APRICOTS are in season in warmer European countries at the moment. This make them more prevalent on shops shelves in Ireland.
Apparently the Latin name derives from the term ‘sunny place’.
They are not as juicy to eat as a peach but apricots bake really well holding their shape and their fragrant flavours, intensifying with baking.
I use dried apricots all year round but gravitate towards the plump fresh ones at this time of year.
They make the most delicious jam and chutneys. I often make a roasted apricot chutney with red onions and a little chilli. It goes great with cold meats and cheeses.
Today I have focused on three sweeter recipes. The cake uses dried and fresh apricots which gives it a delicious intense flavour.
The top of the cake may brown towards the end of baking; if you see this through the door in your oven feel free to cover it with foil for the last five minutes or so of baking.
When choosing dried apricots I tend to pick the dark brown, admittedly less appealing ones. These are made without the sulphur dioxide that allows some fruit to keep the orange colour.
The roasted apricots can just as easily be served with yoghurt and granola for dessert. I often add a few cardamom pods or a dash of rosewater.
120g of dried apricots
210ml of water
200g of ground almonds
50g of polenta
1 tsp of baking powder
1 tsp of ground cardamom
140g of golden caster sugar
The zest of 2 lemons and 2 tsp of juice
4 fresh apricots, halved and stones removed
Heat your oven to 180C and line an 8in springform tin with parchment.
Stir the apricots and water together in a heavy-based saucepan and bring to a boil over a low heat.
Allow to gently simmer for 10 minutes. Scoop the mixture into a liquidiser.
Add the almonds, polenta, baking powder, cardamom, sugar, eggs, lemon zest and juice and blitz in the liquidiser until completely combined.
Scoop the contents into the prepared tin. Smooth out the surface and dot the apricot halves on top.
Bake for 40 minutes until the cake is baked through. Allow to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes then place onto a wire rack to cool completely.
400g of apricots, halved and stones removed
2 tbsp of honey
400g of mascarpone
100ml of cream, whipped
2 tbsp of amaretto liqueur
100g of dark chocolate, grated
A handful of slivered almonds, toasted
Heat your oven to 200C.
Toss the apricot halves in the honey and place on a roasting tray or ovenproof dish.
Roast for about 15 minutes until soft. Set aside to cool.
Combine the whipped cream, amaretto and mascarpone.
Spoon the apricots and some of the mascarpone mix into bowls and top with the shavings of dark chocolate and the toasted almonds.
200g of soft butter
190g of golden caster sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp of vanilla extract
320g of plain flour
Half tsp of baking powder
50g of apricot jam
Heat your oven to 180C and line two flat baking trays with parchment.
Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and vanilla slowly until fully combined.
Sieve the baking powder into the flour and add these to your mixture.
Roll the cookie dough into walnut- sized balls between the palms of your hand.
Place them onto the prepared tray leaving a bit of space between each one. When they are all done make an indent in each one with your thumb and fill it with apricot jam.
Place the tray into the fridge for about 10 minutes, to allow the dough to firm up.
Bake for about 12 minutes. Once cool enough to handle place onto a wire rack.