How could I pass up the big grab bag of apricots when it costs almost the same as the little pints? The juicy fruits hidden away in the bag may be a little bit smaller or maybe a little bit blemished, but they still came from the same tree, picked the same day and are still honey-sweet. And, I get to make so much more. I just couldn’t pass them up… could you?
My initial plan for these gems was to make mini versions of the Apricot Slice recipe from bills open kitchen with my new little bakers from Crate & Barrel (if you haven’t seen, they are having a fantastic sale).
This is a recipe I’ve been wanting to make for months… the little apricots looking up like little caramelized suns caught in a moist crumb cake. I can almost taste the near-peach flavor coming through in the photo. And, now I had plenty of apricots to make it. In fact, I had too many. After making 4 mini cakes, I had many more apricots left over! Another recipe was needed.
And, since it was lunchtime, I decided an apricot salad was in order. With a few quick slices and a bit of a whir of the food processor, I had fresh salad greens and apricot slices topped with a thick red currant vinaigrette.
But still, I had more apricots. With the oven on (cooking the mini-cakes) along with all the kitchen activity, the thought of adding more heat was not a pleasant one. Instead, I decided to go cool… and whip up an icy apricot and golden raspberry smoothy… think a creamsicle mixed with a peach.
Finally, and not just a little sadly, I am at the end of my apricot bag… looks like another trip to the market is in order.
Apricot Mini Cakes
adapted from bills open kitchen Apricot Slice recipe
Makes 4 to 5 mini cakes
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of salt
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
5 oz butter, softened
5 apricots, pitted and halved;
cane sugar for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 325F. Butter the sides of 4 or 5 small tart bakers.
Coat the freshly pitted apricot halves with lemon juice (it will keep them from browning in the air).
Sift the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder together into a medium bowl. Make a well in the center, and set the bowl aside.
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, milk, vanilla and butter until smooth and creamy. Pour the mixture into the well in the flour mixture, and beat for about 2 minutes.
Fill each tart mold to just less than 3/4 full. Then, gently press the apricots, cut side up, into the batter, about two or three per pan leaving a bit of space between them.
Place the tart pans on a baking sheet lined with parchment (to catch any spilled juice), and bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle each apricot with a bit of sugar, and then bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool for a few minutes, and remove from the form. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired before serving.
Blend together balsamic, olive oil, red currents, a dash of dried mustard, and salt and pepper in a food processor. Gently mix the dressing into dried greens with your fingers, adding about a tablespoon at a time until each leaf is lightly coated. Then layer the dressed greens with thin slices of apricots on individual plates. Sprinkle on a touch more dressing, and a touch of black pepper.
3 to 4 apricots, pitted
1/2 pint of golden raspberries
1 t vanilla
1 T honey
1/2 cup juice (orange or pineapple)
1/2 cup milk
Throw all the ingredients into a blender. Blend until thick and creamy, adding more ice if it’s too runny.