in the fridge right now (also using the Sainsbury’s brand semolina)- will let you know how it turns out!
OH MY GOD Tasbih- I’m speechless! I’ve been following you for a few years now and this has to be one of my favourites- I took this to a gathering last night and everyone flipped! All night I got endless compliments with everyone saying it tastes just like the pastry shop version (my dad actually said it was better)! I’m already craving a second batch- it was so soft and melt in the mouth- who can resist?! ? The Sainsbury’s semolina worked perfectly- would definitely recommend!
I only have one complaint- it was gone so quickly that I didn’t have time to take any photos! ??
Farah this is music to my ears! So happy it was such a hit! I honestly think its better than those of the pastry shops too, but didn’t want to seem like I’m bragging. So glad you guys agree. It’s great to hear that the Sainsbury’s brand is working so well…I was feeling bad for those who couldn’t make it because they couldn’t find the right type of semolina.
Thank you i am trying it today! Good luck to all of us x
Sainsbury’s semolina is very fine. I use a mix of it + coarse semolina that I get at a Pakistani store. I guess that would be the closet to medium. That aside, must say your recipe sounds incredible. Will give it a try real soon. Like you, I tried Basbousa more than 40 times with good results that are just a wee not good enough 🙂 Still looking for perfection, & it seems I finally found it. Thanks a lot for this recipe. Will let you know the results Xxx
I hope this one ends your search Phoebe ? Can’t wait to hear what you think of it!
No baking powder?
I am so excited about this recipe that I can’t wait to try it. I can’t tell you how many times I have tried to make basbousa a success and failed every single time. I live in the US and I don’t think I have seen medium grain semolina before. Usually the bag would just say semolina without specifying what size of grain it is. Would it be possible for you to post a picture of what medium semolina looks like so I would know what to look for? THANK YOU! You are my culinary HERO!
Hi Shaima! Looks like this has been an issue with a lot of readers living in the US. I’m still trying to get an uneducated answer to what would be the best semolina type for you to use. Though I could not yet confirm this, I think that if the bag does not specify the type of the grind, then its most probably medium. If you give it a try, please update us with your results, as this will be very helpful for many others.
As for the picture, I’m now kicking myself for not taking a close up photo of the semolina, but will try to take one as soon as I can.
Can’t wait to try it! I haven’t seen medium grain semolina in the US. Can I mix the Bobs red mill fine semolina with coarse semolina (found it at an Armenian grocer)? I know it won’t be exactly the same. Any thoughts?
Hi Roba! It seems that from the feedback I’ve been getting so far from people live in the US & Canada, all coarse semolina would be the better choice. Fine semolina would probably be too powdery here and mixing the 2 won’t give you an even crumb. I will confirm this myself, once I get to Canada next month. Meanwhile, if you do give it a try, I’d love to know how it turns out.
It’s in the fridge right now I used half farina and half fine semolina as I could only find coarse and fine will let you know how it works out. Thanks.
I did it the same as ur ingredients (using cups) it end to have a very dry basbousa I dont know why !! please any help to be eaten ??
Me too ! Besides the batter wasn’t liquidy at all,it was very thick and almost dry.
Hi Promise. Seems that semolina varies greatly in type from one country to the other. This recipe is based on my experience with the medium grind semolina I have in my country, Egypt. It could be that the fault was in the semolina type you used. May you please give me more information on the semolina you used and/or if there’s anything you changed in the recipe so I could better help you?
Hi Nihal. Did you by any chance use hot syrup over it? What about the semolina…what kind did you use? Did you use butter or ghee?
Weighing by scale is always highly recommended for its accuracy, but it shouldn’t make that much of a difference.
YES! YES!YES! Hands down the BEST basbousa that I ever made and I have been trying for the past 10 years. It is oh so soft and melt in your mouth awesomeness.
To all those who are looking for Semolina in the US, I got mine from a Mediterranean grocery store and it was actually labeled “coarse”. I had a choice only between fine and coarse. The fine version was more like a flour consistency and I just knew it would not work. I also substituted the heavy syrup with corn syrup bought also from the store. THANK YOU Cleo for another fool proof recipe that my entire family enjoyed.
YAY! You have no idea how happy that makes me feel! I’m so glad you found the type of semolina that works, and thank you so much for coming back to update us. I’m sure it will be of great help to so many who are having the same issue. And you know what…I’ve been trying out the recipe using corn syrup instead of the heavy syrup too with great results. I just updated the recipe with this little piece of information incase someone’s interested.
YOU DID IT!!!! SO I DID IT TOOO!!!! YAY! I was told before by my other half to give up… But the request was always there floating in the air… for a good basbousa, so I tried, failed… tried, failed…
And now, thanks for your recipe it was the perfect Iftar dessert!!!
Thank you SOO much for sharing it with us!
My kitchen smelled like an arabic bakery 😀
Also my semolina was not specified fine or coarse, so I did not care about this problem, seems I was lucky. It is more coarse than fine I think. 🙂
YAY! Congrats Sara! I’m so happy you finally nailed the basbousa you were hoping for. Trust me…I know what an accomplishment that feels lol! I was told to give up too before this one, but aren’t you glad we didn’t quit?! 🙂
This recipe looks stunning but I usually make basbousa with 2-1/2 cups semolina 1-2 of each sugar and ghee and 1/4 cup of both heavy sugar syrup and milk.. it usually looks crumbly.. i want to ask if it is not right as some chefs say that basbousa consistency must be crumbly but sometimes i find it not moist..please help me know the right consistency and if it must look crumbly or as shown in the picture..Thanks
Hi Nada, I’ve honestly never had success with any other recipe except this one. Everything else were either too dry or too cake-y. I too have heard about the batter needing to be crumbly, but through many trails and errors, I’ve learned that it doesn’t have to be. If you’re not happy with the recipe you’re using, I strongly urge you to give this one a try. It’s perfection and the product of so many recipe testing. It’s also been getting amazing reviews from everyone who’s made it.
Great recipe!! It tasted delicious but was a little too wet, the pieces weren’t exact. May be I should have poured the light syrup little by little.. Otherwise it’s a hit in our house.. I’ll make it next time but with little less syrup, I guess. Thank you..
I’m really happy you guys loved it Anupama! Thank you for sharing your photo. Judging by the color of the surface, I have a feeling that it’s a bit underbaked, which gave you this wet texture that you’ve experienced. I’d recommend baking it for a longer time the next time around, until you achieve a deep golden brown color.
Thanks for the feedback, I will bake it for a few more minutes the next time. By the way, you have a wonderful blog. I can’t wait to try the other desserts.
Hi please can u explain what kind of cup measurment you use? I am used to using gram measurments.
Is it an american cup?
Hi Laylal. I actually use gram measurements too not cups and it’s highly advised to weigh your ingredients in this recipe especially for the best possible results. So I guess you’re on the right track. In any case, my measuring cups (which I almost stopped using) are American. Hope that helps ?
This is the best basbousa recipe I’ve tried and tasted by far! I’ve made it 2 times in one week from how quickly it disappears off the plates! Keeping this recipe forever and definitely one to keep in the books for decades! Thank you Clepbuttera for this masterpiece!
Absolutely love hearing that Alia! So incredibly happy you enjoyed this basbousa as much as we do 🙂
I cannot believe this! Thank you thank you from the bottom of my heart. It turned out wonderful! Hubby is speechless. You are a star bless u xxx
It’s really my pleasure Sara! Nothing makes me happier than to know that you guys enjoyed it 🙂
Hi Tasbih, i love this recipe and did the half portion in a 10” pan and it turned out great! I’m really struggling to find a 13” pan to make a large one. Should i use 12” or 14” instead? Thanks!
Frankly your basbousa looks gorgeous but Iam trying it now and iam using the kitchen scale to make sure that ingredients are accurately measured but my basbousa did not look with the same consistency and not pourable so what should I do .. the consistency made me have to even it with hands after pouring.. should i add more liquid.. I am afraid of adding any liquid and overmixing..help please
Hi Hana! So sorry I just saw your comment. I’m hope I’m not too late. If you’ve measured by weight then rest assure, there’s no needed to adjust the amount of liquid. In fact, adding more liquid can ruin the final texture. Did you perhaps wait several minutes before pouring the batter into the pan? The batter thickens as it sits, so this could be a reason as to why your batter is on the thicker side. Also what type of semolina did you use? What does the label specify? Is it beige in color or yellow?
I used “dobella brand” semolina and it is beige in color.. i use “el haloub brand” ghee and i found that it was too thick while mixing so i didn’t wait before pouring.. please tell me if you live in egypt what semolina brand should i use.. I want to thank you for endless times as it comes moist and rich but i added 3 tablespoons of milk and 2 tablespoons heavy sugar syrup to get the same consistency as you but i found that it was still not as your own so i pour it and did as you .. tell me your plan if you were me to make me feel safely the next time When i find the batter not pourable..Thank you chef?
Yes, I live in Egypt. My preferred brand of semolina is called Sonbulot Elforat, but it’s seems to be out of stock lately. 5 stars is pretty good too.
Thank you for your help so doubtless,the next time I will use 250 g of your favourite semolina and 125 g granulated sugar and
75 g melted ghee and 75 ml milk and 50 heavy sugar syrup and 25 g coconut flakes.am I right?Thank you chef because you really helped me to handle my problem of making basbousa?
What brand of ghee do u use?
I love Best Sherraton Brand!
Frankly your basbousa looks gorgeous but Iam trying it now and iam using the kitchen scale to make sure that ingredients are accurately measured but my basbousa did not look with the same consistency and not pourable so what should I do .. the consistency made me even it with hands after pouring.. should I add more liquid.. I am afraid of adding any liquid and overmixing..help please
Hi, I can’t find a 13” pan anywhere. Should i use 12” or 14” instead? Thanks!
Hi Dina! You’re better off with the 14 inch pan. The basbousa is gonna turn out slightly thinner so it will probably bake in less time. If you live in Egypt, maybe I could help you find a pan in the right size.
Thanks! I live in Canada and have looked everywhere for the 13” pan but it doesn’t exist. I’m thinking of doing 1.5 times the recipe and do a 14” and an 8” one ?
Hi Dina! You can use the 14″ one for the full recipe; it will turn out ever so slightly thinner but still of an average thickness. Your plan sounds good too!
OMG these are incredible!
They made me look so good in front of everyone!
Thank you for all the hard work. It clearly shows in each bite.
I’m so glad it was such a success for you Zahra! Thanks for your wonderful feedback.
Hi, can I freezer this like do with your kunafa recipe?
I made this but it did not come out the way I thought it would be. I’m thinking it’s because of the semolina I used. It didn’t say if it was fine or coarse. Can you share a link to the kind of semolina that should be used? Thanks!! 🙂
Clarification: the semolina I used didn’t say if it was fine/coarse/medium grain lol. If it helps, I’m in the U.S.
Hi T! I’ve been getting feedback from people living in the U.S. who used coarse semolina with great results. Though I haven’t tried it myself, I’d recommend trying it as it seems like the one that’s working the best over there. Also may I ask how you measured your ingredient? By weight or cups? As all those who used the scale have been ending up with great results and those who used cups, have been having issues. You can’t imagine what a difference that makes.
I just tried the basbousa recipe and its beyond amazing! Thank u 🙂 can’t wait to try the rest of your recipies
YAY! So happy you loved it Sara! Hope you enjoy the rest of my recipes 🙂
I want to comment on this recipe for so long now, and finally have the time after the third basbousa! It is the best basbousa ever!!! But there were variations every time.
1- location London. Bought coarse semolina from Green Valley and organic ghee from Whole Foods. Added the 50g of desiccated coconut but didn’t process it in the grinder.
Added the 2TBS of ghee on top.
Results: was so good but coconut wasn’t liked by lots of ppl.
2- same sources as first time. Decided to add 25g of the coconut after processing it in the grinder but forgot this step, so ended up with no coconut… and didn’t add the 2TBS of ghee on top.
Results: loved it more without adding the ghee, but it wasn’t holding itself as the first time. I think this is due to skipping the coconut.
3- done with samna baladi as I’m back to Cairo. And added 25g of coconut processed in the grinder.
Results: was the best!!! Everyone tried it was amazed and didn’t believe it is homemade! Don’t know if it is the coconut that did the difference or the samna, or both together!
Really love it, it’s out of this world! Thank you so much or the amazing recipes, looking forward to trying more and more of the recipes IsA.
I’m absolutely loving your very thorough review Sue! So happy it was still good all 3 times. Here are my thoughts on your trials:
1. When in London, go for Sainsbury’s semolina. UK peeps are singing praises about it.
2. I don’t think coconut has any affect on it’s structure. So it’s probably no the object of concern here.
3. I’m starting to come to the conclusion that this recipe works best in Egypt ? I don’t know what it is exactly, but I’ve been getting the most positive reviews from people who made it in Egypt. Could be very well the ingredients. I’m traveling to Canada next month ISA and planning to try it there, so I could get a better understanding of semolina and ghee there.
Thank you so much for taking the time to write your feedback; very helpful.
Can I use this recipe to make lines of piped canned eshta on the top to make بسبوسة كاروهات
Hi Heba! As delicious as this sounds, I really wouldn’t recommend playing around with this recipe. It’s such a temperamental recipe & the slightest change could cause it to fail. My recommendation is to make it as is the first time around, then start experimenting after that so you could have a frame of reference to compare to.
Sooooo I was very lucky to find your recipe and try it FIRST and succeed from the first try, it was incredible (taste wise, I’ll tell you about the texture below) It did for sure satisfy my craving for basbosa I eat back home <3 Even my Jordanian husband who hated basbosa when he tried it in Egypt, loved it and got refills, so I thank you very so so so much for that.
Now I live in the states and I made the basbosa last week with coarse semolina. It did work, it worked better the next day though because the first day it was “mefakeka men ba3daha”. Now I have two explanations for that, either the coarse semolina doesn’t adhere together as much as the medium one, or I didn’t fold it together enough when I put in the milk mixture, or finally I think that the 3 cups semolina was a bit much coz I did some conversions and they all led to 500g=2 1/4 cup not 3.
Also I wanted to ask you about the measuring unit for the milk and syrup, in the recipe it’s in “grams”, so is it really in grams or that was a typo and it was suppose to be in “ml” ? And last thing, the top did not brown much at a 410F for 25-30 minutes, should I reduce the heat a bit or put it on the bottom rack maybe?
P.S I’m making it again today coz with whatever mistakes I made, it was amazing thanks to you.
Best of luck<3
Heba I’m so glad the basbousa came out pretty well from the first try. I actually just got semolina recommendation from someone who made this in the US with perfect results. She used Sooji Wheatlets semolina brand, which is sold at Indian stores, and it’s basically medium grind. As for the weight/cup conversion, according to my measuring cups & several online conversion websites, 1 cup of semolina is 166-167 grams, which means that 3 cups equals 500 grams. But bare in mind that measuring cups can vary in volume from brand to brand; it’s mind blowing in a bad way. I recently made an Instagram story tutorial of this very recipe, where I go in depth into variables that affect the outcome of basbousa. I saved it on my highlights & would highly recommend you check it out before making this again. I think it could be of great help. My account’s name is Cleobuttera. As for the measuring unit of the liquid, yep…they’re in grams; even more accurate than mls ?
I wouldn’t dare claim myself to be good at making deserts, however I decided to tackle this recipe yesterday and I must say…it was AMAZING! Totally gave us a taste of home while living abroad. And I must say, it’s great to see some of our culture’s long loved recipes presented in such a methodical, visually stunning, and FUN way. Hats off to you! This was the first recipe I try here and it’s definitely not going to be the last. On behalf of myself and the mrs. we wish you all the best!
Seif I really can’t thank you enough for your kind comment. Your appreciation and support means so much to me. You have no idea how happy I am that this recipe succeeded to give you a taste of home. My regards to the Mrs and wishing you many more successes to come.
On to my second batch already! Even better than the first, which was a tad blonde. It was a huge hit with the folks here, and gave out the recipe to more than a few happy (and now slightly fatter!) dessert fans. Also getting requests for the recipe from Instagram as well! The Basboussa craze is taking over Dublin 😀
Was so excited to find this recipe. Followed ingredients and instructions to the letter. When it was still wsrm and freshly-baked it was sweet but was really delicious , appreciated by all. A couple of hours later, it was rock hard and overly sugary
Made in Egypt using my scales and exact ingredients.
Thank you ScotsLass for your feedback. I’m so sad to hear that it didn’t work well for you. I wish I was with you in the kitchen to know what couldn’t went wrong. I think the best way I could help is to recommend for you to watch my latest Instagram story that I made for this recipe. I go in depth into all the variables that can affect the outcome of the basbousa, along with brand suggestions for everything I use. It’s now saved to my highlights. I think it could be of great help. My account’s name is Cleobuttera.
Delicious! I made this for my Egyptian husband and an office potluck. I followed your instructions *except* I had to use a coarse semolina and a 12″ pan. It looks and tastes amazing, but it’s a little too soft. It’s definitely not stackable like the ones in your picture. The texture is nice for eating because it melts in your mouth, but it’s difficult to serve because it falls apart (I kept all the broken pieces at home for us last night and this morning they were gone! That’s the seal of approval from a picky husband). Is it supposed to be that soft? If so, any tricks for serving? If not, should I try giving the course semolina a spin in the food processor next time to make it more of a medium grind?
Hahahaaaa yes…when an Egyptian wipes away a basbousa…that’s surefire sign that it’s a good one ? The basbousa should be pretty soft, but firm enough to be cut into neat slices. I find that it holds its shape best after it has a completely cooled down without a hint of warmth, even better the next day. It does tend to fall apart when it’s warm. I also use a flexible spatula that can bend to remove the slices out of the pan. Using coarse semolina could also be another reason for it being a little extra tender. I have so many semolina recommendations from people who tried it around the world…so let me know where you live, and hopefully I can recommend the best brand for the job ?
I just wanted to say thank you for all of the detail you put into this recipe. My husband is from Sudan and was craving this dessert. I am from the US so this was the first time I had attempted to make it and let me tell you it was PERFECT!
I’m so happy to read that you guys enjoyed this recipe Kalleigh! Thank you so much for letting me know. Comments like this never seize to make my day 🙂
It’s a great homemade from-scratch basbousa recipe.. I made this recipe last month,last week,yesterday and it was totally perfect.
I adore chocolate basbousa but I usually buy it from the pastry shops in Egypt so please help me to stop buying it and tell me how to make a chocolate basbousa
Then I want to know if I can top my basbousa with maltesers chocolate balls instead of toasted hazelnuts
Thanks in advance?
Hi Ghufran! So happy to know that you’ve making and enjoying this recipe. I’ve never actually tasted chocolate basbousa before, though it sounds delicious! Please let me know where you get it from so I can taste it and possibly experiment with it in my own kitchen.
About the maltesers, I’m honestly unsure how they’ll hold up it the oven with the blazing heat. I guess the only way to know is to try it out and see how it goes. I’m sure it will taste delicious!
Great recipe and delicious taste,I did it all as written except that I used whole butter(زبدة بلدي صفراء ملح قليل)
And turned out just great for me.Thanks for your effort and great recipe ???
That is always the best thing to hear! So happy you loved it Rabab ?
I made this recipe more than 5 times and it always needed more liquid(frankly,I used all the brands of semolina in egypt??)so I had to add more milk and syrup with the same ratio you mentioned.:I do was crying..I am only 18 years old but I tried more than 18 recipes last year until I found your recipe.. my question is what should I do now?? I want to know if i have to keep doing the recipe with the additional wet ingredients added or keeüp your recipe as it is.. I just want you to take into consideration that my batter was crumbly and dry not with your pourable consistency..help me to keep a list of ingredients for the recipe without being afraid please
Thanks in advance chef❤️
Hi Nada! Thank you for trying my recipe. As simple as this recipe is, it is a very temperamental one, so the slightest change can ruin it. Adding extra liquid to the batter will in fact make for a tougher basbousa. During my recipe testing phase, I experimented with adding extra milk and the results weren’t good at all. My suggestion for you is to follow the recipe exactly as written and weigh your ingredients using a kitchen, if you aren’t already. Measuring by weight, instead of volume, gives you far more precise and consistent results, which is what you need here. I also highly recommend that you watch the highlighted story on my Instagram, labeled ‘basbousa.’ In it, I mention the specific brands of semolina and ghee I use, share lots of tips and every single detail about basbousa you can imagine. Whatever your concern might be or issue you’ve faced, I’ve probably covered in the instagram story. I really hope it helps! Please let me know if you have further questions and would love to know how it turns out after watching the story.
I’ve made this more than 6 times and it never fails!
Wooooohooooooo! Music to my ears! Beyond happy to hear that.
Wow! Finally, success, after maybe 20 different basboosa recipes. I don’t usually leave comments but I had to say thank you, you’ve done a great job with this. It is perfect, my dad says it’s just like the basboosa in Egypt. Thank you so much. And for those having trouble with the semolina in the U.S., we have a market in Southern California called Jons and they have their own brand of semolina that works perfectly, also Super King should have for those who live near LA or Anaheim.
Wooooohooooooo! It’s always the best thing to hear Noura! Your comment is having me do mental cartwheels right now ? Thank you so much for your comment and for leaving recommendations for semolina brands in the US. I’m sure many readers will find it very helpful.
Thank you so much for all your hard work developing this recipe! I just served it to guests at a lamb roast celebrating my recent trip to Egypt. Everyone raved!
I hope you loved your visit to Egypt! I’m really happy the basbousa was such a hit with your guests. Thank you for trying it and for your wonderful feedback!
Finally i cant believe you finally found it.. cant wait to make it.. i know how it feels when trying many recipes but you just cant find the perfect one.
I wanted to check.. ghee is the samna balady, right?
And if i dont have microwave.. could i just heat it in a sauce pan, milk and sugar till poaching then use it?
I hope it’s the one you’re searching for! I know for sure that my hunt for the perfect basbousa has ended here.
Yes ghee is samna, but not necessarily balady. Use whatever brand/type you love the most because it will shine through. So basically your basbousa is only as good as your samna is. I personally don’t prefer balady, as its flavor is very pungent for my taste. My favorite brand is Sharaton, found at most supermarkets in Cairo.
You can most certainly heat the milk/sugar mixture over the stovetop.
Can I use evaporated milk sweetened with sugar instead of light sugar syrup because of its richness??
Hello Afnan! While this might sound as a great idea, because hello! we all love sweetened condensed milk, I wouldn’t recommend it for 3 reasons :
1. The amount of sugar present in the condensed milk might not be the same amount as that in the syrup, which can throw the basbousa’s ingredient ratio off and result in undesired results.
2. Extra milk will result in a tougher basbousa.
3. This is a very sensitive recipe, the slightest change can cause it to not turn out well…so it’s best to stick to it as is, at least for the first time to get a feel of what’s like, and then you can start experimenting with it as you see fit.
4. The basbousa is plenty rich as is ?
I guess you didn’t understand my question properly?.. my question is if I can pour sweetened condensed milk over the basbousa instead of simple sugar syrup? .. my mother’s friend from Kuwait was usually making something that tasted like basbousa soaked in condensed milk.. It had a great taste but I didn’t like that it was too thick and fluffy..I think she was adding baking powder that it was bringing negative results to basbousa
Oops! My bad ? In that case, I think (although not sure since I haven’t tried it) that it would work. I love the flavor of sweetened condensed milk too, and if I could, I’d pour it over everything. My worry though, is that the basbousa won’t soak it well because its too thik. How about thinning it out a bit with some water? That might work better and also help cut the sweetness level a bit.
Hi I am from Malaysia and I absolutely LOVE basbousa! The “sweet section” of almost every Arab restaurant I’ve been to in my country sells it, mostly with a whole skinned almond embedded on the top of every golden-crusted slice. I just made it for the first time last night but with a different recipe (a Libyan recipe by a certain Umm Obaidah; she hasn’t posted in a while but her basbousa recipe is still on YouTube), and it turned out ok, although I believe it could’ve been a lot better as it was not as good as the ones I’ve had in restaurants. I am looking forward to try your recipe for my second attempt. Wish me luck!
p/s when you mentioned that there were several songs written in honour of basbousa, I immediately thought of this one, although it’s not literally about the cake:
Hahahaaaaa this is definitely one of the more popular basbousa songs…love it! I hope you love this Egyptian version of basbousa. It’s soft and richer than other variations of the Arab region.
Hi! I am truly excited to try this recipe. Can you help me figure out if the same amount of ingredients fit in a 9 x 13 or 10 x 15 or do I need to change the ratios?
Thanks a lot
Hi Linda! If you make the full recipe in a 10X15 it will come out thicker than it should. I’d recommend making 3/4 of the batter amount and bake it in the 10X15 dish. Best of luck and enjoy!
Greetings from Malaysia ☺ I wanted to ask of I want it to taste more coconut-y, is it okay if I increase the amount of coconut? Also if I increase the amount of coconut, do I decrease the amount of semolina or leave it as it is?
I always have this question: what is the difference between sugar in the heavy sugar syrup and the sugar that is dissolved in the liquid ingredient? Can I just increase the amount of sugar in the sugar syrup and skip the sugar that is dissolved with the liquid ingredient?
Oh yes and I always wanted to know this: most of other recipes for basbousa call for eggs. What does an egg actually does in a basbousa?
Hey Jannah! Eggs are usually added to non-Egyptian style basbousa, which has a different texture and consistency than this one. Eggs help bind the batter, so it kind of holds its shape better than this one, and it gives it a more cakey texture. Traditional Egyptian basbousa is not supposed to be cakey, and the texture needs to be fall apart tender and squishy, and that’s why eggs are omitted from the mix ?
Hi Jannah and welcome! You could add more coconut, but I’d recommend starting with an extra 25grams only for a start, and if the texture doesn’t get negatively affected, then add more the next time around. No need to decrease the semolina amount, as this exact amount is essential for the structure of the basbousa. Coconut adds flavor and a slight chewy texture, but it doesn’t help with the structure.
The sugar syrup and regular sugar work in different ways and each has a different purpose in the recipe. While the regular sugar adds straight up sweetness, the purpose of the syrup is to add moisture and promote a soft, fudgy, melt in the mouth texture to the basbousa. While your idea of adding the regular sugar to the syrup, sounds like a smart way to go, it will be nearly impossible to dissolve this large amount of sugar in less than 3 tablespoons of water. So this is why they are added separately.
I’m looking forward to making this, but I’m allergic to coconut. You said it could be omitted. Would I just use extra semolina?
Hi Colleen! You’re right; coconut is optional. No need to compensate with extra semolina; just keep the amount as is. Enjoy ?
Hi, I have followed the recipe and used cups (not weight) and it’s sitting on my kitchen counter soaking up the liquid right now. But it seems a bit hard when pressed with the back of a spoon. Is that how it’s supposed to be. I’ve had very good basbousa once in Alexandria, Egypt and am trying to make the same. Is there something might have done wrong which has made it hard?
Hi Chitwan! Don’t worry, it’s completely normal for the surface to feel super dry at first; its how its supposed to be. Rest assured, once the syrup has soaked in and left to rest for at least 30 minutes, the basbousa will soften up and hopefully become as good as the one you tried in Alex. Enjoy ?
Made this 2 weeks ago. Did not use the coconut. This is the best tasting basboussa that I’ve had since my trip to Cairo. It tastes just like the ones from the fancy pastry shops in Cairo. Thank you so much for this recipe.
This is music to my ears Shahira! It makes me so happy to know that you loved this basbousa and that it measured up to the pastry shops ones. Thank you so much for your lovely comment ?
I thought for minute there that I wrote your story on the journey to basboosa. I cried one time out of frustration and no master Egyptian pastry chef would give up their secret. I can’t wait to try your recipe. P.s I still get my mom to bring me kilos upon kilos of basboosa with her every time she visits. Poor lady never has enough room in her suitcase for her clothes.
I hear you Reham! It always makes me feel better when I find someone who relates to my basbousa experience. It’s was one long, frustrating journey and I hope yours ends here. My biggest advice to you, so you can reach your basbousa nirvana: weigh your ingredients, follow instructions to the T (this is NOT a forgiving recipe), and make sure to use the right kind of semolina (medium grind, white not yellow). Best of luck!
I have been looking for Basbousa recipes and when I read yours, I instantly decided to try. Finally today I made Basbousa by following everything you have suggested and result was superb moist and sponges. Thanks for proving perfect recipe. Everyone in my family loved it. Fortunately I had food scale to use as you suggested.
Only thing I would change next time is to use less sugar since it is too sweet for us. Can you please advice how to cut the sugar measurements for this recipe?
It’s so amazing to hear that you loved this recipe Neema! You can try reducing the sugar of the basbousa base by 50 grams (so a total of 200g instead of 250g), but keep in mind that it might affect the final texture. Sugar is considered a liquid, so it’s a moisture contributor, and by taking away some of the liquid, the basbousa may end up slightly less moist. Hopefully, 50g won’t make that much of a textural difference. If you do give it a try, please let us know how it went ?
Well as usual the recipe is out of this world. I have did it so many times so far and it never failed me not even once. I, and everyone who tried it just loved it. I have a confession to make though. You wouldnt imagine what i have done to basbousa and it actually worked. I was making it as a gift for a friend whose kido has milk allergy. So i exchanged the ghee and the milk with coconut oil and coconut milk and it actually worked. I used the very same ratios. And it turned out lighter with an amazingly crisp surface. Its a nice twist for those who have milk allergies. But i didnt add any shredded coconut.
Thank you again and again. I shall always tell u that ur a star at our home.
Happy Ramadan. <3
Sara you comments are always the nicest! It makes my day to know that you’re enjoying the recipes of the blog…makes all the work poured into them worthwhile. So thanks for letting me know that. It’s amazing to hear that your substitutions work! It really is a great solution for those who can’t have dairy or are even just interested in another variation for a change. I have managed to use water instead of milk before and could barely tell the difference. Just another option for you, in case you’re looking for a little less assertive coconut flavor.
Have a wonderful Ramadan yourself ?
Thank you for this amazing recipe, which I came across though Instagram. I was scrolling my way last night during nightshift, and your description of perfect delivery seemed so promising, I had to try! Well….., With beaming pride I must sat that this is hands down the best Basbousa I’ve ever had!! And it’s my first time making it, as well. So soft, so fluffy, so light, yet so rich and perfectly satiated at the same time. Big, big hit for this years first Iftar <3
Oh wow Carmen! What an incredible feedback?! I’m glad to hear that it lived up to your expectations and that you enjoyed it so much. Have a blessed Ramadan ?
Just made this right now and it looks pretty good! Will have to update after Iftar on the taste though. I did make a couple mistakes during the overall process because I was in a rush so if it doesn’t turn out good it’s 100% my fault and i’ll remake it soon following all the steps exactly! I couldn’t find any medium ground semolina at our local Middle Eastern grocery store here in the US, just fine and coarse, so I went with coarse since it looked more similar to the semolina used in your recipe! My pan also was a bit too small so I think the basbousa is a bit too thick…I personally prefer a thinner basbousa like the one you made so I’ll be sure to use a larger pan next time. The last mistake I made was making the sugar syrup a bit late because it wasn’t cooled enough before I poured it into the pan. Visually it looks fine though, so i’ll keep you updated about flavor/texture! Thank you!
I’m back! The texture turned out great, even though I made those mistakes! I wish I had used a wider pan though. My only qualm with the flavor was that I felt that the Ghee flavor stood out too much. It wasn’t necessarily a bad taste, it just was a bit strong. Is this how the recipe is supposed to taste? Or is it maybe the brand of Ghee I used? I think it’s the latter but overall, great recipe!
Yay! So happy to hear that it turned out so well even with the few concerns you had. Because the basbousa doesn’t rely on any other flavors, the quality and flavor of ghee can make or break the basbousa. I recommend using a ghee brand that you can tolerate its smell, as some of them have a very strong, sometimes off-putting taste. The one I use is very mild tasting and smells similar to butter. So my basbousa doesn’t have a strong ghee flavor. But if your ghee has a pungent smell, then it will overpower the flavor of the basbousa. Hope that helps!
Makes sense! Mine does have a bit of a strong smell, in comparison to what my Grandma uses when I’m visiting her in Egypt! I think next time I make the recipe I’ll clarify my own butter and make ghee, that way I can be sure of the Quality. Thank you! I’m so happy I found your website, I love the modern spin on traditional Middle Eastern desserts. I made your Atayef recipe for tonight and can’t wait to fry them, dip them in syrup, and eat them up!
Oh my, this is the best recipe i ever tried, and i have tried many others 🙂 Thank you Cleobuttera! I made it for the first day of Ramadan yesterday and it was just a blast.
Reading your feedback has made my day Maha! So glad it was such a hit on such a special day. Have a blessed Ramadan.
I’ve been waiting for Ramadan to start so I can make this recipe and I finally just made it. The basbousa was amazing. Thanks a lot!
Woooohoooooo! That’s music to my ears Ola! So happy it lived up to your expectations.
Awesomeee recipe!! I made it for friends and they all loved it!! I was surprised by how good it was.. thank you so much for this great recipe.
And btw I used a tefal pan and it was perfect.
So happy to hear that it was such a hit Maha! Thank you so much for your great feedback.
This looks amazing!
I am planning to make it for iftar Tom.
Can I prepare it from today and bake it tomorrow?
Hello Alaa! I’m terribly sorry for my late reply. Ramadan has been really busy and I’ve been juggling too many things, leaving me very little time to answer comments. I wouldn’t recommend preparing the basbousa batter a day in advance; I tried it once and it was a big downgrade. However, you can fully bake the basbousa a day in advance and enjoy the next day. It keeps really well.
First of all thank you for this amazing Recipe and thank you for sharing all the tiny tips to your followers. I baked it yesterday but used a little bit smaller pan & I didn’t use all the light syrub. This will make any difference in the taste or texture?
Plus I am wondering if covering the basbousa after you put the light syrub for a while will have any better effect on the basbousa?
I really appreciate your quick reply as I will give it to one of my friends who is inviting us on eftar today.
Thank you in advance
Hello Nihal! So sorry dear for my late reply. Ramadan has just been so busy and I’m having a hard time keeping up with everything. I hope you still got the enjoy the basbousa and that it was a massive hit. To answer your questions, it is not recommended to leave any of the light syrup out; you should use it all up, as this is what moistens the basbousa and gives it its soft texture. Covering the basbousa with foil could help by trapping in steam, making it more moist. Hope that helps!
Hello So I want to try this recipe for Eid this year but not sure about the texture of your basbousa
Because my family and I prefer a slightly cakie version and I don’t know how to modify the recipe to my liking can you please guide me with this would really mean a lot
Hi Misha! Oh this basbousa is far from cake-y. It has been designed to stray away from cakiness as much as it possibly can lol ? One day I’ll try to work on a cake-y version and post, because I love those one. I actually have a very unique one coming up in a few days, that might interest you. I honestly don’t recommend changing anything in this one, because it’s such a sensitive recipe; the slightest change ruins it. But if you’d like to try, adding a couple teaspoons of baking powder can help.
Hi Tasbih, have you tried any other brand of semolina other the sonbolat al forat? I can’t find it anywhere. All other brands do not specify the type of grain.
Yes! Five Stars works well too.
First off, I want to say I love your blog and recipes! It’s amazing to find such an accessible Egyptian blogger with spot on recipes and tricks that have helped perfect my own family recipes.
Now on to this basbousa! It is definitely the closest to the pastry shop kind, with one difference. I find that this basbousa is actually too soft. I’m not sure if I’m making some mistake (I weigh all my ingredients), or if it is meant to be softer than the pastry shop kind?
Thank you so much Menna for all your kind words. I’m so happy you’re enjoying the recipes from the blog. About the basbousa’s softness…depending on which pastry shop you’re comparing it to. I agree with you the some shops make it sturdier than this one, but many others like El Helmeya, Sweet Stars and El Khabbaz (my personal favorites), make theirs just as soft as this one. It is definitely soft, but not to the extend that it can’t holds its shape. As you can see in some of the pics, they’re stacked on top of each other. So if you can stack them without breaking, then you’re doing it right. If not, then perhaps you need to bake it a little longer. If still you want it less soft, then you can decrease the amount of light syrup. Hope that helps!
What makes this food Egyptian?
Hi Matthew! Semolina cakes are popular all over the world and it seems that every culture has a version of it. This one specifically, with its characteristically soft, dense and fudgy texture, sweet and buttery flavor is a speciality of Egypt since since the olden days. It’s probably Egypt’s signature dessert and tourists always make sure to get a taste of its sweetness when they visit. Hope you can give it a try soon!
This looks fabulous, my husband is Egyptian and we live in the UK so he misses it a lot! I want to try making it and I also would like to taste it! To know what the fuss is about! But I’m allergic to wheat. Could you recommend a substitute that might kind of work? I was wondering about fine maize couscous. No gluten worries!
Thank you Niamh! I know how your husband feels. I hope this one reminds him of the one he ate back home. Unfortunately I haven’t tried any other substitutes to be able to answer with certainty and I’d honestly be scared of suggesting something that wouldn’t work. Texture-wise, medium grind cornmeal or polenta would be the closest, but the taste is completely different. So sorry for not being able to help in that area.
I was wondering whether there is any other option to cook basbousa than baking. I do not currently have an oven and was very much interested in making your famed basbousa (secretly craving for the melty goodness ;D). Please let me know. Btw I love all of your recipes and the ones I have tried are a big hit at home.
Hi Rene! I think it might just work in the microwave. You may need to experiment with the power setting and baking duration though. Best of luck and pease let us know if does work out!
شكرا جدا جدا جدا جدا جدا. اول مره في حياتي اعمل بسبوسه حلوه
I’m so happy to hear that you loved this recipe so much Lamia! Thank you so much for your amazing feedback!
I did use a gram scale and followed the instructions carefully. It turned out crumbly and way too sweet. If I were to make it again, I’d cut the light syrup in half, but I have a recipe from a Saudi friend that’s simpler and works out better.
Hi Alice! Thanks for trying the recipe. The crumbly texture you’ve experienced may have to do with the type of semolina you used, because this basbousa shouldn’t be crumbly at all. I’d recommend checking out the Instagram tutorial on my highlights for extra tips and tricks that are better seen than read. I love Saudi-style basbousa, and while I agree that they’re less fussier than this one, they’re very different from this type of Egyptian basbousa. I love them both equally, but its like comparing oranges to apples. Thanks for your feedback.
This recipe is timeless! Since you posted it last ramadan, it became the masterpiece in every gathering not only iftars, it’s all year round! It me famous and i would get killed if i showed up at any doorstep without it! Here in dubai, we really miss the authentic taste of the Egyptian Basboosa so you came to the rescue! Besides the easy and detailed recipe, it always turns out super moist from the inside with a perfect golden crust on the outside never cake-y or crumbled, and the taste PERFECT! Satisfying on so many levels even when there’s (rarely) leftovers, it still tastes like out of the oven! Here’s a picture of my very first one, i lost count of how many to follow! I love you CleoB, or queen B must we say ❤️ We now live in sweet heavens!
Hahaaaa Injy you’re the sweetest ? Your comment has made my day! I’m beyond happy to hear that you love this basbousa so much and that it gives you a taste of home. Thank you so much for taking the time to write your wonderful feedback.
Hi Tasbih. Just tried your recipe.
I had made basbousa once before, using one of the many ‘home-style’ recipes available online. It was good, pretty much like a coconut cake. Quite a light, cake-like texture, strong coconut flavor. I had never had basbousa in a Middle Eastern pastry shop, but I knew that my coconut cake wasn’t the real deal
Your recipe turned out amazing! Just what I was expecting from basbousa the first time. Rich, buttery, nutty – and the fudge-like texture was perfect. I thought it might be too sweet with all that sugar and syrup but it was just right. I love the rose flavor that I get from sweets in this region, so I added a teaspoon of rosewater into the syrup, and it was great, but that probably wasn’t even necessary
I greatly appreciate all your attempts over the years to perfect this recipe. It was perfect!
Yay! I always get so happy when I hear that a recipe turned out a success, and your comment did just that and more. I’m so excited this one met your expectations for the authentic basbousa. Thank you so much for sharing with us your amazing feedback ?
Hi Tasbeeh, I first tried store bought basbousa at a friends house here in Canada and I loved it, so I tried your recipe and I loved it even more!! Two weeks ago I halved this recipe and the result looked almost like yours, so today I baked it again to serve on Eid but it’s a bit on the dry side and more cakey(probably because of my smallish square pan) and can anything be done about the dryness, Can I add more syrup to cooled basbousa? Please help!
P.s it’s still good through, just the texture is off
Hi Fiza! I’m terribly sorry for my late reply. Ramadan was a whirlwind of work and commitments and I was having difficulties keeping up with everything. I hope you found a way to salvage it and that it was still enjoyed.
You’re right about the size of the pan being the reason for the resulted cakey texture. The thicker the basbousa, the cakier it will be. As for the dryness, I think it might be due to overbaking…do you think it was overbaked? In any case, I wouldn’t recommend adding more syrup, as that would make it cloyingly sweet. What I’d suggest is covering it tightly with foil while still warm. The steam that will form from covering will moisten the basbousa.
Hope that helps!
I was so incredibly looking forward to this recipe… unfortunately, it turned out to be a total fiasco… the semolina looks completely disintegrated and crumbly… and totally greasy… although I followed the ingredients and instructions to a T…. I even used a bag of babsousa Semolina a friend of mine brought from Egypt….. really not sure where I went wrong… All thoughts are most welcome! I was really looking forward to taking the basbousa to a friend’s party for dessert… now I’ll have to buy a cake instead… 🙁
Oh no Dondon! It’s so sad to hear that it didn’t work out for you. Sorry you had to buy cake ? I’d love to help you troubleshoot, but there are so many things that could go wrong when making basbousa, that’s it’s hard to pin point exactly which one it might be. For that reason, I recommend watching the tutorial on my Instagram highlights labeled ‘basbousa.’ It will really help you see where you might’ve went astray or if it’s just a matter of measurement or ingredient that caused the unfortunate results. After that, please come back and we can discuss it further. I’m not leaving you till you get this right…lol ?
Hi Tasbih, Thanks for the reply!
I don’t have an Instagram account, but I had watched one of your videos and your explanation is quite detailed, so I doubt it was the making of it that was the issue. The Babousa had clearly way too much Ghee at the end – although I did use exactly 150g, which I then melted… It was also way too sweet…. As it was baking in the oven, I noticed two things… it was “bubbling” from what I am guessing too much ghee inside? and it took forever to get that nice brown colour at the top… so way longer than the suggested 22-27 minutes… Any thoughts what I could do differently next time? I have another bag of Basbousa Semolina rom Egypt and I’d like to give it another ago… Thanks!
Hello again Dondon! I believe you don’t need to have instagram to be able to view the tutorial. Try clicking on this link and you probably might be able to view my account.
I honestly think it’s the best way to know what might have happened, as it’s even clearer than the quick video I have on here. I know it has helped a lot of people to get it just right.
I promise you, that if everything is done correctly, then it shouldn’t be too greasy. As for the sweetness…yes it is pretty sweet, but not any more than any of the bakery basbousas I’ve tried in Egypt. Regarding browning, make sure that the oven is turned both on the top and bottom and not bottom only. Take care that overbaking the basbousa will cause it to be dry and crumbly.
In the processing of among this one. Will let you know how this turns out.
Hope its turned out amazing!
Hi! I followed your recipe to a T and everything looked exactly like your pictures while I was making it up to the point where it went in the oven. The top cake out crispy but not as crispy and holey like yours. Which is probably why the syrup didn’t absorb straight away like you said and I had to wait half an hour for it to absorb. Afterwards when I cut it the crispness of the top was gone and it was all mushy (still tasted good!) but none of that crumb and crispy top crust that you’d expect from a basbousa. Was wondering what I could have done wrong? Any ideas at all? Thanks 🙂
HI Fariha! It sounds like it just might’ve been slightly underbaked. If I’m not mistaken, it probably just needed a few extra minutes in the oven. Note that the baking time I suggest is what worked for me according to my oven, but each oven is different…so you might need to adjust the timing.
I finally made this today, first time ever. I thought I followed the recipe exactly. But when I cut it it wasn’t as together as I would’ve liked. What do u think I did wrong. I made the top syrup way before hand but I left it on the counter should’ve maybe put in the fridge? Would that have been the problem. I mean it wasn’t bad cus esthetic wise I woulda like perfect square desserts. I used corn syrup also instead.
Also… the top was fine it was the bottom that seemed a little soggy not cutting perfect edges- tasted amaze tho. Just wondered what I could correct for next time.
HI Leane! It sounds like it just might’ve been slightly underbaked. If it turned out too mushy, then I suggest giving it a few extra minutes in the oven the next time around. You did the right thing with the syrup; it’s supposed to be room temp (not cold, not warm), so I don’t think that’s the problem. Keep in mind though, that this particular type of basbousa is extra soft, so you need to be extra carefully while removing it from the pan, so as to maintain a nice square shape.
Thank you for posting the recipe I can’t wait to try it. I have a question, have you ever tried layering this recipe with Queshta or Nutella etc….if so do you bake first layer, then put filling and bake second layer? Please let me know. Thanks!
HI Fauzia! It’s my pleasure. I haven’t tried playing around with fillings for this particular recipe, and in all honesty, I don’t recommend you do. It’s is a very fuzzy recipe, and the slightest change causes it to fail, so I wouldn’t take the risk. If you’re interested in a filled basbousa, I suggest checking the link below out. It’s much more flexible and you can forgo toasting the milk powder for a plain flavored basbousa.
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I made it again and as per your suggestion, baked it a bit longer. And guess what, it was out of this world. Loved it. My 5 year old can’t stop eating it.
Always a pleasure to hear ?
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This us amazing and would try it out soon.
For the big batch sugar syrup recipe it was okay to stir while heating. But in this, for the heavy sugar syrup you have mentioned to not stir while heating. What exactly is the difference?
And also for the dessicated coconut did you use the dry coconut or wet coconut? Can we use the wet one?
Thank you so much! You are so amazing that there are some posts of your which i read 3-4 times from top to bottom and still dont get bored of it.
All of your recipes are fool-proof and amazing!
Loads of love to you from India
Hi Ayesha! Thank you so much for your amazing comment. You’re the sweetest.
Great question! Stirring sugar syrup increases the chance of crystallization and that’s why it’s best to avoid it. However, the glucose in the big batch recipe prevents crystallization, which makes it ok to stir without worrying. This one here doesn’t have glucose, which is why it’s advised not to stir.
I use dry coconut here. I’m afraid wet coconut will increase the moisture content of the basbousa, which could affect the texture. It’s best to stick to dry if possible.
Lots of love back from Egypt ?
Any chance we can do this with vegan ingredients?
Hi Magy! Actually yes. You can use plant-based ghee and water instead of the milk. Enjoy ?
This is seriously the best basbousa recipe ever. I live in Germany and no stores here to get Egyptian basbousa so I am so happy to have found this! I tried so many recipes and it was never what I wanted. Thanks a lot!
Woooohooooo! You have no idea how happy this makes me! I worked so hard on developing this recipe, and I’m grateful it’s paid off and loved by many. Glad you enjoyed it Busbus.
This is the best time ever I made basbousa ….. was so yummy and perfect….. thanks a lot
So happy that you nailed it on your first try. It took me about 50 times to get it right ?
What a great recipe and a great write up. The basbousa I made based on this recipe was so delicious and we enjoyed it to the last bite. You said you have done this more than 40 times and it clearly shows in the details. Thank you so much for sharing this!
Thank you so much Mostafa for your appreciation and wonderful feedback! I’m really happy it came out so well for you ?
Thanks for this recipe. And for the meaning of “bas”. In Algeria we have a shortbread semolina+butter biscuit called “mbassess”. I now know why.
Thanks again, I save your recipe for Ramadan.
Hahahaaa! That’s so interesting! Sounds like Mbassess in the cookified version of Basbousa ?
I tried the recipe
Halved it just to give it a shot
In case i flopped it
Everything was fine until i threw my cooled syrup over the cake
My pyrex shattered.
I usually do the cool syrup on hot baklava in the same pyrex…
Any idea why that happened
Thank you so much….
Oh no Faatimah! So sorry to hear about the Pyrex. Was the syrup ‘cold’ or at room temperature? It should be at room temp, even a little bit warm is fine. If it was cold, then maybe that’s the reason why the pyrex shattered.
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Hi Tasbih, quick question.. is it possible to freeze this recipe and bake it once thawed maybe? Like have it prepared in advance?
Hi Alia! I actually tried doing that once, and while it worked, the texture was a little off.
Any way to make it in any US standard pan like 9 by 13 or 8 inch round. Also for US which brand of semolina?
Hi Suchi! The batter amount may be a little too much for the 9X13 baking dish, but 1/2 of the recipe will work perfectly in a 9inch round pan. You could still make 1/2 the recipe in an 8inch pan, and use the extra batter to make mini basbousas in a cupcake pan or something. Sooji Wheatlets semolina, has been recommended by readers from the US.
I usually either do a recipe by the book or… no i always do a recipe in a strict way. But I just came back from Cairo and I now have a Basbousa recipe from my friend’s mom. But it lacked a little details and directives… The amounts and ingredients are mostly the same in both of your and her mom’s recipe. I read carefully your instructions and applied them to the recipe in a way I thought would mix great. I was prepared for failure and have a rock hard Basbousa but it turned out moist and delicious. I am not the best judge as I am a Quebecer that has no much experience in Egyptian desserts, but I like it alot. Also the texture was approved by egyptian mom so I’m glad I followed your tips. Shoukran gazilan!!
Oh that looks lovely Laurie-Ann! I’m so happy to hear that the recipe fusion worked out so well, and that you found my directions helpful. Thank you for sharing your experience with us ?
I made the basbousa yesterday, and it was a hit, gone in seconds, my question is if i want to serve it in a serving tray other than the one i baked it in, should i put parchment paper at the bottom??
That’s always so wonderful to hear Nada! Yes, you can use parchment paper that goes up the sides of the pan for easier release. Enjoy ?
Amazing recipe. Made it for my Egyptian husband and (although it was my first time and I’m neither a great baker generally nor am familiar with oriental cuisine), his delighted commenting while munching made me very happy. Thank you so much for the very thorough and detailed step by step guidance and the truly exquisite recipe! ❤️
That’s so wonderful to hear Marina! I’m so honored that your Egyptian husband has given it his seal of approval ??
Amazing Tasbih !!!! The most delicious and authentic basbousa recipe ever !!!! Ramadan Kareem and thank you so much for sharing this !!!
Yay! Love it when I hear that ? Have a blessed Ramadan yourself.
PERFECT.. it’s my first time to do basbousa and it competes with Qouaidar.. no kidding!
I followed the recipes religiously, but the pan was smaller so it took almost an hour to turn brown.
Thank you thank you thank you!
Looks so delicious Ola! YUM! So happy you loved it so much ?
It was amazing ! But a little hard. Any recommendations for next trail ?
Hi Salma! Please give me more information on what you think happened differently to cause this so I could better help you? Did you make anything differently? Did measure amounts precisely? What brand of semolina did you use? Was your syrup hot by any chance? Also try to refer to my instagram video tutorial on my highlights. It will most probably answer anything you have in mind.
I overmixed the batter not sure if this is the reason.
Yes! It could be the very reason. Semolina is very high in gluten, so over mixing will cause it to turn out tough & hard.
I would like to thank for your very detailed recipes in general, did balah el sham and turned out GREAT! But I tried the basboosa today, and followed the instructions step by step and measured the ingested by weight and not cup, looked good, but when I tried to cut into it, it was liquidy and literally SWIMMING in Ghee, where did I go wrong? And it seems that it’s a bit coarse and not as smooth as I would like it to be, I used the 5 star semolina flour.
So happy you’re enjoying the recipes of the blog Noha! I prefer Sonbolat el Forat brand for this recipe as it produces the softest results ever, but I used 5 Stars several times with great results too. I honestly don’t think that this is the problem. It’s really hard to tell where you went wrong without seeing you make it, especially that you weighed your ingredients. Noha did you watch the Instagram video tutorial on my highlights? I think that by seeing it, it will really help you spot what might’ve went wrong.
I just watched it now, I suppose I may have heated the milk/ sugar/ syrup mixture a bit more, because the sugar wouldn’t dissolve, maybe that’s it! And also I’m thinking the cooking time, because it did not all turn the same color, the edges were a bit darker but that could also be the pan material, I’ll make sure I use a dahan one like in the video next trial inshallah to decrease the chances of failure
Wishing you much better luck next time Noha ?
So excited to try this! But my oven can only be switched on either top or bottom, not both at the same time. Would just the bottom be fine? Or should I maybe try switching to the top after a certain amount of time to get the perfect golden color?
Hi Nada! Yessssss…like you said, you can bake it for about 20 minutes from the bottom only, then turn the top during the last 5 minutes. Enjoy ?
Your advice worked perfectly and it turned out AMAZING!!! No one can believe that I made this and I couldn’t be happier with the results! It’s as good as store bought basbousa and even better!! Completelyyy exceeded my expectations I can’t thank you enough! ?
Wooooohooooooo! You made my day with this message! So glad it was such a hit ?
I tried the recipe after carefully studying the steps and it turned out super tasty. I just have one question. Although texture was perfect on Day 1 it became tougher on the next day. What could have caused that? Same reasons you mentioned above for tough basbousa or something else?
Hi Ahmed! So happy you enjoyed this recipe. How did you store the leftovers? I’m thinking maybe it was exposed to air which dried it out? To keep it nice and soft, it best to store it in an airtight container.
Thanks a lot Tasbih!! I did leave it in open air :). On to the next trial…
I’ve made this recipe around 200 times and it always comes out AMAZIIIIIIIIIIIING!!but let me tell you that I tried this recipe yesterday using the recommended brands of ghee&semolina you mentioned above and this time it came out literally exceptional and I also modified the recipe and used 300g semolina to make the basbousa slightly thicker and poured the batter over parchment paper to be able to flip it over refrigerated it overnight to rest then placed it on a serving dish and topped it with nuts
Also I tried to add 1 tablespoon honey as it prevents crystallization to make sure that the syrup is not going to crystallize overnight
Amazing! I LOVE hearing that you like this recipe so much. Quality ingredients make all the difference in this recipe and I’m really happy that you experienced the upgrade yourself ? Using parchment to flip the basbousa onto another platter is a great idea!
Thank you so much..finally success with basbousa after so many failed attempts. I love the texture, and flavour. Its just too sweet for my taste, should I decrease amount of sugar in the base or syrup? Also I was confused on how to measure liquids in grams, I used the cups as usually liquids are measured in ml not grams? Is this why it’s too sweet? Or should I just put the bowl on the scale and pour liquids and measure in grams. I’m a bit confused
I’m really happy that you liked the basbousa Yasmeen! If you’d like to reduce the sweetness, then you can try decreasing the amount of sugar in the batter NOT the syrup. Start reducing by 25% only as reducing too much may affect the texture of the final product.
As for measuring the liquids here, yes I do put the bowl on the scale and weigh it; it’s even more precise than measuring by ml. You can see exactly how I do it on the video tutorial on my instagram highlights ?
Can’t thank you enough for this perfect recipe, it’s my first time ever to make basbousa as it never tastes like shops no matter where i try it not even the one my grandma does. I felt like master chef today when it came out just like pastry shops. It did harden a bit i think i will double the amount of the sugar syrup next time as i think it wasn’t enough though i did it in a 13″ pan.
So happy that you finally found success with this basbousa recipe! I know how you feel…been there ?
Hi Tasbih, I made this recipe last year and it was great and I want to make it again,. One question, I watched your video and after pouring the light syrup on the basboosa, you brush something on top. Is that the rest of the syrup? or butter? Thank you!
Hi Sara! I’m happy to hear that you had great results with this recipe ? I’m add a couple extra tablespoons of melted ghee over the surface to give it a fresh taste go ghee like they did in the old days. My dad gave me this tip ? It’s optional though.
This was amazing!
Love hearing that you loved it Nour ?
Very well explained thank U so much very successful recipe
Thank you Dalia! SO happy it was such a success for you ?
Thank you for posting this detailed recipe. This may seem odd but could this be made in a cupcake pan? Would I have to change any steps?
You’re most welcomed Kawthar! That sounds super cute ? The only thing you’ll probably need to adjust is the baking time. They’ll bake in much less time, now that they’re so much.
Oh my gosh – this was amazing!!!! I have failed so many times at making basbousa, this was my last ditch effort before I gave up completely. I can’t tell you how happy I am to have found this recipe – it came out just divine!!!! Just the right texture, not ultra sweet, not too coconutty…my family gobbled it up. Thank you!!!
Salam. I made this few days ago and will make double the quantity for eid in a few days. Came out perfect. I used coarse semolina sold in most asian or arab shops in uk. And the texture was fine. At first it seemed a little dry. So I added a tablespoon of milk before putting it into the pan.
It came out perfect. Was soft and moist . Great recipe shukran.
That’s awesome! I’m so happy it worked out so well for you ?
Yaaay! You have no idea how happy this make me Sonia! Thank you for your wonderful feedback ?
This is probably a TOTAL shot in the dark, but is it possible to substitute the refined sugar for honey in this recipe? Thanks! It looks amazing!
Ouch! Tough one Ingie ? I’m really unsure to be completely honest as I haven’t tried it myself, but if you do experiment with it, please let us know how it went. I’m sure a lot of people would be interested.
Can I replace desiccated coconut with unsweetened coconut flour?? Had some lying in the cupboard and feel perfect to use it for Basboussa.
Hi Gaurav! I wouldn’t recommend do so; it will probably affect the final texture.
Hi Tasbih, kol sana winty tayeb!
Thank you so much for this AMAZING basbousa recipe! It turned out beyond perfect and best of all it was SO easy to make. I’ve had to hold myself back from making it too much :)) You are a wiz!
Woooooohhoooooo! Always the best thing to hear Jailan! So happy you enjoyed it so much ?
My husband has spent the 12 years I’ve been married to him railing against homemade basbousa. He’s said that every attempt he’s tasted has failed miserably and it was only possible to get a real basbousa from a pastry shop in Egypt. I love a challenge, so my first ever basbousa attempt was this recipe. I’ve made it 3 times so far and it’s been spectacular every time! My husband trusts you with his life now Tasbih! No one can believe this is home made! I’ve also made the kahk recipe (husband couldn’t stop eating those last night), rice pudding (we are all addicted to it), and the cream filled kunafa (ah-mazing!). Keep up the amazing (and delicious) work!
Hahaahaaaa! Your husband reminds me of my mother-in-law. She too believed that homemade basbousa was a waste of time and that they’re practically all just cake in disguise ?
So happy to hear that this one impressed him and I’m really glad that you’ve been enjoying everything else.
I want to make this ao bad. I just went to 4 stores in the US looking for medium grade semolina but only found course and fine. Could the course be ground up or mixed with fine to make medium ?
That actually sounds like a good idea ?
Works perfectly but too sweet for me, so reduced the sugar in the base to 150g. Heavenly!
Awesome! I’m happy to hear that reducing the sugar worked well ?
Love the recipes can’t wait to try this where can I get the dish to bake the basbousa from I am in uk
Thank you Mariyah! I’m honestly unsure where you can find a similar pan in the UK as I live in Egypt, but you can also try online. Best of luck ?
I’m having a hard time in translation. Is there any way I can get this amazing basbousa recipe in Arabic? Thank you !!!!
I’m really sorry about that Tara! It is my goal to get my entire blog translated to Arabic soon. Unfortunately, I don’t have an Arabic translation for this recipe right now, but please let me know what you don’t understand about the recipe, and I’ll try my best to help you with it.
I mead this basboousa el couple of times and it is the best … just like kouader … i just have a question if i want to make it in a square tin what size will it be ?
Happy to have stumbled on your blog and this recipe. I am eager to try it. One questions, can I substitute natural honey for the heavy syrup?
I’m happy you’re here Sal! Sure…honey works well here. But keeps in mind that it will add a subtle honey flavor to the basbousa. FYI corn syrup is a great flavorless alternative too. Enjoy ?
Natural honey worked with a slight modification in the mixing method. I had to dissolve the sugar in the heated milk then mix in the honey. Heating the honey with sugar and milk resulted in curdled milk. Also, honey browned differently and had to mobjey around with the oven after 20 min of baking to achieve nice brown top without burning the bottom and sides. It came out very good nonetheless
P S. that was ‘monkey around with oven…’ in previous comment.
By the way, I made it with coarse farina and I got a good texture. Will try it with medium semolina when I find it in the US. Thanks for a great recipe!
Hi, I made the basbousa today and it tastes amazing however it is a bit dry and not as gooey as yours. Can you help me understand why did that happen? Also it took nearly 45 mins for the crust to get brown… and the base got crunchy. Please let me know. Thanks for the amazing recipe though?
I followed the instructions exactly and it was AMAZING!
Make sure you use a scale and you won’t have any issues. I live in Canada so I used semolina#2 and it was perfect.
My pan is 14″ (35 cm) and I found that it came out a bit thin the first time, but still very moist and tasty.
The second time I made it I increased all the ingredients by 25% and it was the perfect thickness.
Thank you so much for all your efforts and sharing this AWESOME recipe.
OMG! When I was reading about your struggles with this, I could relate! Recipe after recipe and disappointment. I am Russian, married to an Egyptian living in the US. I loved basbousa in Egypt and could never make it quite right, my husband told me to stop trying because he said he was stuck eating the mistakes ? Your recipe Is the winner! During “the moment of truth” when I cut a small piece from the corner to taste it for the first time I said= Honey, I think you will be very happy this time. He told me it tasted just like home ❤️? Triumph! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
P.S. For some reason it bubbled in the middle and cracked a little, but that did not hurt the end result. Also I ended up baking for almost 40 minutes, but ovens do vary.
Chef, the tradition basbousa recipe calls for yoghurt. But You did not use yoghurt here. So will there be any change in this from the original one?
Secondly, How is the taste of this?? Is it too sweet??
I really want to try out ur recipe. So plz help me out. Thank you
Thanks for this amazing recipe… I tried this today and it was delicious…. But the top layer of my basbousa looked pretty much the same (no brownish layer).. Please can you tell me what’s the reason?..
Can i use the same recipe to make cream filled basbousa then bake them with the cream filling inside?
Chef I want to make this recipe but I don’t have regular milk so can I use dry milk powder instead? 1 cup regular milk=1 cup water+3 tablespoons dry milk powder so can I use 2/3 cup water+2 tablespoons dry milk powder for this basbousa recipe?
Thank you so much for sharing your recipes with us!!! I just made the basboussa today and the taste is amazing!!! My cake won’t solidify though and needs to be eaten with a spoon – should I put it back into the oven? The syrup has already been poured over top. Thank you so much!
Can I use vegetable ghee ? The brand is Assal.
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I did come across your recipe as I have decided, finally, to make my own basbousa, I chose yours because it seemed the closest to what I thought is the right one and I was not disappointed.
I’m originally from alexandria so I’m used to the Harisa which is thicker than basbouse (cario style i guess) which I have not eaten since my last visit to alexandria 13 years ago.
this recipe came out good in fact it is better the following day as every thing kinda bonded together, I used medium semolina by the way as per your instructions.
I did not add any thick syrup to the semolina dough just sugar and coconut, i relied on the light syrup to do the job and it did. At 400 F degree oven I had to cook it for up to 45 minutes to get the nice brown color around the edges and all around. I also added a couple of lemon rind to the syrup to add citrus flavor and cooked it a little longer, ah forgot to say that Ive added two table spoon of coconut milk to the milk sugar mix for added creaminess and flavor, I had the coconut milk in the fridge as I just finished cooking a Brazilian fish stew.
for next time I plan to use an 8 inch pan instead of 12 to get it a bit thicker and as close as possible to the Harisa thickness, will cut down the sugar to 1/2 cup instead of 1 1/4 and will double the coconut amount, keep the light syrup as is.
by the way I served my basbousa with sour cream as qishda is hard to get, have to find middle east store which is like 25 Km away, I think it is a better fit due to the sourness of that type of cream, it cuts down on the amount of sugar and sweetness.
thanks for the recipe, appreciate it, I do not have to drive 26 km to get basbousa that is not half as good as yours.
will keep you posted on my next try.