Chefs' Recipes

Paul Farag’s coconut basbousa and fenugreek custard

Fans of coconut and custard will love this take on the traditional Egyptian basbousa pudding by Aalia's Paul Farag.

Photo: Ben Dearnley

Ben Dearnley

“Traditionally, basbousa is a very dry semolina cake that’s drenched in sugar syrup like baklava,” says Farag. “My version is like a soft pudding, there are no eggs in the base so you can have a soft centre and not worry about it setting.”


Fenugreek custard


1.Heat milk in a saucepan over medium heat until steam appears. Stir in fenugreek, then remove from heat and infuse for 2 hours.
2.For basbousa, place semolina in the bowl of a stand mixer. On low-medium speed, beat in 220ml sugar syrup, ghee, coconut, milk, yoghurt and coconut cream until combined and smooth (2 minutes); transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
3.For fenugreek custard, clean electric mixer bowl, add sugar, custard powder and eggs, and using a paddle attachment, beat on high speed until thick and pale (5 minutes). Meanwhile, strain milk and return to pan; bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce speed to low and gradually add hot milk until combined. Place in a large heatproof bowl; cook over a double boiler over medium heat until custard coats the back of a wooden spoon thickly (4-5 minutes). The custard powder prevents custard from splitting and stabilises it during baking.
4.Preheat oven to 220˚C fan-forced. Divide basbousa among six 300ml ovenproof dishes and spread evenly over base then smooth top. Divide custard among dishes and smooth top. Place dishes on two large oven trays and bake until golden and blistered (15 minutes). Drizzle with remaining sugar syrup while pudding is hot; rest before serving.

For sugar syrup, combine an equal quantity of sugar and water in a saucepan and boil to dissolve; cool completely


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