As it is one week into the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, we have chosen to mark the occasion by whipping up a drink using the apricot paste we bought at the M2M Mediterranean Market in Richmond. The apricot paste is made of apricots (surprise!), sugar, and olive oil, and is super thick: when I tried to cut it into strips, neither a knife nor scissors would work. Just commit to using the whole sheet, and share the drink with your friends!
Qamar al Deen in Two Steps
Step 1: Soak sheet of apricot paste overnight.
Step 2: Blend with water, sugar, and rosewater to taste.
So there. I made mine only slightly sweet, which seemed right to me. However, having never tasted the drink, I was unsure how sweet it should be. Solution: I brought a jar to my resident Lebanese friend and cultural guide, who declared the drink “perfect.” Success!
I have seen recipes for the drink where pine nuts are soaked and added, which seems to be quite common. I didn’t have any on hand unfortunately, but the drink was refreshing nonetheless. Be prepared for it to be slightly thick, almost like a “Naked” fruit juice (if you have ever tried that brand.) I was also tempted to add vodka to it, although that would not be very Ramadan-y. Use your best judgment, try the drink, share with friends, and support your local small businesses, especially if you are lucky enough to have a great Mediterranean place nearby! Ramadan Kareem!