I dream of these little babies. Have done since the first time I had them in a Turkish restaurant in Stoke Newington years ago. So far back in fact, that restaurant isn’t there anymore.
These dreamy, delicate iconic Turkish morsels, Kaymaklı kayısı tatlısı in their mother tongue, hail from Cappadocia. Where fairy chimneys dominate the landscape and underground cities rule beneath. I’ve not made that up.
It’s taken many years to get round to making them ourselves and now we have we can’t stop.
Something special for the long weekend….
1hr | makes 24 | easy
24 dried apricots, plus a few more for just in case
50g caster sugar
2 green cardamom pods, cracked
2 bay leaves
1 lime, zest and juice
100g kaymak (thick Turkish cream) or; mascarpone, clotted cream, strained greek yoghurt/labneh*
½ tsp rosewater
50g pistachios, toasted and finely chopped
small mint leaves and honey to serve
* While kaymak is the original filling, we found it slightly too runny for the task at hand – we’re obviously doing something wrong! The list of dairy above are the ingredients we’ve come across during our on/off years of researching this dish, used by themselves in each recipe. We use a mix of kaymak and mascarpone until we have the right balance of authentic taste from the kaymak and thickness from the mascarpone. The ideal consistency is that of clotted cream, though I personally wouldn’t use clotted cream – much as I love it – it would be too rich here and lacking the distinct, ever so slightly tangy flavour of kaymak. But if you couldn’t get hold of kaymak, it would do ya just fine!
Heat the water, sugar, lime juice, bay and cardamom in a small pan until the sugar dissolves, about 2mins. Select the best apricots from the bag and stir them into the mix. Bring to a gentle boil and simmer gently on a low heat for 25-30mins until the apricots are plump and soft.
Gently remove the apricots from the pan with a slotted spoon and onto a plate to cool to room temperature.
While the apricots are cooking, combine the kaymak, rosewater and half the lime zest together in a small bowl with a tiny pinch of salt. Taste this, and add a little icing sugar if you like it sweet. Chill until needed.
Carefully prize each apricot apart along the seem the stone came out of, most separate very easily but you may come across one or two with a tear or weak structure, which is why it’s dandy to have a few extra apricots.
Fill the apricots with the cream using a teaspoon and roll each one in the pistachios.
When you are ready to serve them, drizzle with a little honey and garnish with the rest of the zest and mint leaves.
OMG you’re gunna love these!
I swear the first time I tried these they were delicately flavoured jasmine but I’ve yet to see a recipe that suggests it. Either way, we’d go so far as to call these a delicacy.
We’ve referred to a few recipes down the line to arrive at this method, which is an amalgamation of them all.
The Splendid Table – go to for method adaption for speedier results
Sweet Fairy Food – go here for the proof of fairy chimneys, it’s a really lovely read and authentic recipe
Seasonal Cook in Turkey – one of the most authentic recipe I have come across, without translating from Turkish – which I can’t do!