Helen Saberi has written one of the most popular Afghan cookbooks, Afghan Food and Cookery, which I discoved when I became interested in Afghan cooking. Helen married an Afghan man in 1972 and lived in Afghanistan for eight years until she had to leave due to the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. Helen, originally English, spent her eight years in Afghanistan learning about Afghan culture; food, people and the Dari language. I was really honoured when I received an email from Helen praising my blog. Naturally, I asked Helen if she would share one of her wonderful recipes with us. Below we get best of two worlds, an Afghan inspired trifle recipe. I think my European readers will finally enjoy a recipe with measurements in grams.
By Helen Saberi
The name of Afghanistan’s capital city would not normally conjure up thoughts or visions of trifles. However, this recipe was inspired by my husband Nasir Saberi who asked me to devise a trifle recipe with an eastern flavour for my Trifle book; and to name it after the city in which he was born and brought up. An alternative to the yoghurt topping could be firni.
Kabul Quince and Yoghurt Trifle
2 medium quinces
110 g sugar ( 4 oz.)
juice of ½ lemon
pinch of ground cardamom
18-24 amaretti biscuits
500 g Greek strained yoghurt (17 oz.)
¼ tsp saffron
1 tbsp. rose water
110 g caster sugar (4 oz.)
½ tsp ground cardamom
toasted flaked almonds
slivered or ground pistachio
crystallized rose petals
Peel, core and slice the quinces thinly. Put into a pan and add water; which should well cover the quinces. Bring to a boil, cover with a lid, turn down the heat and simmer until they are just soft. (You may have to add more water if it reduces too much.) Remove the quinces with a slotted spoon from the pan and set to one side.
Now add the sugar to the water in which the quinces were cooked and stir to dissolve. Add the lemon juice. Bring to a boil and cook for a couple of minutes until syrupy. Remove from the heat, add the cardamom and return the quinces to the pan. Leave to cool in the syrup.
Place the amaretti biscuits in the bottom of a glass bowl and cover with the quinces. Add just enough of the syrup to lightly soak the amoretti.
Now make the yoghurt cream. Dissolve the saffron in the rosewater and beat into the yoghurt. Mix in the sugar, more or less according to taste, and add the cardamom. Mix well. Spread the yoghurt cream evenly over the quinces and decorate with the almonds, pistachios and rose petals, according to your fancy.
Note: If quinces are not available, which is highly likely, pears softly poached can be substituted or even tinned pears can be used. Not quite the same but still good.
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