After our little trip to Istanbul a few years ago, my already well-established love for Turkish food went into overdrive. I collected cookbooks, sought out restaurants, and even found a Turkish grocery store near my old office. I’ve dabbled here and there with a few dishes, but I had never attempted to make a dessert.
Then the other day, I was going through some cookbooks and came across a copy of The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook, by Nancy Harmon Jenkins. After ooh-ing and ahh-ing over several recipes, I ended up in the dessert section and found a recipe for Turkish Apricots Stuffed with Sweet, Thick Yogurt. It looked simple and easy, which is good, because I tend to get intimidated by dessert recipes. Since this month’s theme for the Stonyfield Clean Plate Club was incorporating their Petite Crème into a dessert, I knew this recipe was perfect for that.
I tweaked the original recipe by substituting orange juice for the dessert wine, using Stonyfield Vive La Vanilla Petite Creme for the sweetened labneh/yogurt, adding some ground cinnamon and skipping the syrup at the end.
Can I just say how cute these are? When stuffing the apricots with the creamy filling, Jenkins says that they “should look like an old-fashioned whoopee pie, with the yogurt oozing out.” And they totally do! These soft and creamy apricot bites are full of Middle Eastern flavor with the yogurt, cinnamon, and pistachio complementing the natural sweetness of the apricots. They look and taste indulgent but are full of healthy ingredients, so eat away!
*Disclosure: Stonyfield Organic provided me with samples of Petite Crème as part of their Clean Plate Club. I did not receive any compensation.
Turkish Apricots Stuffed with Sweet, Thick Yogurt
adapted from The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook, by Nancy Harmon Jenkins
12 oz. dried Turkish apricots
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp. orange juice
5.3 oz Vive La Vanilla Petite Crème or vanilla-flavored Greek yogurt
2 tbsp. finely chopped pistachios
1. Place apricots in a saucepan and cover with enough water to come to one inch. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 10-15 minutes, until the apricots have plumped up and softened.
2. Take out the apricots and set aside. Keep 3/4 cup of the cooking water and discard the rest. Add the sugar and orange juice, cooking until the sugar is dissolved. Add the apricots back and cook for about 20 minutes. Remove apricots and let cool. Save the syrup if using (I didn’t).
3. Once the apricots have cooled, open them and place a spoonful of the Petite Crème/Greek yogurt inside. The apricots won’t close up completely, and they do look like little whoopie pies, just like Jenkins says in her book. I mixed a little bit of ground cinnamon into my Petite Crème but you don’t have to.
4. After the apricots have been stuffed, place in the freezer for a few minutes to firm up the Petite Crème a bit. Then sprinkle some ground cinnamon, the syrup if you’re using it, and garnish with the chopped pistachios.