Sweet cous cous with apricots


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Feeds

    eight to ten

Appears in

Old Food

Old Food

By Jill Dupleix

Published 1998

  • About

Have a bowl of one of the oldest cereals in the world: dusky, cinnamon-spiced cous cous, served with warm, spiced milk and sweet apricots in syrup - or fresh ripe figs in season. This recipe uses packaged cous cous, and feeds eight to ten, so ask your friends around and serve it for brunch, or you’ll be living on it for a week.


  • 500 g (1 lb) dried apricots
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 500 g (1 lb) cous cous
  • 500 ml (18 fl oz) boiling water
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 50 g ( oz) unsalted butter, cut into small dice
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 50 g ( oz) sugar
  • 1 litre ( pints) milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, split
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp clear rose water syrup


Soak apricots in water to cover, overnight.

Drain water into a saucepan, add sugar and bring to the boil, stirring. Return apricots to syrup, cook for 10 minutes or until soft and luscious, and leave to cool.

Place cous cous grains in a big, wide bowl. Pour boiling water evenly over the top, then drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, cover bowl and leave to rest for 5 minutes. Work the butter through the cous cous with your hands, coating the grains well, until cous cous feels light and fluffy. Mix cinnamon and sugar and rub through cous cous just before serving.

Heat milk, vanilla bean and cinnamon stick to just below the boil. Remove from heat, add rose water, and strain into a jug. Place cous cous in cereal bowls, dusted with a little extra ground cinnamon.

Serve with a bowl of apricots and their syrup, and the jug of warm spiced milk.