Basbousa

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Time sure has gotten away from me this week! I’ve been meaning to post this recipe for some time now, and it was planned for Monday, but that clearly didn’t happen. Anyway, this is my mom’s classic basbousa recipe. Actually, she got it from a friend who moved away a very long time ago. My mama’s been making it since I can remember, and now she’s passed it on to me. The first time I made this was a few years back; it’s actually one of the first things I made from scratch. It was for my dad’s office party, and he promised to help but we all know how that goes. This left me all alone in the kitchen with a rather odd collection of ingredients and no baking experience other than brownies from a bag. In my terror, I forgot to add the sour cream and almost put the pan in the oven without it. Luckily, I reviewed the recipe, dumped the incomplete dough back into the bowl, mixed in some sour cream, and returned it to the pan.

Now that I think about it, I think this was the reason I began to love baking. There was something empowering about being able to say, “Heck yes, I made that myself.” I honestly think I told my dad, “No basbousa for you unless you tell everyone I made it. All be myself. Alone. Solo.” I was excited because it was perfect and it was made by my two little hands. These days I get even more excited when I know people are enjoying what I’m making (see: another reason we should be friends, I will feed you).

So here’s what it all comes down to, reasons to make basbousa:

  1. Bragging rights.
  2. People will flip tables over this.
  3. I don’t have to justify my life choices. Ha.

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This is the money shot, friends. Look at that soft and gooey deliciousness!

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Crumbs… purely for photographic purposes. No ulterior motives. None. (Insert halo.)

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Basbousa:

For the dough:

  • 2 cups (14 oz)  cream of wheat
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup  sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 – 1 ½ cup grated coconut
  • 1 stick butter, softened

For the syrup:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Notes:

  1. Timing is key with this recipe. The syrup must be ready and hot just as the basbousa comes out of the oven. I’ve bolded it in the recipe, but just remember that hot syrup is applied to hot basbousa.
  2. This is my mom’s recipe, so the cups in this recipe are actually just her measuring with standard sized mugs. It’s mainly about the ratios, especially when it comes to the syrup. However, the spoon measurements are correct. The next time I make this, I will correct the cup/mug situation to measuring cups. Or better yet, weigh everything.
  3. If the dough is dry, just add more sour cream.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a single bowl, mix all ingredients just until they come together. The less you handle the dough, the better. Place in a buttered pan, so that batter is only ½ inch thick. Typically, I use an 8 x 11 inch pan.

Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

While the basbousa is baking, make the syrup. In a saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Allow to simmer until light yellow in color, then add the lemon juice and continue to summer for 3-6 minutes.

Remove the basbousa from the oven and add the syrup. Both the basbousa and the syrup must be hot. Return to oven and bake for another 5 minutes.

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