I first tasted these as a guest of one of the best cooks in Lebanon, Mrs. Mimi Arab, who told me she got the idea from her daughter, who is also the best gourmet cook I have ever had the privilege to meet there. Hers were stuffed with blue cheese and walnut, and I thought the idea was brilliant and so easy.
I used two types of cheeses (blue cheese and Mexican farmer’s cheese) and some Mexican crema to bind the mixture. However, you can switch to any cheeses, as long as it is not too hard or dry. Another combo that would work could be feta cheese with cream cheese or double crème, or Boursin and labneh. Anything works as long as it is spreadable (not too runny and not too thick). I did not use walnuts, but I may add them next time around. What is yummy is the sweet/salty combo of the apricots and the cheese. Nuts would add extra crunch but are not absolutely necessary.
Apricots with cheese stuffingJoumana Accad Mediterranean, Middle Eastern October 10, 2021 Eggs/Dairy/Cheese, Mezze/Appetizers, labneh, cream, appetizer, blue cheese, dried apricots, sweet and sour,
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
3 cups dried apricots
4 ounces blue cheese (can use feta cheese or Boursin)
4 ounces farmer's cheese (any fresh or crumbly mild cheese)
2 ounces mexican crema (can use labneh or cream cheese)
1 ounce of chopped pistachios or nuts to garnish (optional)
4 cups of water to boil apricots in (enough water to cover)
- Place the apricots in a saucepan, add the water and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently for 15 minutes or until the apricots are plump and soft. Cool and drain them. Reserve the water to drink with a juice or a smoothie.
- In the bowl of a mixer, food processor or in a blender, combine the cheeses of your choice and cream or labneh, tasting to adjust the quantity of each cheese to your liking.
- Gently open each apricot and stuff it with the cheese spread, using a small spoon.
- Transfer the apricots to a serving plate one at a time and sprinkle with the chopped nuts if desired. Cover and keep in the fridge (will keep overnight or longer).
Any leftover cheese spread can be enjoyed on toast or as a stuffing for meatballs or some burgers or even for a savory cheese-stuffed rolls.
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