Friday, October 23, 2009

apricot couscous cake

I made a delicately sweet dessert this week that is another classic macrobiotic dish. Warning though: Ladies, do not tell your husband to "get ready for cake", as it sets up particular expectations that will not be met, (I don't know why he would expect anything different though, it's not like I'm whipping out triple chocolate rum cakes every night!).

Anyway, this is delicious in it's own right. It gives you and the little ones, the satisfaction of dessert without the sugar blues. Oh, if you haven't read sugar blues, it's a fabulous book by William Duffy. I make this cake for the week, and have a nibble now and then with a cup of tea, or after a meal. You will enjoy the aroma of cooking dried apricots. They remind me of caramel.

I've made this "cake" at least 10 times, and of course the time I'm writing about it, it's not my best. I needed to keep the couscous a little more moist to make it stick better. This is not hard to do, just gets increasingly harder when you have a 1 yr old whose hands are brimming with rocks from the patio and is climbing the stairs.

Macro food fact:

Kuzu is a white starch made from the root of the wild kuzu plant. It has been valued for two thousand years as an important food and medicine. Use it as a substitute for any recipe calling cornstarch. It is used as a thickener in making soups, sauces, gravies, desserts, and for medicinal purposes. In Chinese medicine, kudzu roots and flowers are used to relieve acute pain, stiff neck and shoulders, fever, colds and hangovers.

Here's the recipe from Changing Seasons by Aveline Kushi and Wendy Esko:

you will need:

for the cakey part:
2 c couscous
2 1/2 c apple juice
1/2 c raisins
pinch of sea salt

for the topping:
2 c dried apricots (un sulphured)
pinch of sea salt
2 c water
5 tablespoons kuzu diluted in water
1 lemon slice


Wash couscous and drain. Place apple juice, raisins and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce flame to medium low. Simmer about 10 minutes. Add couscous and cover and simmer 2-3 minutes. The heat in the pot causes couscous to cook thoroughly. Remove and place in a glass or ceramic dish, pressing couscous firmly down with a wooden spoon before adding topping.


Cook dried apricots down with 2 c of water and a pinch of sea salt. I put mine in the pressure cooker for 20 minutes. Stir, then put back on a low flame and add diluted kuzu. Stir constantly to prevent lumping. Simmer until apricot mixture becomes thick. Remove and cool slightly.

Spread the apricot mixture to cover couscous cake. Garnish with a lemon slice. Allow cake to sit for about an hour before slicing and serving.


  1. Katie, I still have this recipe for Apricot CousCous cake that you hand-printed for me many years ago. It was when you were living in Massachucetts and were here making Thanksgiving dinner at the Glendale house. Jay suggested you make a photocopy for me, but you made a point that you wanted to hand-write it for me. I've kept it all these years!! It is so precious and I think of that time when every I see that recipe. I've made it a few times and really liked it--and so healthy! Thank you!! I love your blog and love that you are providing delicious realistic healthy recipes(with sweet commmentary!). Sabra

  2. Sabra,

    wow! I don't remember that at all! I like that story!! Thanks for the compliments:)

    Love to you!


  3. Hi Katie,
    Your instruction says "Place apple juice, raisins and water in a pot and bring to a boil" but I did not see the measurement of water in the recipe. How much water to cook the couscous?