Last week we made this typical Turkish dessert in one of my cooking classes in Kuzguncuk. Suitably sticky, deliciously sweet and syrupy with a slight crunch from the flaked almonds, I think it was a winner!
I had some kaymak left over – you may wonder what that is: well, it’s buffalo cream! Yes, really!! It’s somewhat similar to our clotted cream in that it’s firm and can easily be spooned into each apricot. Here, you buy it in rülo or rolls from shops that sell milk puddings eg Sütiş, which is where I got mine. I should add that it’s not cheap at approximately 22 TL per roll so I wasn’t out to waste the remaining half roll.
So I made it again! This time at home for the family. In fact, this is what we enjoyed after our takoz palamut as there is a general consensus that ‘something sweet’ after fish is always nice. In restaurants you are (often!) served a selection of baklava or some warm helva along with fruit just to satisfy this craving.
Of course the apricots are the dried ones that are sold everywhere here in Istanbul. I bought mine from my local aktar, a treasure trove of dried herbs, spices, oils and essences as well as nuts and dried fruits. Aktars are fabulous places. You can see that the quality of these apricots was superb: firm, fleshy, and on the large side: just perfect for stuffing with cream!
Yes, they are the orange ones, the ones that have been treated with sulphur dioxide to preserve the colour – I suppose we should all be buying the organic brown ones that have been sun dried. I usually do as a matter of fact but for cooking, this colour is so much more attractive. One of the ladies in the group suggested a chequerboard effect: one orange, one brown etc! Not a bad idea.
This recipe is simplicity itself: the only thing to remember is to soak the apricots overnight and then the next day, to reserve 1 cup of that same liquid for the boiling with lemon and sugar.
The ladies were brilliant: how about cinnamon sticks? vanilla pod? cardamom? they suggested. All excellent ideas!
But here’s the typical recipe inspired by Angie Mitchell in ‘Secrets of the Turkish Kitchen’ for:
- Soak the apricots overnight in cold water.
- Drain and reserve 1 cup of the water. Put the water in a pan with the apricots,
lemon juice and sugar. Boil gently for 10 minutes or until the syrup thickens,
taking care not to allow the apricots to become mushy.
- Allow to cool. Then split open the apricots and
stuff with a spoonful of the cream. Arrange on a serving dish facing up, spoon over
the syrup and sprinkle with either the pistachios or flaked almonds.
- I decided that I wanted to toast the almonds so quickly did exactly that in a small frying pan over medium heat.
An easy dessert that tastes just as good as it looks!
Easy to eat too:
just pop one straight in your mouth and ENJOY!