Amardine: The Original Fruit Leather

This Middle Eastern treat is a childhood favorite and an essential for special occasions. It’s chewy, sticky, and tough as leather, with an intense apricot flavor and aroma that are unmatched.

What is Amardine?

Also known as amardeen, amardine is a dried paste made of apricots and sugar. It originated in Syria and is enjoyed throughout the Middle East. Amardine can be eaten on its own as a snack or used as an ingredient in drinks and desserts.

What Does Amardine Taste Like?

Amardine is sugary sweet and tart with the rich flavor of apricots. It’s sticky and chewy, with each bite filling your palate with the heady perfume of the sweet and tangy fruit.

apricot paste
Image Credit: Flickr user Joe Mabel ( CC BY-SA 3.0 )

How is Amrdine Made?

To make amardine, apricots are boiled with sugar until soft, then strained through an olive oil-soaked wooden strainer. Typically, it’s made exclusively with apricots from around the Damascus region as these have the richest apricot flavor. The apricot and sugar mixture is dried in the sun, then sliced into large sheets, packaged, and sold.

What to do with Amardine

Besides snacking on this fruity treat alone, amardine can be incorporated in drinks and desserts to impart sweetness and an intense apricot flavor.

Qamar al-Din, one of the most popular uses for amardine, is an essential drink during Ramadan. It’s a chilled beverage made from pieces of amardine dissolved in rosewater or orange blossom water, sometimes garnished with pine nuts or slivered almonds. Amardine pudding is made with the same ingredients, with the addition of cornstarch or cornflour for thickening, and is layered with muhallabia, a light milk pudding.

Because amardine is made with high-quality apricots, it’s a great swap for regular and dried apricots when you want a more pronounced flavor. Use chunks of amardine in place of dried apricots in these apricot and hazelnut breakfast bars or in a classic fruitcake. Soaked and pureed amardine also works in a pinch as a substitute for apricot puree. Try using it this way for our curried chicken salad, making sure to adjust the amount as amardine has a very concentrated apricot flavor.

Feature Image: Flickr user Joe Mabel ( CC BY-SA 3.0 )

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