A classic Middle Eastern dessert cake made with semolina and coconut, soaked in rose or orange blossom flavoured sugar syrup. Simple & easy to make.
Preheat oven to 190 degrees C. Smear a 9x13 inch baking dish (glass or tin) with the tahina and keep aside.
1. Tahina is a popular condiment in Arabic/Middle Eastern cuisine. It is a thick paste made of white sesame seeds and olive oil and is popularly used in the preparation of hummus - a chickpea dip. If you don't have it you can make your own at home but since this recipe needs just 1 tablespoon of it you can skip it and use ghee or butter to grease the pan.
2. 1 cup semolina is 175 grams. 3/4th cup = 125 grams and 2 tablespoons is 20 grams of semolina. So all in all you need 320 grams (1-3/4th cups + 2 tablespoons)
3. If you are using a baking dish that is slightly bigger than the required dimensions you will need to reduce the baking time accordingly. I once made this in a dish that was 28x24cms (approx 11 x 9inches) and it took me 32 mins.
4. The syrup needs to be poured onto the basbousa when it is just out of the oven and still in the pan. Leave it in the pan to soak up the syrup for at least 45 mins. To cut, just run a knife through it and remove the pieces. If you wish you can transfer it onto a board but the pieces may break so be careful.
5. You may use almonds (skinless/blanched) to decorate - in this case, decorate them over the batter before placing the tray in the oven. You may even garnish with flaked almonds just before serving.
6. This cake keeps well for 3-4 days at room temperature. If you wish to gift it to someone do make sure you line the box/tin with baking parchment (butter paper) so that the excess ghee/syrup doesn't leak out. An airtight box would be the best bet.