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I had a middle eastern friend who used to say basbousa is a type of baklava...wonder why she said that since it's not made with phyllo pastry.
I couldn't wait anymore to try basbousa, though I earlier planned to do it in the later half of the week : and oh boy!
I've had basbousa numerous times and the best part for me is the sugar syrup...they do use rose essence in it, so you were right to sub essence for lime/lemon juice.
These semolina-syrup cakes are known as nammoura in Lebanon and occasionally also basbousa.
It used to be the case that after I told people about my origins, I would invariably hear a "bucket list" of wishes to visit the pyramids and east desserts such as basbousa.
One Wildwood parishoner mistook basbousa -- the Egyptian dessert of almonds, coconuts and maple syrup -- for baklava, the similar Greek treat.