Basbousa – بسبوسة


We wanted to post our first dessert today. The sunshine inspired us to have something sweet, and this is a very simple recipe, great for a Friday night! This is is also the first dessert that Rania learned to make. Basbousa (also called hareesa) is a baked dessert made of farina, topped with slivered almonds, and drizzled with a simple syrup called qatr.

Farina is semolina wheat, but be sure to buy farina, and not the super fine semolina.


Another ingredient you will need is orange blossom water. You can pick this up at any Arabic or Middle Eastern store, and is another one of our pantry staples. Orange blossom water is used in many dessert and drink recipes, so keep it on hand!

orange blossom water

Here’s a look at how the batter is cut into diamonds and topped with almonds before baking.


Tahina, or sesame paste, is another necessity, and is found at pretty much every grocery store. It gives the basbousa a nice, toasty flavor and keeps it from sticking to the pan. Serve with turkish coffee or tea. Sahtain!




2 cups of sugar
1 cup of water
1 tsp of lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp of orange blossom water


1 cup of plain yogurt
3/4 cup of sugar
2 cups of farina
1/4 tsp of baking soda
1 Tblsp of tahina
1 Tblsp of unsalted butter
1/2 cup of slivered almonds



In a small saucepan combine the sugar and the water over medium heat. Stir it until the sugar is completely dissolved. When it begins to boil, add the lemon juice and orange blossom water.
Cover, reduce heat to low, and let it simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool.


Preheat the oven to 350.

In a large bowl combine yogurt, sugar, and baking soda. Mix well until the sugar is dissolved. The mix will have some bubbles in it.
While mixing, add the farina gradually. Continue mixing until all of the ingredients are combined.
Dissolve the butter and stir into the batter.
Spread the tahina in a 9×12 baking pan.
Pour the batter into the pan and level it.
Draw lines with a knife in the batter, cutting it into diamonds.
Place 2 pieces of almond in the center of each diamond.
Place the pan in the lower rack of the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Then, move the pan to the upper rack and broil for 1 or 2 minutes until the top is golden.

Remove the pan from the oven and immediately cut it into the pre-drawn diamonds. Drizzle the entire pan with qatr and serve immediately.


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