The traditional version of this Mediterranean dessert is often sweetened with sugarcane. We've used a combination of honey and granulated sugar to achieve the same end result. Cardamom pods can be found in your supermarket's spice section. Typically used in baking, the cranberry-size pods are filled with tiny seeds that have a spicy-sweet flavor.
3 cups water, divided
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons honey
32 dried apricot halves (about 5 1/2 ounces)
2 1/2 teaspoons grated orange rind
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
1 cardamom pod (optional)
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons chopped pitted dates
1/2 cup uncooked couscous
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
How to Make It
Combine 2 cups water, sugar, and honey in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Stir in apricots, rind, lemon juice, cinnamon, and cardamom, if desired. Reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes. Cool. Remove apricots with a slotted spoon; set aside. Strain syrup through a sieve into a large bowl; discard solids. Add orange juice and dates to syrup; cover and chill.
Bring 1 cup water to a boil in pan; gradually stir in couscous and salt. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Cool completely. Spoon 1/2 cup couscous into each of 4 bowls. Arrange 8 apricot halves over couscous; sprinkle with 1 1/2 teaspoons mint. Spoon 1/2 cup syrup over each serving.