Mum’s apricots with orange blossom and pistachios

Mum’s apricots with orange blossom and pistachios

Anjum's Indian Vegetarian Feast
Emma Lee

These vivacious little morsels are a perfect combination of sweet, tangy poached dried apricots, cold double cream and delicate pistachios. A deceptively delicious dessert, it is refreshing and satisfying and great as part of a dessert buffet or canapé party. This isn’t an Indian dish, but my mother has been making these my whole life and, as they are so easy and delicious, the recipe needed to be shared. Orange blossom is my addition to the dish; it adds another dimension and reflects the Indian love for floral essences but, if you don’t have any, just leave it out.


Quantity Ingredient
70g caster sugar
1 large pared strip unwaxed lemon zest
24 dried apricots
1/2-3/4 teaspoon orange blossom water, or to taste (optional)
150ml double cream
good handful pistachios, roughly chopped


  1. Bring 700 ml of water, the sugar and lemon zest to the boil in a saucepan, stirring all the time to help the sugar dissolve. Add the apricots and return to a simmer. Now cut a circle of greaseproof paper to fit the pan, dampen it under a tap, scrunch it up, then flatten it out and place it in the pan so it rests on the surface of the syrup (this circle of greaseproof paper is called a cartouche). Cook gently until soft but not mushy, 20–30 minutes, depending on how hard the apricots were (mine took 25 minutes). Once soft, remove with a slotted spoon and place on a plate. Leave to cool. Continue to simmer the syrup until it is slightly viscous. Add the orange blossom water, if using. Do not add too much at this stage; you can always add a little more later. Pour into a bowl, cover with cling film and set aside to cool. (You can do this a day in advance.) When completely cold, remove the lemon zest.
  2. Whip the double cream until it holds soft peaks. Create pockets in the apricots by splitting them through their middles, using their natural fold as a guide and making sure both sides are still well attached. Pipe or spoon a generous amount of cream on to the bottom layer, then fold over the top. You should have enough cream in the fruit so that it is well visible. Place on a serving platter, drizzle over the orange blossom syrup and sprinkle generously with the pistachios. Serve.
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