I do have a soft spot for Oriental desserts, though not for their sweetness. However I could bathe in cinnamon, cardamon, vanilla and rose water. If you then hand me a jar of tahini, ground pistachios or findik ezmisi (Turkish hazelnut butter), I believe you can create some of the best and most flavourful desserts in the world (sorry Italy and France). Just try a spoon of this creamy rosewater rice porridge topped with spiced and sweetened apricots and you know what I’m talking about. It transports you to a different place where the sun is shining, Turkish coffee is served and you get lost in the hustle and bustle of the spice and fruit bazaars.
I haven’t always been in love with oriental flavours as they felt too intense at times. However the right dosage is key and freshness as well. You don’t want to add too much rosewater as this makes the food taste like soap rather than the delicate flower taste. Oriental desserts are usually quite sweet but that’s something I’m not very fond of. Often times the strong sweetness covers up the flavours of all the other ingredients. For me, I like adding sweetness to my desserts or breakfast bowls by putting in ripe and seasonal fruits. At the moment, the markets in Istanbul are overflowing with juicy peaches, nectarines and apricots. It’s by far my favorite time of the year. If you happen to have some leftovers from your roasted apricots, you might want to try my Roasted Peach Apricot Smoothie recipe.
Oriental Rice Porridge with Roasted Apricots
- 1 cup / 100 g rice flakes (rice porridge)
- 2 cup / 500 ml water
- 2 tbsp coconut cream
- pinch of salt
- 1/8 tsp rose water
- 4 apricots
- 1 tbsp maple syrup or honey
- 1 tbsp warm water
- 1/2 tsp cardamon
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tbsp ground pistachios
- Preheat over to 180 °C / 356 °F.
- Cut apricots in half, arrange on parchment lined baking sheet, cut side facing up.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine syrup, cinnamon and cardamon first and stir well. If the mixture is too hard to brush on apricots, add warm water starting with 1 teaspoon and not more than 1 table spoon. Mix well.
- Brush mixture generously on all sides of the apricot. You want the apricot halves covered with the sweet spice mixture for maximum flavour.
- Roast apricots until completely soft (about 10-15 min).
- In a medium sauce pan bring water to boil, add a pinch of salt and rice flakes. Cook over medium heat for 5 min. Take off the heat, set aside and let rest for 10 min.
- Add rose water and coconut cream and mix until well combined.
- Divide rice porridge between two bowls, add 4 halves of apricots to each bowl, top with ground pistachio and the remaining syrup mixture if you like and have some leftover.