Indian weddings are known for its flamboyance - the colors, jewellery, dance, music and the richness of it all. Additionally another important aspect to Indian weddings is the food. A wedding down south is judged by the number of desserts it serves it’s guests. The food is spoken about months and in some rare cases years later even after the bride and bridegroom are long forgotten.
One of the famed desserts that used to served at a lot of the “upper” middle class Indian weddings was the shahi Qubani ka Meetha or the royal Apricot dessert. The authentic way to make this luscious and rich dessert involves using the kernel of the apricot and extracting the nut in it to add to the dessert. To be honest I never enjoyed the taste of the almost almond like nut. So in my version I skipped these altogether and went with almonds and cashew nuts instead.
Dried Apricots - 1 Cup soaked in 1 Cup water for about 5/6 hours. About 250 gms by weight when dry.
Jaggery - 250 gms (you can substitute the jaggery with sugar if you don’t like the taste of jaggery) (& if you prefer less sweetness, you can halve the quantity of sugar but just this once I wouldn’t advise you to)
Vanilla essence - 1/2 tsp (or any flavour you like - like say cardamom.)
Almond slivers - 1 tbsp roasted
Cashew nuts - 1 tbsp roasted
Saffron threads - 1 pinch (optional)
In a heavy bottomed sauce pan on low flame, cook the apricots with the water that you used to soak it in. For about 25 minutes cook covered till the apricots turn soft and mushy. I used a masher to mash up the apricots to get a uniform consistency.
Now add the jaggery/sugar(if using) and let cook till the jaggery melts for another 15 minutes. Increase the heat to medium high and continue to cook till all the water disappears and the mixture has a jam like consistency. Stir in the vanilla essence. The essence is basically to neutralize the strong apricot and jaggery flavors. Add the almonds and cashew nuts and turn off heat. Garnish with saffron threads if you like.
Recipe courtesy: Amma