1/2 lb Whole dried Turkish apricots
or dried apricot halves
1 1/2 cup Sugar
2 cup Water
2 tsp Fresh lemon juice
1 cup Kaymak, mascarpone, or creme fraiche
1/2 cup Chopped unsalted pistachio nuts
* Place the apricots in a bowl, add water to cover, and let stand overnight. Drain.
* In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar and water. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Add the apricots and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and continue to simmer for 1 minute longer.
* Using a slotted spoon, transfer the apricots to a baking sheet or large plate, reserving the syrup in the pan. Let cool to thicken slightly. If the syrup isn't thick, reduce it a bit over medium heat.
* If using whole apricots, carefully cut each apricot along the seam with a small sharp knife to create a pocket. Using a small spoon or a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip, spoon or pipe the kaymak or other filling into each pocket.
* If using apricot halves, spoon the kaymak or other filling onto the centers of half of them. Top with the remaining apricot halves.
* Arrange the apricots side by side on a serving platter. Spoon the thickened syrup over the stuffed apricots and refrigerate until the syrup is set, about 30 minutes.
* To serve, bring the apricots to room temperature and sprinkle with the pistachios.
* This recipe yields 4 to 6 servings.
* Comments: Whole dried Turkish apricots work well in this dessert. When cooked, they plump up to reveal a seam where the pit was removed which becomes a pocket for the stuffing. In Turkey, a thick clotted cream made from water buffalo's milk and known as kaymak is the prized stuffing ingredient. Italian mascarpone or French Creme Fraiche may be substituted.