Apricots are my favourite summer fruit, hands down. And right now – oh happiness – apricot season is in full swing, so we are taking full advantage of these golden days.
Just before Christmas I visited Beau Baddock of The Nashdale Fruit Company and The Agrestic Grocer (busy guy) as he picked a few trees on his Nashdale orchard, taking home a kilo or so for myself. Then our neighbours arrived at the back door yesterday with a big bucket of freshly picked apricots. So yes, we have been stonefruit spoiled and are loving it.
This past week, in and around Christmas cooking, entertaining and eating, we have made poached apricots, apricot jam, apricot curd, apricot tarts, apricot chicken and apricot ice cream (recipes all below).
Tim, I think, has almost reached his apricot threshold. Me? Never.
We like to jam in this house. Or I do at least. So first up in the apricot blitz was a few batches of apricot and vanilla jam (recipe here). I also made an apricot curd by following the below recipe
I based this recipe on Josie Chapman’s passionfruit curd posted earlier this year and was really happy with the results. As a curd-lover, it’s always nice to have a new number for the repertoire!
Zest of two lemons
225 gms unsalted butter
10 egg yolks
200 gms caster sugar
2/3 cup poached and pureed apricots (see recipe below for poached apricots)
Combine lemon zest and butter in heatproof bowl over simmering pot of water and stir until the butter melts.
until mixture coats the back of a spoon. Stir through the apricot puree, strain through a fine sieve and decant into sterilised jars. Makes about 3 cups.
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup white wine
This is my master recipe and it comes via Stephanie Alexander’s Cooks Companion.
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup white wine
1 cup water
1 tsp vanilla paste
1 kg apricots, halved, stones removed
Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the apricots, reduce heat to a low simmer and cover the fruit with a layer of baking paper. Poach for 5 minutes or until fruit is soft then remove from heat and keep in the fridge.
Apricot ice cream
This may well have been the best ice cream I’ve ever made (I think at least…) and this was because the apricots were so good and the duck eggs so very rich.
500mls thickened cream
500mls whole milk
1 tsp vanilla paste
6 tbsp caster sugar
7 duck or 8 chook eggs
2 cups poached apricots, pureed
Place the cream, milk and vanilla in a saucepan and bring just to boiling point. Set aside for half an hour to infuse. Meanwhile, whisk the yolks and caster sugar until pale and thickened. Whisk a little of the hot cream into the yolks then add the remaining hot cream mixture and whisk well. Return this to the saucepan and place over a gentle heat. Cook, stirring constantly for six minutes or until the mixture coats the back of your spoon. Remove from heat, pour into a jug and place in the fridge overnight.
To make the ice cream, pour custard in your ice cream machine, add the apricot puree and churn according to manufacturers’ instructions. Makes about 1 litre.
We served this ice cream last night with crumbled homemade lavender honeycomb, recipe on its way!
Apricot Frangipane tart
Inspired by the scucess of last year’s apricot frangipane tart but short on time, I made the below tart by thawing a roll of good quality puff pastry, rolling it out until a large rectangle then scoring a border around the edges. Then I just spread the pastry with frangipane mixture and topped with poached apricot halves and baked the tart for 30 minutes or until golden and cooked through.
It was delicious with the apricot ice cream, of course!