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Helou Hindi (Candied Coconut with Pistachios)

This is the Aleppian Jews' sweet of choice for Passover. Freshly grated coconut meat is best but somewhat labor intensive. (Break open a coconut with a hammer, drain out the liquid, and pry out the meat with a dinner knife. Peel off the thin, brown skin with a sharp knife. Grate the meat.) If you opt for store-bought coconut, be sure it is unsweetened. This recipe is adapted from Aromas of Aleppo.

Makes 2 quarts, or 10 to 12 servings

2 pounds fresh coconut meat shredded (2 to 3 coconuts) or store-bought unsweetened coarsely shredded coconut*

2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon orange blossom water**

1 cup pistachios, shelled and peeled***

In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients but pistachios. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring the mixture occasionally with a wooden spoon.

While the mixture is still hot, stir in the pistachios. Mix well and cool before serving.

*If using store-bought coconut, place in a mixing bowl and cover with cold water. Gently fluff the coconut with your hands and let stand for 1 hour to plump and moisten the flakes. Drain before using.

**Orange blossom water is available at Middle Eastern markets and some specialty stores.

***Shelled pistachios are available at some specialty stores.

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