I love these delicious soft, sugary and flavorful Arabic treats. These delicious bars are the best, they have a crispy exterior and soft crumbly interior drenched in sweet homemade syrup. It has a strong and delicious nutty flavor from the almonds and semolina. The cake itself is dry, however, when you add some of that sweet flavorful flower syrup, it becomes soft, moist and flavorful.
What is Harissa/ Basbousa?
As mentioned, this is a soft cake like bar that is very sweet. It has a crispy interior and soft center. The sauce used for flavor, sweetness and moisture really rounds off this pastry. This specific recipe calls for no eggs, however, eggs and butter are necessary for that soft and rich flavor.
I have seen multiple recipes for Harissa/ Basbousa with a layer of sweet cream. This layer is a dense, rich and creamy cream layer baked into the bar. you can find many recipe variations. Hopefully I can work on another delicious recipe for that 🙂
Harissa/ Basbousa Recipe | وصفة هريسة و بسبوسة
- 1 cup almonds see note
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 cups semolina
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 cup yogurt
- 1 and 1/4 cup butter melted
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut
For the syrup
- 4 tsp rose water
- 4 cups sugar
- 4 cups water
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- On the high heat, in a sauce pan, let your sugar and water boil for 10 minutes until it is very bubbly (or there are many tiny tornadoes). Add your rose water/flower water and lemon juice. Let boil for another minute, then set aside to cool
- Boil 1/2 of your almonds in water until the skin is easy to peal off of them. Set aside to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F or 220°C and prep two 8×11 pans by brushing them with tahini.
- In a food processor or blender, combine the other half of your almonds with sugar and coconut and pulse until it is somewhat a powder. Add your semolina, baking powder, baking soda, and a pinch of salt. Pulse to combine. Add in your melted butter and yogurt. Pulse until it forms a dough.
- Add your dough and evenly spread out in the pans. After spreading it out, wet your hand and press to seal and smooth the dough. With a knife, cut diamond shapes (as shown in the video) into your dough. Set dough aside for 10-15 minutes.
- While the dough "rests" peel your almonds (as shown in video) and slive in half (like a burger bun)
- Add an almond half into each diamond shape. Bake for 15-25 minutes or until the edges are browned. Ass soon as you remove the harissa from the oven, you should drench it with the cool syrup. It is important that you add cold syrup to hot harissa. It will guarantee that it is not too doughy.
- Set both pans aside to cool.
- Once fully cooled and the syrup has been soaked, enjoy!