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..
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
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
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.
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
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....???