Oh My! What can I say? This besboosa is one of those recipes that literally made my day…or days when I was working on it. It turned out so good, just as good as any besboosa with eggs or diary. And that cashew cream filling just takes it over the top! You will certainly wow your family and friends…vegan or not.
Now I wouldn’t call this a healthy dessert…but great for anyone avoiding dairy-free or eggs, and a wonderful option especially for Ramadan if you’re vegan. I’ve gone vegan for the month of Ramadan, and so far it’s been as easy as pie…or should I say besboosa?
Now you could health-ify this recipe a bit by reducing the sugar in both the besboosa or filling, or swapping it for an alternative sweetener. I haven’t tried that yet as my intent was to create a vegan besboosa to be proud of first. I do plan on experimenting some more, but if you do so before me, please share your results in the comments below.
Now before we get into the recipe…a few notes about the ingredients used:
Semolina is traditional in besboosa, however, if you just want to make a “cake” use all-purpose flour instead.
I loved using almond flour as it adds flavor, richness and an interesting texture. However, if you prefer a nut-free version, just use more semolina instead.
The same applies for the desiccated coconut, more semolina can be used, but I highly advice you try it out with the coconut.
You can certainly use any other dairy-free milk, but oat milk does help the cake brown more due to its higher sugar content compared to other milk alternatives.
As for the aquafaba (which means bean water, and you can read more about it here), I can’t believe it has taken me this long to experiment with it. I am loving it!! It can add lightness to vegan desserts, with absolutely no noticeable bean flavor. The healthiest option is to cook your own chickpeas and use the water, but I don’t usually have that on hand. So instead I go to our local “Nikhi and Bajila” shop and they’ll give me a whole container full for just 50fils. You can store it in ice-cube trays and take out the amount you will need for your recipe. It’s important to whip the aquafaba with the cream of tartar in order to get it to reach stiff peaks and get you the airiness needed when mixed into the cake batter. I usually find cream of tartar in Save Co. or Sultan Centre in Kuwait.
With regards to the syrup, I cheated by using agave, but you can certainly use a more traditional sugar syrup. You can also use honey instead of the agave.
I used a 9inch round spring-form pan, I wanted to be able to easily release the cake from the sides. Make sure to use a pan with a similar size.
Vegen Cashew Pudding Besboosa
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Orange Cashew Pudding
1/3 cup raw cashews, soaked for 3 hours
2/3 cup coconut milk (full-fat, canned)
1/2 cup cane sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons orange zest
1 teaspoon orange blossom water
1 cup semolina, mixed course and fine
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
2/3 cup cane sugar
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup oat milk, at room temperature
1/4 cup buttery or refined coconut oil, melted and warm
1/2 tablespoon orange blossom water
3 tablespoons aquafaba (see note above)
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup agave syrup
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon orange zest (optional)
1/2 teaspoon orange blossom water
First make the pudding:drain the soaked cashews and place in the blender with 1/2 a cup of the coconut milk, and sugar. Blend until smooth. Transfer to a small saucepan, add the orange zest, and warm up over medium heat, stirring occasionally. In the meantime, mix the remaining coconut milk with the cornstarch until smooth. Once the cashew mixture starts to bubble, quickly add the cornstarch slurry and whisk constantly until the cream is thick like pudding. Remove from the heat and mix in the orange blossom water. Set aside while you make the cake. It will thicken as it cools.
Pre-heat the oven to 375F or 190C. Line your chosen baking pan with parchment paper, grease the sides well. And place on a baking sheet.
In a medium bowl, mix the semolina, almond flour, desiccated coconut, sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a small measuring cup mix the milk with the oil and orange blossom water. Make are the milk is at room temperature and the oil is warm, otherwise the oil will turn solid. Set aside.
In a small bowl and using a hand held electric mixer, whisk the aquafaba with the cream of tartar until stiff peaks, about 1 minute. Set aside.
Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients and just mix to incorporate. Next add a few tablespoons of the whipped aquafaba to lighten up the batter, then add the rest of the whipped aquafaba and gently fold in.
Transfer about 60% of the batter (about 1 1/2 cups) to the prepared pan, spreading it to the sides. Bake for approximately 15 mind until the base is just set. Top with the cashew pudding as evenly as you can, leaving a 1cm space without pudding on the sides. Carefully pour over the rest of the batter to cover the pudding. Sprinkle the sliced almonds all over or on the edges.
Place the pan on the baking sheet, and bake for about 20 minutes until the cake looks set, with just a few cracks, and the edges are golden brown.
While the cake is baking make the syrupby warming up the agave, water, orange zest if using in a small saucepan. Let it simmer for a few minutes and then strain to remove the zest. Add in the orange blossom water.
As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, pour the syrup evenly over the top.
Let cool completely before taking out of the pan. Serve at room temperature or warmed up.