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Basbousa with condensed milk

Basbousa, also known as hareesa or namoura, is one of the most popular Middle Eastern desserts.

I absolutely love feeding people. It is a passion of mine and the main reason I love to cook. There is nothing like seeing the smile on people’s faces when they are enjoying something I have made for them. But, from time to time, I like to enjoy something someone has made for me, and this is one of the most delicious desserts I have had made for me by a dear friend.

Basbousa, also known as hareesa or namoura, is one of the most popular Middle Eastern desserts. Most Arab countries have a version of it nowadays, and I have seen so many different twists on it, even my own twist, stuffing it with figs and cream. This version is the simplest twist I have seen and the addition of condensed milk, although seemingly simple, takes this dessert to another level!

The recipe is straightforward, but it is important to mix the ingredients in the order they are listed. You may think a can of condensed milk will make it too sweet but greasing the tray with the slightly bitter tahini paste balances out the sweetness. Make sure you pour the condensed milk evenly over the basbousa once it is out of the oven, and don’t worry if it isn’t absorbed completely at first, by the time it has cooled, the cake will have absorbed it all. It is best to garnish with the pistachios before all of the condensed milk is absorbed, so that the pistachios stick to the basbousa, but you could also garnish each plate. If you aren’t too crazy about pistachios or have an allergy, try garnishing with some desiccated coconut!

This is best served warm with a cup of Arabic coffee or tea. It was literally love at first bite for me with this dessert, and I am pretty sure you’ll fall in love too!

Ingredients

9 x 9 baking tray

2 large eggs

2 tsp vanilla

170 g ishta/table cream

1 cup sugar

1 cup powdered milk

1 cup fine semolina

¾ cup oil

1 tsp baking powder

Tahini paste to grease

1 can (307 g) condensed milk, to serve

Crushed pistachios, to serve

Instructions

  1. Mix the eggs and vanilla together. Add the ishta and mix.
  2. Mix in the sugar, then the powdered milk, then semolina.
  3. Finally add in the oil and baking powder.
  4. Grease the baking tray with tahini paste and pour the batter in.
  5. Bake at 150C for 20-30 minutes or until cooked through.
  6. Immediately out of the oven, pour the can of condensed milk over it in an even layer. Set aside to cool and absorb.
  7. Garnish with pistachios and enjoy!
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