Thursday, May 24, 2012


Egyptian Basbousa
I'm finally getting back to baking items for my Around the World challenge!  Back in February, I read The Yacoubian Building by Alaa Al Aswany (you can see my review here).   The main character in this book set in Egypt is the building, but one of the people moving throughout the story is Zaki Bey, who has interesting ideas about women.  One of them includes how they pronounce the S in basbousa!
"All these varied and teeming experiences have made of Zaki el Dessouki a true expert on women, and in 'the science of women,' as he calls it, he has strange and eccentric theories that, whether one accepts or rejects them, definitely deserve consideration... Zaki Bey also believes that how a woman pronounces the letter 's' - specifically - is a clue as to how ardent she will be when making love.  Thus, if a woman says a word such as 'susu' or 'basbusa,' for example, in a tremulous, arousing way, he concludes immediately that she is gifted in bed." - The Yacoubian Building by Alaa Al Aswany
Basbousa is a relatively simple cake, made with semolina or sometimes farina.  I hunted down farina for this recipe, which is why mine is fairly pale (semolina would be more like a corn bread).  While the cake is still hot, it is covered with a lemon-honey syrup that soaks in.  The cake is dense and not too sweet, but still tasty.  I enjoyed Jessie Oleson's personal basbousa story over on Cakespy, and used her recipe for Brooklyn Basbousa.  Please check it out and whip up a pan!

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