Why This Recipe Works: Stuffed apricots are an iconic Turkish dessert. The authentic version calls for rehydrating dried apricots before candying them in a sugar syrup, filling them with a cream made from water buffalo milk, and topping them with pistachios. We found that by tweaking the sugar concentration of the syrup, we could simultaneously cook, candy, and rehydrate our apricots. This not only streamlined our recipe but also tempered any excessive sweetness. Bay leaves and cardamom pods steeped in our syrup con¬¬tributed aromatic depth to the fruit. Thick Greek yogurt made a perfect substitute for the hard-to-find water buffalo cream; we added a bit of rose water to the yogurt to enhance the floral qualities of the apricots. Chopped toasted pistachios made for a traditional finish, and their crunch contrasted beautifully with the rich yogurt and tender fruit. Rose water can be found in Middle Eastern markets as well as in the international food aisle of many supermarkets; if you cannot find it, simply omit it. Look for whole dried apricots that are roughly 1 1/2-inches in diameter.
1. Combine yogurt, 1 teaspoon sugar, rose water, lemon zest, and pinch salt in small bowl. Refrigerate filling until ready to use.
2. Bring water, cardamom pods, bay leaves, lemon juice, and remaining sugar to simmer in small saucepan over medium-low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar has dissolved, about 2 minutes. Stir in apricots, return to simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until plump and tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer apricots to plate and let cool to room temperature.
3. Discard cardamom pods and bay leaves. Bring syrup to boil over high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened and measures about 3 tablespoons, 4 to 6 minutes; let cool to room temperature.
4. Place pistachios in shallow dish. Place filling in small zipper-lock bag and snip off 1 corner to create 1/2-inch opening. Pipe filling evenly into opening of each apricot and dip exposed filling into pistachios; transfer to serving platter. Drizzle apricots with syrup and serve.