July 25, 2012

Apricots, Apricots, Apricots

We have one apricot tree on the property and for the past 3 years it has not given us any fruit....the weather worked against us.  Xavier even threatened to send this tree to tree heaven...I don't think he was really serious, but, nevertheless, I protested loudly.  It has such a beautiful shape that I didn't care if it gave us fruit.  Well, at least not until this year.  Oh my......I now call it the giving tree.  I think everyone of these blossoms survived to give us fruit.
As you can see, it even made the bees happy.
And then the fruit began to come....

The tree is loaded...


The fruit is ripening....

And then the work began....First..

APRICOT CONFITURE



1 KILO FRESH APRICOTS,  QUARTERED (or halved in small)
700 GRAMS SUGAR
JUICE OF ½ LEMON


In a large pot, combine apricots, and 1/2 cup water and 2 pinches salt.  Bring to a simmer.  Slowly cook down the apricots. They will melt down and skins will soften. This takes about 15-20 minutes.  Add sugar.  Increase heat to fast boil. Cook 20 minutes stirring occasionally but constantly near the end of the cooking time to prevent scorching. About 5 minutes before end, add juice of ½ lemon.   

Remove from heat.  Continue to stir to dissipate heat….about 3-4 minutes. Fill jars to top. Screw on lids.  If reusing old jars, invert jars for 10 minutes and then set upright until cool.

By the way, I stopped counting how many jars at 160!

And then next comes my favorite way to cook fresh fruit...a tatin.  I use the same pastry for any kind of fruit.....

APRICOT TART TATIN



PASTRY:

1 ¼ CUPS ALL PURPOSE FLOUR
½ TEASPOON SALT
6 TABLESPOONS UNSALTED BUTTER, DICED
¼ CUP GROUND ALMONDS
2 TEASPOONS SUGAR
1 EGG YOLK
2-3 TABLESPOONS COLD WATER

CRÈME FRAICHE

Pastry:  In a medium bowl, combine flour and salt and rub in butter until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs.  Stir in almonds and sugar, then work in the egg yolk and 2 TBS cold water to form a soft dough.  Add remaining water if dough is too firm.  Press into a disk, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425F.



Apricots:   Heat butter in a 9-10-inch skillet (preferably cast iron).  Stir in brown sugar and cook just to melt. Remove from heat and stand apricots up as seen in photo.
Finish by arranging a layer of apricot halves flat on top, skin side up. Return to heat and cook gently until apricots are caramelized and juices are reduced ....can take up to 30 minutes....

Finish: Remove pastry from refrigerator and roll out to a circle a little larger than the skillet.  Place over the apricots to cover them completely, pressing the edges up the sides of the pan.  Work fast to avoid the dough softening too much.

Transfer skillet to oven and bake until pastry is golden, about 20 minutes.  Remove and let rest for 5 minutes before inverting onto a serving platter large enough to contain the pan juices. 

Serve warm or cold….garnish with a dollop of crème fraiche.


Tips:  I usually do the tatins in stages....make the pastry...maybe even the day before, or better yet, always keep one in the freezer.  You can cook the fruit (do the caramelization part) early in the day and add pastry later and finish.  Just warm up the pan a bit before you add the pastry.

And we are not finished yet....There are still lots and lots of apricots. 

Next up is the apricot chutney.  I love to use this on toasts with the duck rillettes from Hyper U... ... oui, they are great from the jar with  this tangy topping.  And if you don't have duck rillettes, buy some barbecue....that would be North Carolina style barbecue.

APRICOT CHUTNEY


1500 GRAMS FRESH APRICOTS
250 GRAMS DRIED CRANBERRIES ( OR A COMBO OF RAISINS & DRIED CRANS)
3 MEDIUM ONIONS, CHOPPED
5 LARGE CLOVES GARLIC
¼ CUP FRESH GINGER, MINCED
2 TBS. TOMATO PASTE
2 CUPS DARK BROWN SUGAR
2 CUPS RAW SUGAR
1 TSP. SALT
2 CINNAMON STICKS
2 DRIED CHILIES
50 CL CIDER VINEGAR
 ....the ingredients

Pit apricots and cut into small pieces.  Combine with remaining ingredients in large heavy bottomed pot such as Le Creuset .  Bring to a simmer and cook gently for  about one hour.  Stir occasionally .  Toward the end of the cooking time, stir almost continuously to prevent burning.
Transfer to sterilized jars and seal.  Yields about 6 jars (1 ½ cup ….380 gms each)

Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of the finished product....and you can't tell anything from the jar.....

Now, did you think we were finished.....non, non, non


This is going to be an apricot aperitif.  Put the fruit in the jars with sugar and place them on their side in the sun.  Rotate several times a day for 3 days then add good quality grain alcohol....This is an experiment with the apricots....we always do it with cherries.

I haven't mentioned the apricot halves (rondeles) in syrup for winter tarts.....or the containers of coulis for sorbets.....or the stewed apricots.   

And the piece de resistance?????  You have to guess what I am going to do with these pits.  They have been washed, boiled and dried in the sun....What do you think?


And there are still apricots on the tree...got any ideas....???


14 comments:

  1. certainly hope you arent harvesting the cyanide in the kernels! maybe crushing for driveway paving? dont think you can make a "butter" consistency without poisoning someone. but maybe YOU can!
    i give up!

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  2. 1. You could pulverize the pits & use them in a mixture for a body scrub & in facial masks. They have fantastic hydrating properties!

    "Like Avocado, Kiwi and Raspberry, Apricot is also a very great fruit for our good skin health and is used in many homemade remedies to prepare facial mask or face pack. It also have hydrating and revitalizing property for our skin. It also contains beta carotene to maintain fresh and healthy skin.

    You will find many products in the market that use Apricot as its one ingredient. In this post we will discuss how to make Apricot facial mask to maintain our skin beauty and to get a new glow on skin.

    Take 1 cup of dried apricot.
    Take 1 cup of some warm milk.
    2 tablespoon of honey.
    1 tablespoon of Sandalwood powder.
    1/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder.

    Now blend all the ingredients and make a fine puree. You can add more or less warm milk to become fine and applicable.

    Now wash your face with lukewarm water and apply this puree on your face, neck and arms and leave for 30 minutes and wash with warm water and pat dry.

    Repeat this twice a week. it will give you a very attractive skin. You will get a fair and lighter skin tone. It will also fade out your face spots or blemishes."

    Source: http://acne-pimple-on-face.blogspot.fr/2011/08/apricot-facial-mask-for-fair-skin.html

    * More facial recipes here to mix with avocado for intense moisturizing:: http://casnov30.hubpages.com/hub/Homemade-Facial-Tips

    2.Could you use the crushed pits in recipes like a nut?

    3. With the ones on the trees, you could dry/dehydrate them & maybe some could be made into fruit leathers~

    4. How about making some apricot oil in all of your spare time?
    Now this should keep you busy!

    Thank you for sharing your bountiful knowledge...they are incredible~

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  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  4. What a lovely bounty of fruit and I'm so glad you made a tart tatin with the apricots. Aren't you glad you didn't send the tree to heaven...
    Sam

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  5. Just by chance this video appeared of the oil press you need!

    Un film de Didier Buffet - Fabrication de l'Huile de Noix dans la commune d'Anglefort (Ain) This movie is in French. Sorry for those who don't understand. This is the meeting with two men. One is a retired farmer and the other one a retired entrepreneur. They decided to make walnut oil for their neighbors around. People bring the walnuts kernels and the Oil millers transform it into oil through a very old and traditional process. Kernels of walnuts…

    http://vimeo.com/channels/biontologyarizona/37988673

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  6. Interesting ideas for how the pits are to be used! But it is much simpler....They are my new pie weights! Work great...the ultimate recycling!

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  7. BENEFITS OF APRICOT KERNELS


    Organic bitter apricot kernels are naturally high in essential fatty acids or omega fats, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc and natural energy. Apricot kernels are also a good natural source of protein and Amygdalin also known as vitamin B17.


    The Hunza people of Pakistan eat organically and are among some of the healthiest people in the world. An important part of their diet includes apricots and their kernels. Bitter apricot kernels contain nutrients which are missing from the western everyday modern diet.
    Diane Tyler Button

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  8. How did your apricot aperitif turn out? We have blossoms on our trees this year and I'd like to turn some of the fruits into liquer.

    Your tree is beautiful.

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  9. Thanks Ann..I love this tree. It got a heavy pruning last winter so no fruit this year. The aperitif is outstanding. Our fruit was small so we were able to leave it whole. Not sure if you can do it with cut fruit. I will try to find out. Just did another one with beautiful whole cherries.

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    Replies
    1. Xavier tells me that it has to be whole fruit....

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  10. The story continues...It is over one year later. Just enjoyed the apricot aperitif, but tonight it was late night. OUTSTANDING. The liqueur, the fruit.....OUTSTANDING! I think I like it better than our cherries. Lucky that the fruit was small....and just perfect for this.

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