Luscious, sweet-and-tart poached apricots are stuffed with rich and creamy ricotta cheese and sprinkled with chopped pistachios. This Turkish-style apricot dessert recipe is deliciously fragrant and so easy to make!

A close up of stuffed apricots topped with pistachios on a serving platter with a spoon.
Photo Credits: Kathrine Irwin

In Turkish culture, sweets are the centerpiece at religious festivals, weddings, and family celebrations. We have a variety of sweet treats–they can be milk, fruit or grain-based, or made with filo sheets; there’s something for everyone. 

I am especially partial to our fruit-based desserts. I would love you to try this easy and very delicious traditional dish known as Kuru Kayısı Tatlısı, a light, delicious and easy dessert for entertaining.

Pronounced “ku-ru kayu-suh tat-lu-suh,” this apricot dessert recipe is traditionally made with dried Turkish apricots poached in simple syrup. They’re typically stuffed with kaymak, a thick cream made from the milk of water buffalo. Since this is difficult to find outside of Turkey, I have substituted whole milk ricotta cheese, which is similarly creamy and decadent. 

You can serve these poached apricots after lunch or dinner or as part of a buffet, perhaps with Baklava, Turkish Delight, and Black Tea or coffee. 

Table of Contents
  1. Apricots: My Childhood Favorite
  2. What is in Turkish Poached Apricots?
  3. How to Make Turkish Poached Apricots
  4. Getting Ahead
  5. Ways to Mix it Up
  6. Leftovers and Storage
  7. Ricotta Dessert Recipes
  8. Mediterranean Diet Starter Kit
  9. Kuru Kayısı Tatlısı (Turkish Poached Apricots with Ricotta) Recipe

Apricots: My Childhood Favorite

My homeland, Türkiye (Turkey), is one of the largest producers of apricots, or kayısı as we call them. They are grown in abundance during the summer months, and some of the yearly harvest is dried in the sun to be enjoyed all year round. 

Malatya, a city in southeast Turkey, is particularly famous for the quality of its dried apricots, which are exported all over the world. When I was a child, we lived in Elazığ, a town next to Malatya. My father would bring home cases of juicy apricots after work. 

We would eagerly wait for his return and the apricots would soon disappear. This recipe reminds me of those days in Elazığ, as poaching dried apricots in light syrup brings out their beautiful and, for me nostalgic, fragrance.

Ingredients for turkish stuffed apricots including dried apricots, sugar, water, lemon, ricotta, and pistachios.

What is in Turkish Poached Apricots?

I’ve adapted the traditional recipe to use ingredients that are easy to find, so you can have a taste of Turkey no matter where you live. You’ll need:

  • Granulated sugar: We use regular white sugar in our syrups, but you can replace with light brown sugar if you prefer. 
  • Fresh lemon juice: Fresh lemon juice is another staple ingredient in our syrups; it adds a refreshing taste.
  • Dried apricots: We use dried fruits liberally in our desserts, especially dried apricots. They are packed with juicy flavor and fantastic for stuffing.
  • Whole milk ricotta: Creamy whole milk ricotta is a wonderful option for stuffing poached dried apricots, as in here; its mild flavor is fantastic, combined with fragrant, poached dried apricots, a healthy choice too. You could also use clotted cream or creme fraiche if that's easier for you to find.
  • Unsalted pistachios: Some of the world’s finest nuts are grown in my homeland. Pistachios are widely grown in Gaziantep, southeast Turkey, and regarded as “green emeralds” because they are packed full of flavor. They add a deliciously nutty garnish to this delightful poached apricot dessert. 
Six stuffed apricots stacked on top of each other on the serving platter with the rest of the stuffed apricots.

How to Make Turkish Poached Apricots

Kuru Kayısı Tatlısı is simple to make, you just need to give the apricots time to cool down so the stuffing doesn’t melt. To make this easy apricot dessert recipe: 

  • Make the syrup. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stir together ⅔ cup sugar and 2 scant cups hot water. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves. Once boiling, turn to medium-low heat to simmer.Syrup for the apricots in a saucepan.
  • Poach the apricots. Stir in 1 tablespoon lemon juice, followed by 9 ounces soft dried apricots. Poach for 20 minutes over a medium-low heat. The apricots will plump up and the syrup will slightly thicken, becoming infused with the apricots’ beautiful fragrance. Turn off the heat and set aside to cool completely.Dried apricots being poached in the syrup in a saucepan with a wooden spoon.
  • Stuff the apricots. Once cool, gently open the split of the apricot. Use small spoons to fill each with ricotta until full and just slightly over-stuffed.Dried apricots stuffed with ricotta on a baking sheet. Also on the baking sheet is a measuring cup with more ricotta and a spoon.
  • Finish and serve. Place the stuffed apricots on a large, deep serving platter. Spoon the syrup around the poached apricots. Sprinkle with crushed pistachios to finish. An overhead photo of stuffed apricots topped with pistachios on a serving platter with a spoon.

Getting Ahead

You can poach the dried apricots in syrup 1–2 days ahead. Once cool, keep in a container, covered, in your refrigerator.

Ways to Mix it Up

You can tweak this poached apricot recipe to suit your tastes and mood. Some ideas:

  • Make vegan: Instead of whole milk ricotta, you can stuff the poached dried apricots with ⅔ cup chopped walnuts or cashew cheese. 
  • Add a floral quality: We don’t tend to add any other flavorings to our syrups traditionally, though you may like to add a little (about ¼ teaspoon) rose water, perhaps, for a variety. To learn more about cooking with rose water, check out our guide: What Is Rose Water and How Do You Use It? 
  • Mix up the nuts: You can substitute swap the pistachios with any nut you prefer or use a combination of your favorite nuts.
  • Tweak the filling: Use mascarpone, kaymak, or clotted cream. Stir in a touch of lemon zest for a citrusy aroma.
An overhead close up photo of stuffed apricots topped with pistachios on a serving platter with a spoon.

Leftovers and Storage

The leftovers of this delightful apricot dessert are absolutely delicious for breakfast the next day too – an all-day scrumptious treat! Enjoy them for breakfast, on their own or as a topping to your cooked oatmeal. 

The poaching syrup is simple and light, consisting of granulated sugar and water, flavored with a little lemon juice. After poaching the apricots, you can serve the leftover syrup as a light drink with soda water, ice cubes, and fresh mint in small glasses.

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5 from 5 votes

Kuru Kayısı Tatlısı (Turkish Poached Apricots with Ricotta)

A picture of Ozlem Warren.Ozlem Warren
Stuffed apricots topped with pistachios on a serving platter with a spoon.
This is a light, delicious and easy dessert for entertaining. Türkiye is one of the largest producers of apricots, kayısı. They are grown in abundance during the summer months, and some of the yearly harvest is dried in the sun to be enjoyed all year round. Malatya, a city in the southeast is particularly famous for the quality of its dried apricots, which are exported all over the world. Poaching dried apricots in light syrup brings out their beautiful fragrance. Our thick cream, kaymak, made from the milk of water buffalo is traditionally used in Turkiye, though creamy whole milk ricotta as stuffing also works great, as in this version.
Prep – 10 minutes
Cook – 20 minutes
Total – 30 minutes
Cuisine:
Turkish
Serves – 12
Course:
Dessert

Ingredients
  

  • cup raw or granulated sugar
  • 2 scant cups (15oz) hot water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 9 ounces soft dried apricots
  • 4 ½ ounces (heaping ½ cup) whole milk ricotta
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped unsalted pistachios

Instructions
 

  • Make the syrup. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stir together the sugar and hot water. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves. Once boiling, turn to medium-low heat to simmer.
  • Poach the apricots. Stir in the lemon juice, followed by the dried apricots. Poach for 20 minutes over a medium-low heat. The apricots will plump up and the syrup will slightly thicken, becoming infused with the apricots’ beautiful fragrance. Turn off the heat and set aside to cool completely.
  • Stuff the apricots. Once cool, gently open the split of the apricot. Use small spoons to fill each with ricotta until full and just slightly over-stuffed, placing the stuffed apricots on a large, deep serving platter as you go.
  • Finish and serve. Spoon the syrup around the poached apricots. Sprinkle with crushed pistachios to finish.
  • To make vegan: Instead of whole milk ricotta, you can stuff the poached dried apricots with ⅔ cup chopped walnuts.
  • You can poach the dried apricots in syrup 1–2 days ahead. Once cool, keep in a container, covered, in your refrigerator.

Video

Notes

  • This recipe will serve a good crowd of 12 people with about 3 pieces per person.
  • You can serve the leftover syrup as a light drink with soda water, ice cubes and fresh mint in small glasses.
  • Visit our shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including olive oils, honey, jams, and spices.

Nutrition

Calories: 126.9kcalCarbohydrates: 25.5gProtein: 2.4gFat: 2.7gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.4gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 5.4mgSodium: 11.3mgPotassium: 284.2mgFiber: 1.8gSugar: 22.7gVitamin A: 820.1IUVitamin C: 0.8mgCalcium: 36.5mgIron: 0.7mg
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Ozlem Warren is a native of Turkey and author of, Ozlem’s Turkish Table: Recipes from My Homeland. She was born and raised in Turkey and lived in this magical land for 30 years. She is passionate about her homeland’s delicious and vibrant Turkish cuisine, Mediterranean flavours and has been teaching Turkish cooking in England, Turkey, the USA, and Jordan for over 15 years.
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Comments

  1. Lita says:

    Hello. I am currently making the Turkish Apricots and I read the recipe wrong. I used 1.33 cups of water instead of 4 scant cups of water (I doubled the recipe). The apricots have finished poaching so now how would I correct my mistake? Should I just add the additional hot water to the poached apricots? Please help! Thank you.

  2. Terri says:

    Have you made these with Fresh Apricots?

    1. TMD Team says:

      We have not, Terri. This one is traditionally done with dried apricots, so we've not tested it another way.

  3. Dawn says:

    Do you pour the syrup over the finished dish?

    1. TMD Team says:

      Yes! Enjoy!

  4. Diana P. says:

    5 stars
    Decadent! I made these with mascarpone (what I had on hand) and they turned out great. Easy to make and even better to enjoy!

    1. TMD Team says:

      So glad you enjoyed them, Diana!

  5. Suzanne says:

    5 stars
    These were delicious. I found they tasted better after they had been made and refrigerated for a few hours.
    Thanks

    1. TMD Team says:

      Thanks, Suzanne!

  6. Melissa says:

    Haven’t tried this…yet!
    Would feta work in these?
    PS. I LOVE your recipes!❤️

  7. debbie says:

    5 stars
    can't wait to make these - nummy! do you think it would work also with fresh instead of dried apricots?

  8. Margaret says:

    5 stars
    I love reading about your life in Egypt and learning about the foods from your homeland. Today I made the stuffed apricots to take to church. They were a hit and I will make them again. For the stuffing the apricots I used a icing decorator bag. This made the task of stuffing the apricots go by so quicky. Next time I will double the recipe. Also, I was wondering how it would taste if I added a small amount of honey to the syrup. Would this thicken the syrup just a little? Thanks again for the recipe.

    1. TMD Team says:

      Thanks so much for the sweet note, Margaret! So glad everyone enjoyed the apricots. It's hard to say about the honey, as we've never tried that before. It may be worth a little experimenting, although you may want to consider reducing the amount of sugar so that it doesn't become too sweet.