Flower of Malatya

Flower of Malatya

Lisa Cohen and William Meppem

This is a bit of a play on one of my signature desserts, the Rose of Damascus. One of the wonderfully generous people we met on our Turkish travels was Emine Serin, a school teacher living in Malatya, the apricot capital of Turkey. This dish was created for her.

To form the pastry ‘petals’, you’ll need to find a teardrop-shaped pastry cutter, which are readily available from specialist food stores. They come in various sizes, and I like to use one about 12 cm long. You’ll also need a round pastry cutter that is about the same size as the ‘base’ of the tear drop.

Amardine sheets are essentially dried apricot paste and are available from Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food stores. Pekmez, or grape molasses, is available from Turkish food stores.


Quantity Ingredient
unsalted pistachios, shelled and slivered
8 dried apricots, cut into 1/2 cm dice and rolled in icing sugar
handful citrus blossoms, (optional)
pekmez, to garnish

Apricot ice-cream

Quantity Ingredient
400ml water
250ml sherry
4 cardamom pods, seeds only
500g amardine sheets
200g caster sugar
50g mild honey
8 free-range egg yolks
600ml thickened cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
100g Candied walnuts, crushed

Filo-pastry petals

Quantity Ingredient
10 sheets filo pastry
200g clarified unsalted butter, melted
100g icing sugar
100ml mild honey, warmed


  1. To make the ice-cream, combine half the water with the sherry and cardamom seeds in a heavy-based saucepan. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat. Add the amardine sheets and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until they dissolve into a thickish, smooth consistency. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  2. Gently heat the rest of the water with the sugar and the honey, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. When the syrup is clear, increase the heat and bring to a rolling boil.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks in an electric mixer until thick, pale and creamy. With the motor running, slowly pour the hot sugar syrup onto the egg yolks. Continue whisking for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture cools. You will see it bulk up dramatically into a soft, puffy mass. Fold in the cream and vanilla extract and chill the mixture in the refrigerator.
  4. Fold the amardine purée into the chilled ice-cream base, then pour into an ice-cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When nearly set, add the walnuts, mix well and pour into two 26 x 22 cm trays lined with plastic wrap. Transfer to the freezer until ready to assemble the dessert.
  5. To prepare the filo pastry petals, preheat the oven to 160ºC. Line and butter two baking sheets. Put a piece of filo on your work surface and brush it liberally with clarified butter and dust with icing sugar. Repeat with two more layers, drizzling half the warm honey instead of the icing sugar on the third filo sheet. Stack, brush and dust another layer, then repeat with a fifth and final layer, but do not dust with icing sugar. Repeat this process with the remaining five sheets of filo pastry. You should now have two stacks of filo pastry, each comprising five layers.
  6. Use a 12 cm teardrop-shaped pastry cutter to cut nine petals from each pastry stack – 18 in total. Carefully transfer the pastry petals to the prepared baking sheets and cover with baking paper. Put another tray on top to weigh down the flowers and keep them flat as they cook. Bake for 8–10 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
  7. When ready to assemble, remove the icecream from the freezer and turn out onto a chopping board, then peel away the plastic wrap. Use a pastry cutter to cut out 12 icecream rounds.
  8. To serve, place a pastry petal in the centre of each plate so that it points upwards, and top it with ice-cream, aligning the curved edges. Add another pastry petal so that it overlaps the first slightly but tends to the left. Add another ice-cream round and finish with another petal, tending further to the left. Serve sprinkled with the slivered pistachios, the apricot pieces and orange blossom and drizzle with a little pekmez.
Middle Eastern
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