Amardeen Bars (Apricot bars)

October 9, 2010  • 

 

If you have grown up in the Middle East, then amardeen was most likely in your pantry; an apricot paste sold in large one-pound sheets, it has an intense, tangy and sweet apricot flavor. The apricots are from a region in Syria near Damascus.

Kids in the Middle-East eat it as a snack, a little piece every day.


Amardeen can be found either  in a one-pound  sheet or in a bottle and is sold in Middle-Eastern groceries; if unable to find, then apricot nectar will be a good substitute.

Amardeen is made into puddings or drinks. I wanted to make it into bars, because I love lemon bars and amardeen bars are just as tangybut with the added fragrance of apricots.

First Step: Make the amardeen curd

  • 1 1/2 cup of amardeen syrup + 1/2 cup of water
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 ounces of unsalted butter (100 g)
  • 1/2 cup  of cornstarch
  • 3 Tablespoons of sugar (or more, to taste)

METHOD:

  • Melt the stick of butter; add the eggs, the sugar and the amardeen syrup (reserve the water for later)
  • Stir the mixture continuously; it will steam and get a bit thicker.
  • Add the cornstarch diluted in the water and stir continuously.
  • Strain the mixture through a sieve into a bowl. Cool and refrigerate, covered with a sheet of plastic wrap.

Second Step: Make the cookie base

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1/2 cup of powdered sugar
  • 4 ounces of cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted (100 g)
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon of mahlab
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder

METHOD:

  1. Place the flour, powdered sugar, mahlab, and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients for 30 seconds. Add through the feed tube all the other ingredients: Melted butter, oil, egg, cream cheese.
  3. Process for one minute or so, until the mixture becomes lumpy; remove from the bowl, gather into a ball and wrap in plastic or foil and refrigerate for 30 minutes or longer.
  4. Roll out between 2 sheets of baking paper to a thickness of 3 mm or 1/4 inch. Place in a pan lined with parchment or baking paper. Bake for 30 minutes at 375F; if it browns too fast, cover and bake at 325F for a few more minutes until the pastry is baked thoroughly and crisp.
  5. Cool. Spread the amardeen curd evenly on the pie. Top with ground pistachios if desired. Keep refrigerated.

NOTE: Substitute apricot nectar, with a few teaspoons of fresh lemon juice (to taste). Boil the nectar down a few minutes in the microwave to concentrate its taste (it will reduce its volume, so plan accordingly).


Comments

49 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Rosa says:

    What gorgeous bars! So delicious looking. I love mahlab.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  2. A Canadian Foodie says:

    We have this product in Superstore and I have always wondered how it was used. Thanks for the recipe. Apricot curd sounds very appealing.
    YUM.
    🙂
    Valerie

  3. Conor @ HoldtheBeef says:

    That glossy sheen is like a little beacon to this delight 🙂

  4. Sushma Mallya says:

    wow You have done it so beautifully..cant take off my eyes from it…

  5. Jamie says:

    Mmmm I love the sweet and tangy combination and I am just trying to imagine it with an apricot twist. Beautiful bars.

  6. Noha Baz says:

    DELICIOUS!!!
    i tested them yesterday!!!
    great pictures as always Bravo Joumana!!

  7. Heavenly Housewife says:

    What a stunning desert. I wish I could taste it.
    *kisses* HH

  8. Joanne says:

    I’ve never had or heard of Abardeen before but maybe I could find it in my local Indian/middle eastern shop! These bars sound fantastic!

  9. Spoon and Chopsticks says:

    Looks fabulous! Lot of new recipes for me to learn on your blog.

  10. Sarah @ Mum In Bloom says:

    Oh this looks like a wonderful recipe! I made apricot bars earlier this year with oats and dried apricots & it was dry and blah so I never posted it. Your recipe is certainly worth a try though!

  11. Cherine says:

    Those bars must taste sooo good!

  12. Vanessa says:

    I haven’t been here for so long and how much I’ve missed! We have lots of Middle Eastern bakeries here so quite likely I’ll be able to find Abardeen. In any case, a wonderful recipe and stunning pictures.

  13. pierre says:

    ohlalala j’ai l’impression que Beyrouth m’appelle quand je vois ta recette !Pierre

  14. SYLVIA says:

    This is a Lebanese apricot bar soiree in across Atlantic. I am speechless Joumana, this is too delicious to resist, next time my dessert table will be in mood of a crowed pleaser, I will definitely try these delectable creations.

  15. Faith (An Edible Mos says:

    Apricot curd sounds wonderful Joumana! I’ve always wondered what uses there were for amardeen other than jam…very interesting!

  16. Katerina says:

    You see that’s one thing I love about Middle East; your sweets. You make beautiful sweets like this one. All these flavors and aromas are just irresistible.

  17. Tall Clover says:

    I can see I need to plan a trip to some of Seattle’s Middle Eastern Markets this week! Thanks for another great recipe!

  18. Hélène (Cannes) says:

    Je vais aller demander à mon traiteur libanais … Ça a l’air super-bon !
    Bisous
    Hélène

  19. joudie kalla says:

    Simply gorgeous! I wish i was with you in Beirut!

  20. elra says:

    Very intriguing recipe. I might have to look harder for this amardeen in the Middle Eastern store.

  21. Ivy says:

    I can only imagine how wonderful this must taste. I’ve never seen amardeen before, so I will see if I can find it here in a shop selling Middle East products.

  22. Astra Libris says:

    So enticing and romantic! I love the idea of an apricot curd… The color is stunningly gorgeous!

  23. Amanda says:

    These bars sound delicious, Joumana – although I will have to reduce some apricot nectar to make them. I have never seen or heard of Armadeen syrup here. I am currently rejoicing in my discovery of date syrup which was new to me! I’m loving it and keen for any extra ideas for it in food!

  24. Susan says:

    I know it would love this if I could find the ingredients! Middle Eastern apricots are so wonderful.Perhaps a substitute would work here?

    • Joumana says:

      Susan, apricot nectar as I mentioned, reduced a bit in the microwave (10 minutes) and to which a few teaspoons of fresh lemon juice could be added; also a bit of sugar, to taste.

  25. MaryMoh says:

    Beautiful bars. Love the colour. The filling looks irresistible. Thanks very much for sharing.

  26. Sanjeeta kk says:

    Very new and healthy bars for kids. Must try it soon.

  27. Barbara says:

    I’m crazy about apricots, Joumana. I love the idea of making a curd with a puree. I can think of several ways to use that curd…it would be wonderful with panna cotta, don’t you agree? But in the meantime, I’ll copy this bar recipe. Really unusual!

  28. 5 Star Foodie says:

    I’ll be on a look out for this product! The bars look so scrumptious!

  29. Katie @Cozydelicious says:

    These bars look amazing! My Mom used to bring back this apricot paste from busines trips – my brother and I thought it was the most amazing, sweet exoitic treat! I can;t wait to make it into bars.

  30. Dimah says:

    Beautiful bars! These look totally scrumptious.

  31. peter says:

    I must find this apricot paste…very curious to taste it and work with it. Off to the Middle-Eastern store again.

  32. Mathai says:

    I don’t know if we get it in our supermarket, I’ve seen frozen blocks of yellow fruit pulp in the foods section though. Would that be a good substitute for apricot?

    • Joumana says:

      Mathai: I am not sure what these fruit pulps are, it sounds like mango pulp. If you like it, then it is a good substitute! It just needs to be like a thick syrup; you can dilute it a bit by adding some water if it is too thick.

  33. Arlette says:

    Marhaba Joumana
    what a nice bars she bishahi…I hope you are doing fine , enjoying the nice weather in Lebanon.
    thanks for your email… I am fine, had a rough summer, glad its over.
    I am leaving to Toronto end of this week, I am trying to go back to school for a baking and pastry program for professionals.
    I also emailed Kamal and told him I will be interested to join the Market next Summer. I am ready to go back home.
    I will write in details later….

  34. Oui, Chef says:

    Lemon bars are among my favorite sweets, and these sound even BETTER! I’ll have to look for amardeen the next time I’m visiting a middle eastern grocery, these are a must try! – S

  35. Robyn Kalajian says:

    Fantastic recipes, Joumana! Keep up the good work!
    I just received a link for a YouTube video featuring an Armenian restaurant in Beirut called Mayrig (meaning “little mother”). Have you ever heard of it?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0fkpl_1F1w. I’d love to know if you’ve ever been there, and perhaps an account of how it is. I’d like to do a little story about it on my blog, so if you know anything about their food, that would be great. Hope to hear from you soon. Thanks! Robyn

  36. Robyn Kalajian says:

    That’s terrific! May I link to your story when I write mine? It would be great to have a first-hand review. Thanks!

  37. Janet says:

    These look delicious. Such great photos. I can’t wait to try them! I grew up with my Armenian grandmother’s apricot jam and candy so I have a favoritism towards anything with apricots.

  38. Joanne T says:

    G’day! Can you please help? Had a friend find MAHLEPI and some HECHAM COFFEE AND NUT..the brand is Durra says Apricot, sugar, glucose, E220 re ingredients…is about 1/4 inch thick sheet 8 or 9 inches long….Can I use this and how would I figure out how much to use and how to dissolve re the amount of syrup for this recipe? Thank you! Hoping you can help as I REALLY would like to make this, TRUE!

    • Joumana says:

      Joanne
      Sounds like you got the amardeen sheets; very simply, you first figure out how much you have, weight. 500 g? 250 g? OK, so just place the sheet, cut in large pieces in a bowl and cover with water; let it sit overnight. The next day, the amardeen will get softer; place the entire content of the bowl in a blender and whirl until the mixture is smooth; if you still have chunks left, don’t worry, they will dissolve over heat; place the liquid mixture in a saucepan over medium heat and add sugar to it, stirring to dissolve. How much sugar? it will depend on how much amardeen you start out with; at least 1/2 cup and up to one cup; taste it, keeping in mind that it will taste less sweet once you make it into a curd. Simmer it gently for 10 minutes or longer until the liquid is thick and syrupy. This is the same as buying the amardeen syrup in a bottle; then you can proceed with the recipe.
      Here is a recipe for amardeen pudding:
      http://www.tasteofbeirut.com/2009/05/amardeen-pudding-apricot/

  39. Joanne T Ferguson says:

    G’day and BIG thanks for your reply! I am EXCITED to report the paste is covered with water 🙂
    Fingers crossed and thank you for inspiring me to make something out of my comfort zone 🙂 Is also a good challenge to try something/an ingredient one has never used before!
    Will let you know how it comes out! 🙂
    Hope you have a great day!
    Am glad I found your blog is what I can say! 🙂

  40. Joanne T Ferguson says:

    G’day I am EXTREMELY excited to report, I made them and seriously they are DELICIOUSLY great, TRUE! Am THAT excited, will be making a second batch today for a friend too! OK, taking into account I am not a baker, was an EXCELLENT first attempt for me! Who LOVED them? But dear hubby! The apricot curd is beyond describing by a word, TRUE! Never had curd other than lemon too! The pastry was moist and beautiful as for a pastry it should be! Two thumbs up, this recipe gets from me!
    I did have a question, perhaps you can help, TRUE! The curd was creamy, spreadable, but seeing I did not bring the sides of the pastry up and around it, decided to cut it as round too! Was ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong, but thought the curd would be more set…
    Followed the recipe to a tee….didn’t need more sugar, but am thinking maybe the difference in cornstarch….maybe increasing it a tad would be my bet?
    Thank you! Thank you! For inspiring me to do!
    As I have not attemped to make anything like your wonderfully delectable bars too!

    • Joumana says:

      @Joanne: With cornstarch, it is always possible to increase the dosage at the last minute,; start by 1/2 tablespoon or one tablespoon diluted in water and mix in stirring constantly until it thickens to your liking. Glad you liked the taste!

  41. Joanne T Ferguson says:

    [img]http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4089/5190776839_8ea1da7146.jpg[/img]

  42. Joanne T Ferguson says:

    G’day As a result of your inspiration, made another one today in a pie plate and yes the consistency was even better than the previous one too!
    Thank you!!!!

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