A traditional Middle Eastern Hareeseh is a semolina cake oftentimes drenched in a simple syrup and topped with almonds. This dessert has multiple names all dependent on the region its made in the Middle East. You may know it as Namoura, or even basbousa. They all refer to this delicious semolina cake. It is an extremely popular sweet treat; you can find it always everywhere and anywhere overseas.
Semolina is used predominantly in the Arabic culture especially in desserts. In this baked good, coarse semolina is used as opposed to fine semolina. The two cannot be switched for this recipe. The semolina adds great flavor and texture to this cake; its moist and crumbles in your mouth!
Now, let’s talk about dates. Dates are my favorite. This ingredient too is almost in every Arabic household. They are super delicious, naturally sweetened, and vegan. I have had a pack of baking date paste staring at me for the last few months in the pantry. Ofen, I would make ma’amoul or makrouta with date paste but I wanted to do something new and different. That is when this concept of a stuffed hareeseh cake came to mind. I wasn’t sure how it would be executed or the outcome but I am so happy that I attempted to do it.
This recipe right here is delicious and impressive. Your family, friends, guests will love it. It is something unique and more creative than the usual hareeseh. Instead of drenching the cake with syrup; here the date paste offers its natural sweetness. All you will need is to lightly glaze the cake for that nice sheen!
I hope you give this Hareeseh Mahshi Bil tamer (Semolina cake stuffed with dates) a try. Although, it may look intimidating; I promise it is easy if you just follow the instructions one step at a time. Please tag me, share, and comment on what you think when you make this delicious dessert.
I would love to hear from you!
Hareeseh Mahshi Bil Tamer (Semolina Cake stuffed with Dates)
- 2 cups Coarse semolina flour this can be found at any Middle Eastern market
- 1 cup White sugar
- 1 cup Fine coconut shreds labeled as Coconut Macaroon. If you only have coconut shreds then process that until it is fine
- 1 tsp Baking soda
- 1 cup Whole Milk 2 % will work
- 1/2 cup Unsalted Butter, melted 1 stick of butter
- 1/3 cup Crushed pistachios can use walnuts, and almonds as well. This is garnish.
- 1 tbsp Tahini paste
- 13 oz Baking Date Paste highly recommend Ziyad brand
- 1/3 cup Crushed walnuts
- 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cups Water
- 2 cups Sugar
- 1 tbsp Fresh lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- Mix all the semolina cake ingredients together other than the tahini and crushed pistachios in a large bowl with a spatula.
- Prep a 12-inch round baking pan or 9 by 13 pan by brushing it entirely with the tahini paste.
- Add half the batter to the pan and spread it out evenly.
- Top that off with the date paste by taking a piece of the baking date paste and flattening it out with your hand then placing on top of the first layer of batter. Keep repeating this until a layer of date paste is on top of the semolina batter. Leave 1-2 inches around the edges without being covered with dates. The paste should be 1-2 inches thick; not more than that.
- Top the date paste layer with a sprinkle of cinnamon and the crushed walnuts.
- Then, add the second half of the semolina cake batter on top and spread it out to cover the entire pan.
- Etch a design using the back of a butter knife onto the top or just cut into a diamond or square design before and/or after it is baked and cooled. I personally etched the design I wanted as a template before baking then cut it after it finished baking following the patterns.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes then broil for1 minute for a light brown color on top.
- Glaze the top a few times with the simple syrup then garnish with the crushed nuts. Serve warm or room temperature. Add more syrup to your liking if necessary.
How to Make the Simple Syrup
- Mix together the sugar, water, and fresh lemon juice in a pot. Let it boil on medium to high heat. Stir consistently until the sugar is fully dissolved and the mixture is slightly thickened. This will take a few minutes. The liquid should be sticky to the touch.
- Save the rest of the syrup in a jar or airtight container and keep in the fridge. It will stay good for months!