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What is Basma?

Mouthwatering blend of pine kernels and cashews covered from top and bottom with our tasty Knafeh dough.
Well, what is Knafeh dough? It is dough made of flour and water but that is first made into thin strings then dried, crushed, and grounded. It is the same dough used in the famous Palestinian breakfast «Knafeh».

Sugar, cashews, pine nuts, flour, butter ghee, butter, milk powder.

Basma is not hard, yet not soft. It is chewy which makes tasting it a pleasure.
This characteristically chewy Palestinian dessert is made from the same famous Knafeh dough used in the cheese filled Knafeh that is served hot with sugar syrup. It is however filled with a blend of pine kernels and cashews and served cold.
Basma is all about the dough: It is the Knafeh dough that gives it its great taste.

Meaning and Pronunciation of «Basma»
Pronounced [Bas-mah], it derives from the Palestinian verb «Bassama» which means «pressing with the thumb». It is named as such because in making Basma, after laying each layer of dough or filling, the layer is pressed against with strong pressure using the hands, and in particular the thumbs, in order to increase the density of the dough and filling and make them stick to each other.

Basma with pine nuts and cashews
How is Basma Made?
First the grounded Knafeh dough and the sugar syrup are prepared, then layers of dough and a pine nuts and cashews filling are stacked and baked.

Preparation of the grounded Knafeh Dough
Basma is made from a dough similar to that use in Knafeh and which consists of flour and water. To prepare it, flour and water are mixed for about two hours to form a watery mixture. Then the mixture is poured into a special container that contains small holes in its base and placed on top of a hot surface. As the watery dough mix passes through the holes, it forms filaments of dough. The container is moved along the hot surface as the dough mixture drains through the container to form long strings of dough. The strings of dough are then let to dry resulting in stringy Knafeh dough. The strings are then crushed and grounded to form the dough ready to use in Basma.

Preparation of Basma
After butter ghee is spread over a baking sheet, a layer of the grounded Knafeh dough is laid. Then a layer of the filling made of a blend of pine kernels, cashews, and sugar is added on top of the dough, and a second layer of grounded Knafeh dough is placed on top of the filling. This results in a layer of pine kernels and cashews sandwiched between two layers of Knafeh dough.
After adding each layer of dough, the dough is pressed by exercising strong pressure by hand in order to increase the dough and filling density.

Basma is initially baked for 15 minutes on medium temperature, then flipped over and baked for another ten minutes.
After baking, the sheet is cut into square pieces and sugar syrup is added on top.

Serving Suggestions
Basma is served as a dessert often as part of assorted Baklava and Mediterranean sweets arrangements.

Basma is most famous in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. Manufacturers from these countries have introduced it along with other Mediterranean desserts to the rest of the world, and to the Middle East in particular.

Basma is one of the assorted Baklava types that are made with knafeh dough.
Assorted baklava desserts are made of two forms of dough: Paper thin sheets of dough that resemble the phyllo dough and thin strings of dough called knafeh dough. Basma requires the initially stringy knafeh dough to be shredded.
It is one of the elements of Palestinian sweets.