The inspiration of the recipe is from a traditional Pakistani dessert with Hyderabadi roots. I have given it a Western twist with the addition of Cointreau soaked clementines and with a cheesecake like biscuit base - this dessert is topped with thick whipped vanilla cream and toasted almonds and pistachios and drizzled with orange blossom honey!
Best served chilled after a meal, with fresh mint tea
Variation: You could do an alcohol free version by soaking the clementines in a sugar syrup infused with saffron (saffron to be soaked in hot water for 15 minutes before being added to a basic sugar syrup, lessen the sugar in the apricot puree recipe) —Sumayya Usmani
The apricot puree and boozy clementines
2 1/2 - 3 cups
whole dried squeegy apricots
3/4 - 1/2 cups
1 1/2 teaspoons
small clementines, peeled and segmented as for a fruit salad
orange blossom honey
The biscuit base and topping
box of graham crackers (digestive biscuits), crushed into fine crumbs
thick double whipping cream
vanilla bean, seeds scraped and saved for use
orange blossom honey
of slivered pistachios and toasted almonds
Soak the apricots for 4-5 hours and then reserve the water. Soak the orange segments in the Cointreau for the same amount of time (refrigerate) Using the apricot water, boil in a saucepan and add apricots, cinnamon stick and star anise and bring up to the boil. Now add the sugar and honey and allow to dissolve completely. Taste and add more sugar/honey if required.
( Tip: There should be some sugar syrup left in the pan which you will need when making a puree, but mostly the apricots should be very soft and have absorbed most of the liquid.)
Once the apricots taste and smell 'cooked' and are very soft, take off the heat , dis-guard the cinnamon and anise and allow to cool slightly before pureeing in a food processor. Add the rose water and then cover and cool in fridge for a bit, until the puree is thickened.
Now in a bowl, mix the digestive biscuit crumbs with the butter and then pour into a deep glass serving dish and press down as you would for a cheesecake base then refrigerate for a about 20-30 minutes. While waiting, whip the double cream with the vanilla bean seeds, keep at hand.
To assemble, squeeze out the Cointreau from the clementines and arrange over the biscuit base. Next pour the apricot puree, followed by the whipped cream and then decorate with the slivered toasted almonds and pistachios. Drizzle with the fragrant honey and sprinkle with a dusting of ground cinnamon.
Chill for about 1/2 before eating, this is not as solid as a cheesecake but you can still pick all the contents up with the spoon right down to the biscuit base!
Enjoy this dessert chilled, with a cup of fresh mint tea.
Sumayya is a food writer and cookery teacher who grew up in Pakistan, but has now found home in Glasgow. Sumayya is passionate about sharing the flavours of her homeland with a view to highlight Pakistani cuisine as a distinct one. The author or two cookbooks: Summers Under The Tamarind Tree (Frances Lincoln) and Mountain Berries and Desert Spice (Frances Lincoln, out April 2017), her writing reminisces about food and memories growing up in Pakistan. She writes for many publications, appears on television, and co-presents BBC Kitchen Cafe weekly, on BBC Radio Scotland.