Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Roasted Apricots: Experiments

Given the choice, do you go with the juicy, ripe peach or the cottony apricot? I go for the peach every time, but that's not to say that I haven't been lured by the ultrasuede nubbits of cotton that are sold as apricots. They are only available in Georgia markets for a short time, hence their appeal. I've always thought I didn't get the right apricots, until I read the Atlanta Journal-Constitution food writer John Kessler's recent blog post about roasting apricots.

These apricots sounded luscious - velvety, rich and sweet, everything the fresh apricot is not, so I gave them a try. I bought two pounds of fresh apricots at the store, split them in half along the seam and popped out the stones. I heated the oven to 400 degrees and placed the halved apricots on a Silpat-lined baking sheet. I drizzled just a little bit of vegetable oil on the apricots and slid the pan into the oven. After about 45 minutes, the apricots were a gooey, but tasty mess. I scooped everything together and let it cool in a bowl while I decided how to use this delicious roasted apricot. The first thought was to use it in the almond gazpacho I made for the Salon Kitchen Challenge cold soup story. Almonds and apricots are a natural pairing. I pureed the apricots and used it as a garnish in the soup. The picture turned out kind of pretty.

almond soup

But the taste was not so pretty. My daughter Laura put it this way: "you want it to taste good, but the soup and the apricot together are kind of yucky." So, to Plan B. When in doubt, make sorbet. I made a simple syrup with 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water, added the juice of half a lime, stirred in the apricot puree, let the mixture chill then poured it into the ice cream maker. Et viola, as my friends used to say, roasted apricot sorbet. It's quite tasty, if a bit sweet, next time I'll half the amount of sugar. I think it would be quite nice with a ginger cookie, or gingerbread, or some cinnamony, spicy kind of cake. Or maybe on a waffle. I hurried to take the picture - the ice cream was kind of soft serve to begin with, and I'm shooting on a 90 degree day.

apricot sorbet

Text and images © Lucy Mercer, 2010.

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