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The Dried Apricot Battle

Fine Cooking Issue 92
Photos: Scott Phillips
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We’ve never had such a controversial ingredient in the test kitchen as the humble dried apricot. When we tested the Apricot & Pistachio Baklava with Orange-Cardamom Syrup, we made a batch with California apricots (the author’s preference) and another with the more common Turkish ones. Everyone loved the baklava overall, but on the subject of the apricots themselves, our tasters were starkly divided.

California Apricots
Turkish Apricots

Those who liked the California apricot version praised the pronounced tang and concentrated apricot flavor. Those who didn’t like the California apricots, though, really didn’t like them, saying that the flavor seemed “artificial.”

On the other hand, tasters who were turned off by the California apricots were big fans of the Turkish ones. With a subtler flavor and less acidity, the baklava was a bit more succulent, and the cardamom flavor more distinct.

It really comes down to your taste—if you prefer a more intense, tangy apricot flavor, seek out California apricots. We bought ours at Trader Joe’s, but they’re available online at Bulkfoods.com. If you want a milder flavor, or you want to spotlight the cardamom a bit more, use Turkish ones. They’re widely available at supermarkets.

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