Damascus is known for its apricots, which are preserved as dried fruits or as ammaredin, thick apricot paste dried in sheets, which must be soaked and diluted in water to make the khoshaf. Khoshaf is a thick, sweet cold soup made from these dried apricots and seasoned with all kinds of dried fruits, nuts, and seeds; it’s like 1001 Nights turned into a dessert!
- 1 sheet ammaredin (or 18 ounces [500 g] dried apricots)
- 1/3 cup (50 g) almonds
- 3 1/2 tablespoons (50 g) shelled pistachios
- 5 1/2 tablespoons (50 g) pine nuts
- 1/4 cup (50 g) sugar
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) orange blossom water
- 1 teaspoon rose water
- 4 1/2 tablespoons (50 g) prunes, chopped
- 1/3 cup (50 g) raisins
- Scant 1/2 cup (50 g) dried apricots, chopped
- Kamal Mouzawak
Cut the ammaredinn (or dried apricots) into small pieces and soak in 2 cups (475 ml) water for 10 hours. If all the pieces have not yet dissolved after that time (or if you are using dried apricots), whiz the mixture for a minute in a blender to obtain a smooth, lump-free apricot soup.
Soak the almonds, pistachios, and pine nuts in separate bowls of water to cover for 2 hours. Drain, and peel the skins from the almonds and the pistachios (rubbing them in a clean kitchen towel will help).
Add the nuts to the apricot soup, along with the sugar, orange blossom water, rose water, chopped prunes, raisins, and chopped apricots. Mix well, and chill until ready to serve. Serve cold.