Basbousa is the name I learned for this Egyptian sweet but I know that this style of recipe is known the Mediterranean over by many other names, basbūsah, harīsa, nammoura, shamali, revani or ravani, gabelouze, kalbelouz, and qualb-el-louz, ραβανί and ρεβανί. I am sure I have missed a few.
Some variations have ground nuts mixed into the cream of wheat batter and the flavour of the syrup all depends on your tastebuds. Today I played and using Chai Sansibar Rooibus Tea from my favourite tea emporium, Aromatica, I got busy on a fusion version of a cream of wheat cake full with the flavours of India and South Africa.
You will need:
3⁄4 cup butter, melted
3⁄4 cup sugar
1 1⁄4 cups buttermilk
2 cups cream of wheat
1/2 tsp. ground cardamon
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 1⁄2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 Tbsp. Rooibus Chai Tea
2 Tbsp. ginger fresh
1 tsp. cardamon seeds
1/2 tsp. orange peel
Gather your ingredients together with gratitude for the abundant possibilities in your life. Bring your thoughts into the present moment as you wash hands and find the apron, letting go of any nigglies running on a hamster wheel in your mind. Be conscious of your intentions as you take a deep breath and begin.
While the butter is cooling mix together the sugar and buttermilk in a larger bowl.
Combine the cream of wheat, cardamon powder, baking powder and baking soda in a separate bowl. I used the 7 x 11 pan that I would be baking the basbousa in (less washing up).
Grease a 7 x 11 pan and transfer the batter into the pan. Let sit for 20 minutes.The cake may get to sit but you have a little more to do.
Combine the water, sugar and tea in a pot and place over high heat. Add the orange peel, chopped ginger and cardamon seeds.
I have mentioned before that I keep little jars of lemon and orange peel in a bit of sugar in the fridge. The peel comes from citrus fruits I am going to juice. They get zested before juicing and the peel is handy for added flavour.
The cardamon seeds can come from their pods. It is easier than trying to buy the seeds themselves. Press down on a pod as you would a clove of garlic, The pod will usually split and the seeds can be easily removed.
Confession time. I made 1 1/2 times the recipe of the syrup so I had a little extra for serving. I only added the volume of syrup the recipe above made and held the rest back.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Bring the syrup to a boil, reduce to heat but make sure the syrup is bubbling. T he viscosity of the syrup will thicken over the next 20 – 30 minutes as it continues to bubble.
If you would like to be precise, add a thermometer to the syrup and boil to at least soft ball stage, 220 degrees. I like to go a little higher, 225 degrees on my thermometer.
Pour the syrup through a sieve. The syrup will thicken as it cools.
Cream of wheat is filling. I always found making any kind of dessert with it helped to fill up any young homestay students with hollow legs so there is no need for large servings.
To serve, and this is not a traditional serving suggestion, cut 2 by 2 inch sections and place over thinly sliced nectarines or peaches. Top with a little sweetened whipped cream and an extra drizzle of Chai Rooibus Syrup.
If you have a little extra time, cut the fruit in advance. Toss with the syrup and allow to sit. This will let the liquids mingle and bring an extra layer of flavour to the syrup.
Chai Rooibus Basbousa from My Kitchen Wand