Recipes for cooking with apricots during summer
1. Caramelized Apricots
A few seconds under the broiler results in luscious, juicy apricots- unbelievably good! Cut apricots in half and remove the pits, then place on a baking sheet, cut sides up. Sprinkle with sugar and ground cardamom, then place under the broiler for a couple of minutes, just until the tops are caramelized. Brush the cooked apricots with a jam glaze (heat apricot jam in a saucepan for a minute until liquified). Serve the warm and juicy apricots as a summer dessert with whipped cream or crème fraîche or enjoy the apricots for breakfast with Greek yogurt and toasted nuts.
2. Apricot Preserves
Rachel Saunders, author of The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook, writes, “Nothing quite matches the buttery flavor of a really perfect fresh apricot, and apricots make some of the most delectable preserves.” She includes a recipe forRoyal Blenheim Apricot Jam, which uses as little sugar as possible to allow the apricot’s extraordinarily sumptuous flavor to shine. The kernels are removed from a few of the apricot pits and tossed into the jam, infusing it with a hint of almond. She also shares recipes for Apricot-Rose Jam and Apricot-Orange Marmalade.
3. Apricot Tart
You’ve got a couple of choices when it comes to baking an apricot tart: bake the tart shell and fill it with pastry cream, topping it with fresh apricots; or bake the whole tart, which gives the apricots a whole different texture and flavor. Martha Stewart’s Everyday Apricot Tart is an example of the first option. The good thing about this tart is each component can be made separately and done a day before assembling, and the fresh fruit holds its shape beautifully, for a nice presentation. Later this week on la Domestique, I’ll be sharing a baked Apricot Frangipane Tart from the Tartine cookbook made by pouring an almond-cream filling into an unbaked tart shell, topping it with fresh apricots, and baking it until the filling sets. This baked tart is more filling with a greater depth of flavor, and holds up nicely in the fridge for three days. Next time you think of making a fruit tart, explore your options- there are so many interesting recipes out there.
4. Apricot Liqueur
If you’re into home infusions then apricot liqueur is one to try. A simple recipe for apricot liqueur can be found in Diana Henry’s book Plenty: Good, uncomplicated food for the sustainable kitchen. The method involves poaching apricots with sugar in white wine, removing it from the heat and adding amaretto and vodka. Allow the fruit to sit, submerged in the liquid for a week, then strain the liqueur into sterilized bottles. Leave the bottles sit a month before drinking. Serve the apricot liqueur chilled in a small glass as an after dinner drink, or mixed with sparkling wine for an apricot kir. The boozy apricots left over from the process are delicious spooned over vanilla bean ice cream.
5. Apricots in Salad
Fuzzy, juicy, musky-sweet apricots add interesting flavor and texture to summer salads. Toss raw apricot slices with purple lettuce, goat cheese, beets, and fresh mint dressed in balsamic vinegar. Try this salad of Grilled Apricot with Burrata, Country Ham, and Arugula. Other ingredients that go well in an apricot salad include hazelnuts, pistachios, mozzarella, basil, spinach, romaine lettuce, and berries.
6. Poached Apricots
Soft and juicy poached apricots chilled in syrupy nectar is one of summer’s finest pleasures. Martha Stewart’s Chilled Poached Apricots with Whipped Cream is an elegant, refreshing finish to an al fresco dinner. Floral white muscat wine is the base of the poaching liquid, and aromatic cardamom spice is sprinkled into the shipped cream. Experiment with different flavorings, like vanilla, ginger, lemon, or fennel. Poached apricots are also good served over pound cake, angel food cake, or crepes!
7. Summer Couscous with Chicken and Apricots
In his book, Ripe, Nigel Slater writes, “The apricot is one of the more successful additions to savory recipes. More versatile than the plum, the fig, or even the pear, its lack of sugar and faint back-note of acidity give a lot more scope for mixing with meat and game.” I wholeheartedly agree, and last year I shared this recipe for Summer Couscous with Chicken and Apricots on la Domestique, inspired by the Middle Eastern penchant for adding fresh apricot to tagines. Chicken thighs are stewed with cinnamon cap mushrooms, chickpeas, and aromatic Moroccan Tan Tan spice. Fresh apricots are tossed in at the end to warm through and release their juices into the flavorful broth. This dish is great for a crowd. Serve it family style over fluffy couscous on a large platter.
8. A Tagine of Lamb with Apricots
And now Nigel Slater’s recipe for A Tagine of Lamb with Apricots from his book, Ripe. He writes, “Of all the fruit and meat marriages, this is the one that appeals to me most.” That’s quite a statement! Based on a tagine he tasted in Morocco, this recipe involves tossing cubed lamb shoulder in a dry marinade of spices (cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, paprika), and leaving the flavors to infuse overnight. The lamb meat is then browned with onions and garlic and stewed in stock with raisins, honey, saffron, tomatoes, and apricots (apricots and tomatoes? Genius!). The stew is served with preserved lemon, mint, and cilantro. I know it’s hot out there this summer, but maybe the bold flavors and spices in this tagine will induce a cooling sweat while satisfying the appetite?
9. Nieve de Chabacano (Apricot Sorbet)
I’ve written of my love for Fany Gerson’s gorgeous cookbook before, the one full of meaningful stories collected on her journey through Mexico: My Sweet Mexico. In the book, this acclaimed pastry chef shares her favorite desserts and sweet baked goods from the region, and this time I’m inspired by her Nieve de Chabacano, which translates to Sorbet of Apricots. I love the words on sorbet, coming from a chef, “The fruit is always the main focus in sorbet, with no distractions.” She writes that tart and sweet apricots make an “extremely refreshing and silky nieve.” The recipe is simple: boil apricots for a few minutes, till tender, then puree with a pinch of salt and a tablespoon lemon juice and chill. Pour the chilled puree into the ice cream maker and you’re done. The beauty of apricot sorbet is in its luxurious texture and not too sweet, slightly tart flavor.
10. Apricot Clafoutis
I’ve got a thing for clafoutis, the ridiculously simple yet fantastic oven-baked pancake. All you’ve got to do is whisk together a batter and pour it over pieces of fruit, then pop it into the oven until puffy and golden. This sweet treat is best made with tart fruit- remember this Rhubarb Clafoutis? How about this Cherry Clafoutis? Well, now it’s time for apricot clafoutis. You don’t even need to peel the apricots! If you’re looking for a clafoutis recipe,this one from the cookbook, River Cottage Every Day is my favorite (just substitute apricots in for the rhubarb). Apricot Clafoutis is delicious for breakfast, afternoon tea, or dessert.