Helou Mishmosh - Candied Apricots with Pistachios

 1/2 pound pistachios, shelled, blanched, and peeled

 3 pounds dried apricots

 1 cup cold shira (Fragrant Aleppian Dessert Syrup, recipe below)

1. Using a steamer basket suspended over a pot of boiling water, steam the
apricots in batches for 4 to 5 minutes, tossing occasionally to ensure that
they are evenly softened.

2. While the apricots are hot, process a few of them at a time in a food
processor, pulsing several times, or until they are smooth. Repeat with the
remaining apricots.

3. Combine the cold shira and the apricot paste in a medium saucepan. Toss in
the pistachios. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low
and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the mixture forms a paste.

4. Line the bottom of a 15-1/2 x 10-1/2-inch rimmed baking sheet with
parchment paper. Pour the mixture into the tray. To dry the apricot paste,
leave the tray out, uncovered or lightly covered with foil, for 1 week.

5. Slide a sharp knife along the edges of the tray. Turn out the paste onto a flat
cutting surface and cut diagonally to make diamond shapes about 1-1/4
inches wide. These sweets last for 3 to 4 weeks in a candy dish covered with
aluminum foil (plastic wrap will make them soggy).

Yield: 3 pounds

Shira - Fragrant Aleppian Dessert Syrup

 3 cups sugar

 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

 1/2 teaspoon orange blossom water or rose water

1. Combine the sugar, lemon juice, orange blossom water, and 1 cup water in a
medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon
until the mixture boils. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, or
until the syrup slides slowly down the back of a spoon.

2. Allow the syrup to cool. Use immediately or pour into a glass jar and
refrigerate. It will keep for up to 2 months.

Note: All helou recipes use orange blossom water; rose water is used for other sweets.

Yield: 2 cups

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