Basbousa is a famous Middle Eastern sweet. It most common in the Levantine countries and Egypt, but it is found all over and it has the iconic 'sugar syrup' that if also on baklava, honeycomb bread, etc. I like too use orange blossom water for mine, but you can also use rose water, lemon, or the flavoring of your choice. This recipe uses no eggs or coconut, which are other common additions, but I am a purist when it comes to basbousa and I think simpler is better.
2 cups coarse semolina
1/4 cup fine semolina
1 cup of yogurt
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 cups of sugar
2 cups of water
1 tsp. orange blossom water (or rose water, or lemon)
cardamom pods, optional
1. Mix the 3/4 cup sugar and melted butter together and then then add in the yogurt. Mix until well combined.
2. In another bowl, mix together the coarse and fine semolina, the salt and baking soda.
3. After this is combined, add it in to the yogurt mixture. Mix well and place the batter into a greased 9x12 or 9x13 baking pan. Smooth the mixture out on top with a spoon or by shaking the pan.
3. If you want to blanch your own almonds, place a couple handful of almonds into a pot of boiling water and remove them after about 30-60 seconds. Then rinse them off with cold water and peel off the skin. Alternatively, you can buy pre-blanched almonds or use them with the skin on.
4. Score the basbousa with a knife into small squares and place an almond in the middle of each square.
5. Place into a preheated 350 F degree oven for about 35-40 mins, until the top is browned to your liking.
6. While the basbousa is cooking, you can prepare the sugar syrup by bringing to a boil over medium high heat, the sugar, water, and cardamom if desired. Boil for about 5-10 mins and then remove from the heat. Remove the cardamom and add in the orange blossom water.
7. When you basbousa is done, remove from the oven and pour over half the syrup. If you want to brown it further, you can broil in the over for another 2-3 mins or so. Then remove and pour on the remaining sugar syrup.
8. Cut through the scored lines and when the basbousa has cooled, remove from the pan one by one.