Four to Six)
pitted Turkish apricots are best for this dessert, and you may find them
at a specialty store or a health food store. When cooked, the apricots
plump so you can see the seam where the pit was removed. This becomes the
pocket where you will place your cream stuffing. In Turkey, a thick, clotted
cream made from water buffalo's milk (kaymak) is the most common stuffing
ingredient. Italian mascarpone cheese, creme fraiche, or even cream cheese
may be substituted.
lb whole dried Turkish apricots or dried apricot halves
freshly squeezed lemon juice
kaymak or other cream substitute (if you are using cream cheese, soften
to room temperature and whip with beaters, adding a little water until
mixture is fluffy.)
cup shelled and finely chopped pistachio nuts
the apricots in a bowl, add water to cover and let stand overnight to plump.
a saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, honey and water. Bring to a
simmer, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Simmer about ten minutes until
the mixture thickens. Add the apricots and cook about 25 minutes, until
the fruits become tender. Stir in the lemon juice and simmer another minute.
a slotted spoon, place apricots on a baking sheet, a large plate, or a
clean countertop for working. Reserve apricot syrup in the pot, allowing
it to cool and thicken. If the syrup won't get thick, cook it a little
longer over medium heat until it is reduced.
you are using apricots other than Turkish, carefully cut each apricot along
the seam to create a little pocket. Be careful not to cut completely through.
A small, sharp knife works best. Then with a small spoon, stuff your cream
filling into each pocket. If you're using apricot halves, spoon the kaymak
or other cream onto the centers of half of them. Top with the remaining
the stuffed apricots on a festive, pottery serving platter. Spoon the thickened
syrup over the apricots, then refrigerate until the syrup is set, about
30 minutes to an hour. When you are ready to serve, sprinkle generously
with the pistachios. This dish is traditionally served at room temperature,
but may be served cold. Eat with your fingers for a sticky, sensual treat!