The most common dessert in Turkey is fresh seasonal fruit. You must have been presented with a bowl of colourful fruit in a restaurant at some time or other, often courtesy of the house. Full of the taste of the sun under which it was allowed to ripen slowly. In Alanya spring starts early in the year and successively brings a supply of strawberries, cherries and apricots. Next comes summer with melons and peaches. Autumn is renowned for figs, plums, apples and pears, and the winter months for mandarins, oranges and bananas.
Apart from plain fruit, Turkish cuisine also has many tasty dishes that use processed fresh fruit, like Incir tatlιsι (a sweet using figs), Kabak tatlιsι (pumpkin dessert), Kayιsι Tatlιsι (sweet filled apricots) and Turk Muzu (Turkish bananas, said to be an aphrodisiac). Straightforward and healthy, then!
Apricots filled with cream & almonds (Kayιsι Tatlιsι)
250 g dried apricots (approx. 20 pieces)
Whole almonds, the same amount as the number of apricots to be filled
100 g very finely chopped walnuts and/or pistachios
100 g grated coconut
200 ml whipping cream
Let the apricots soften in a pan of water on low heat. This will take about half an hour, depending on how dry the fruit is to begin with. Rinse the softened apricots in cold water and allow them to drain. Then cut them open lengthwise down the middle. Whip the cream. Place an almond in each of the apricots, then fill with cream. The cream should overflow from the incision. Dip the apricots in the walnut and/or pistachio crumbs so that they stick to the cream. Sprinkle with coconut. Place the filled fruit in the refrigerator and serve chilled.
Orange yoghurt with pine nuts and basil (Portakalli yoğurt)
750 ml yoghurt
150 g pine nuts
1 sprig of basil
Juice of two oranges
2 tbsp honey
Toast the pine nuts in a frying pan, being careful not to let them burn! Slice the basil leaves into tiny pieces. Roughly chop the cooled pine nuts and mix them through the yoghurt, together with the basil, orange juice and honey. Serve straight away.
Sweet fig dessert (Incir Tatlιsι)
250 g dried figs
½ cup sugar
¼ cup walnuts as a garnish
Put the figs in a saucepan and add water until they are just covered. Put the lid on and boil the figs for 20 minutes on a medium heat until they are soft. Discard half of the water that remains. Add the sugar to the remaining liquid, stir a little and allow the figs to boil in the syrup for further 20 minutes, adding water if necessary. Allow the figs to drain and cool – don’t throw the syrup away. Remove the part of the figs where the stalk is and open the figs carefully by hand. Add a spoonful of cream to all the figs. Put them on a plate and pour over the remaining syrup from the pan. Sprinkle with the finely chopped walnuts.