These Turkish apricot balls (Kayısı Atomu) are so delicious, you won’t be able to stop yourself from taking just another one, and another one, and another one… The sweet and meltingly soft apricot paste, the crunchy and fragrant pistachio coating, the bold flavors that will stay in your mouth, it all makes for the perfect teatime treat!
When I was studying in Turkey I was always bringing back boxes of lokums to my family. I was never big on lokums (too chewy, too sweet, too floral) but there were always some other type of confections in the boxes and these apricot balls were my favorites! I started missing them and under the current circumstances, I don’t see myself going to Turkey anytime soon so I decided to recreate them.
APRICOT BLISS BALLS
Little did I know they were that easy to make at home. You only need 3 ingredients, a blender and it’s a no-bake dessert. Plus, without the addition of glucose syrup or additives, apricot balls are much healthier when homemade. You could throw ⅓ cup of chopped nuts, like hazelnuts and almonds, into the paste to make them even healthier. The kayısı atomu will be less soft and more akin to energy balls but they’ll taste great too!
Since there are so few ingredients in the recipe, try to take the best you can find. They will really take the apricot balls to another level. Because the recipe requires sundried soft apricots, you don’t need to wait for apricots to be in season to make it! You can make apricot balls all year long with sweet and melt-in-the-mouth dried apricots.
DARK AND SOFT SUNDRIED APRICOTS
For these apricot balls to be extra yummy you shouldn’t use completely dry and orange apricots. Look for darker brownish dried apricots that feel softer. Unsulfured apricots, directly dried under the sunlight, are perfect for this recipe! Their color range from light brown to dark brown and they are way sweeter than the dried sulfured orange-looking apricots. That’s why you don’t even need to add sugar to the apricot balls!
If you spot apricots from Malatya, go for them, you won’t be disappointed. Malatya, located in eastern Turkey, is the center of the Turkish apricot industry and the world’s leading apricot producer. The apricots are cultivated and sun-dried in family-run orchards following traditional methods. An Apricot Festival has even been held in Malatya every year since 1978! They really care about their apricots and they taste amazing!
SWEETEN TO TASTE
If you find the right type of apricots you probably won’t need the honey or golden syrup to ‘bind’ the paste together. Brown and soft dried apricots are very juicy and will be moist enough on their own to turn into a paste. Take a bite of one of the apricots, if it’s sweet enough for you, great! If not, add a tablespoon or so of caster sugar to the paste.
Apricot balls can be made in advance as they will keep for 10 days in the fridge and they would make a great gift too. You can easily double this recipe, but if you have a small mixer, process the apricots in batches. The prep time is so short already, there’s no good reason to overheat your mixer since doing it in batches only adds a couple of minutes to the recipe.
➝ Which pistachios to use? Turkish ones! (I’m kidding) Any type of shelled blanched pistachios will do. It doesn’t matter if they’re peeled or not but they should be unsalted. Unless maybe you’re into sweet-savory mixes but I didn’t try apricot balls with salted pistachios and I don’t think I will. Salt takes away from the sweet and nutty flavors of the pistachios. The greener, the better as a rich color is a token of quality.
Looking for other confections recipes? Here are some of my favorites:Print
With their sweet meltingly soft apricot paste and crunchy fragrant pistachio coating, apricot balls make for the perfect teatime treat! This recipe only requires a handful of ingredients and you don’t even need to wait for apricots to be in season to try these Turkish confections.
- 250g semi-dried apricots (still soft) (1 ⅓ cup)
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp honey or golden syrup (optional, only if needed)
- 1 tbsp caster sugar (optional, if your apricots aren’t sweet enough)
- 50g pistachios (⅓ cup), whole and unsalted
- Place the apricots and cinnamon in a food processor. Process until the apricots turn into a smooth paste, about 2 min, taking breaks to scrape the edges of the processor. If you use a small food processor like mine, do it in 2 batches.
- Make sure that the mixture can be pressed into balls by pressing the paste with a finger. If the paste ‘doesn’t come together’ add the honey or golden syrup and process again. If it’s still too dry add more honey, 1 tsp at a time, until you get the right texture.
- Put the paste on a plate and press it down with the back of a spoon or a spatula until it’s around 2cm (¾ in) thick. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 1h30 or until firmer.
- Remove the apricot paste from the freezer. With slightly wet hands, form balls out of it (1 tbsp of paste per ball), about 3 cm (1 ⅕ in) in diameter. You might need to wash your hands from time to time as they will get sticky.
- Place the apricot balls on a baking tray lined with oiled parchment paper and place the tray in the freezer for 1h30 or until the apricot balls are firmer.
- Roughly chop the pistachios and place them in a small plate. Roll each ball in pistachios, place in an airtight container and refrigerate.
The apricot balls will keep for up to 10 days in the fridge.
- Serving Size: 1 ball
- Calories: 167
- Fat: 4.5g
Keywords: turkish dessert, pistachio recipes, apricot bliss balls, dried apricots recipes