The Batter Half & Co: Simple Spins on Ramadan Classics
Ever since the rise of ‘Konafa Bel Manga’, Cairo’s confectioneries and bakeries have been surprising us every year with new breeds of desserts that put modern spins on classic Ramdan desserts like attayef and basbousa.
While many places come up with improvised versions of the traditional desserts, merely to follow the trend, only a few manage to create sensible yet trendy desserts that by time will be classics on their own. One of the latter is Cairo 360 Editors’ Choice Award winner, The Batter Half & Co., which we decided to pay a visit to see what ut has up its sleeve this year.
In addition to repeating last years’ favourites, including Basbousa Dome, Chocolate/Date Konafa Tart and Konafa Cones, The Batter Half & Co. offers a variety of new items, including Nutella or Lotus Biscuit-stuffed Balah El Sham and many variations of Basbousa and rice pudding.
Revisiting one of the past seasons’ items, we opted for The Chocolate Konafa Tart (26.70LE), which is formed of three layers of konafa with dark chocolate in between. With a deliciously balanced taste that combines the slight acidity of the rich-textured chocolate and the sweetness of the crispy golden konafa; this one has become a staple Ramadan item at The Batter Half & Co.
From the new items, we tried the bakery’s new take on Balah El Sham (9.51LE per piece), which comes in two different versions; stuffed either with Nutella or Lotus biscuit. While the former is too heavy and sweet, the latter is exceptionally tasty; the nutty taste of the Lotus was in harmony with the sweet and crispy dough of the Balah El Sham.
Unfortunately, there’s not as much harmony in some of the other items, like the Rice Pudding with Basbousa, or the Raspberry Yogurt Basbousa which are sold in rectangular plastic cups (26.70LE each). In the first cup, where the basbousa forms the base under a thick layer of rice pudding topped with coconut shreds, the rice pudding was creamy but not sweet and the basbousa, being equally unsweet and unpleasantly grainy, made for an unbalanced dessert.
Another disappointment was the Raspberry Yogurt Basbousa cup, which is formed of two basbousa layers with raspberry -flavoured cream in between and topped with a layer of whipped cream. Although the name suggests a light, fluffy-textured dessert, the dense layers of cream and basbousa left us looking for a bucket of water to drench the greasy palates. When it came to the flavour, there wasn’t a trace of raspberry, strangely enough, and the dessert as a whole tasted more like Qamar El Din, leading us to question the information given by staff.
Despite this, the last item reviewed, the Cream Caramel (26.36LE) finally came to draw a smile on our faces. Unlike the usual form of the cream caramel, the dessert is served upside-down in a clay pot, where the caramel is at the bottom and the pudding is on top, with a swirl of cream cheese on top of it. From the rich and creamy pudding to the caramel sauce’s perfect sweetness, this excellent dessert is was the highlight of our visit.
All in all, aside from the unsuccessful venture of merging basbousa with other flavours, The Batter Half & Co. has conquered new grounds of creativity with the Balah El Sham, while maintaining the quality of the good old Chocolate Konafa and cream caramel. There’s something to for the adventurous and something for the classicist.