Hareesa -- A Traditional Middle-Eastern Desert

Hareesa is one of those Middle-Eastern dishes that has several different names and several different variations. Syrians and Palestinians call it Hareesa and use farina as the main ingredient, the Lebanese call it Nammoura and add coconut to the mix, and the Egyptians call it Basboosa and use cream of wheat instead of farina. Hareesa is essentially a dense cake that is typically drenched in a sweet syrup. It is relatively simple to make and is sure to please your whole family. The recipe below is the Syrian version.


  • Two cups "Simple Syrup:
    • Two cups sugar
    • One cup water
    • Two teaspoons Cortas Orange Blossom Water
    • teaspoon Lemon Juice
  • Three tablespoons Alwadi Tahini
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 cup Alta Dena Plain Yogurt
  • teaspoon Baking Soda
  • Three cups Mid East Farina
  • One cup sugar
  • cup Alta Dena Unsalted Butter (at room temp.)
  • About thirty-to-forty raw almond halves
  • Bring all ingredients to a boil. Let simmer on low for a few minutes.
  • Allow to cool completely. Set aside
  • Preheat oven to 375.
  • Combine tahini and water in a small bowl. Brush the bottom and sides of a baking sheet with the tahini/water mixture, reserving some (about one tablespoon) for later.
  • Combine yogurt and baking soda and set aside. In a large bowl, combine farina, sugar, and butter with your fingers until incorporated well. Add yogurt/baking soda mixture to farina mixture and combine well.
  • Spread batter evenly in prepared baking sheet. Set aside and for hour.
  • Score diagonal lines from the corners of the baking sheet to make diamond-shaped pieces (about two-to-three inch diamonds). Set one almond half in the center of each piece.
  • Brush reserved tahini/water mixture over the top of the batter.
  • Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • While still hot, go over scored lines, making sure to cut all the way through.
  • Pour cooled syrup over hot Hareesa, so syrup will be completely absorbed.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!






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