Saturday, June 30, 2012
The apricot post
This is the apricot post I promised so many moons ago. I finally got my recipes together and at the computer all at the same time! Amazing!
History; I like apricots, specifically dried apricots, a lot. So I bought two sweet-pit apricot trees from Stark Brothers Nursery about 12 years ago not knowing that the Kansas State Extension Service considers apricot trees as ornamental because they bloom so early. What happens is we will have a spell of warm weather in late February or early March then we will have a heavy frost or snow storm late March or early April most years. The blooms freeze so no fruit. We have only gotten two crops from the trees.
A couple of years ago was our first harvest of apricots. I pitted, dipped them in a Fruit Fresh solution and individually froze them. They turned dark about six months after freezing them. I was disappointed, I thought just dipping them would have been enough. They tasted okay, but weren't pretty any more, best used for cooking. I then dehydrated what was left for use in cooking. If I ever try freezing apricots again I will freeze them in a simple syrup solution with Fruit Fresh in the solution to see if the color is preserved any better. One of the issues with just dehydrating the apricots that are dipped in Fruit fresh or lemon juice is they will go ahead and turn dark. You really need to treat them with sulfur to keep the apricots from darkening. Too much sulfur consumption and I develop hives. No Thank-You!
This year I decided to do something different with the apricots, so I decided to make leathers with them and apricot nectar because I found a couple of recipes that used apricot nectar in them. I also wanted to use the nectar in fruit punches.
This first recipe I found several years ago. It calls for fresh apricots but I have used dried (re-hydrated) in it with good results. The recipe is called Djedjad (Chicken Roasted With Apricots). It calls for rose water but if you don't have any, just leave it out. The rose water does add a nice subtle fragrance and taste though, so if you have access to an Indian Market go for it. Or snag a cup of fresh rose petals; bring a 1/2 cup of water to a boil. Then pour the water on the rose petals, cover and let steep for 15 minutes. Strain and store in the fridge. I freeze the rose water in little condiment cups in one-teaspoon portions; ice cube trays would work too.
I have fixed Djedhad several different ways. As described baking a whole chicken. Then as rotisserie chicken with the apricots stuffed in the body cavity and then all the pan juices and apricots pureed in the blender as gravy. The last way was with the chicken cut up in a baking dish and baked. The last way I though was the best.
The next way I have used apricots is in Apricot-Orange Marmalade, very good, and of course Apricot Jam. (use the second recipe)
This year I used Apricot Leather recipe from makeandtake.com. These were great and we still have a few left that I have hidden away for this fall. The other recipe is for Apricot Nectar from myfamilyprepared blog. I found a recipe for Apricot Nectar Pound Cake from allrecipes.com we loved and an Apricot Nectar Cheesecake from bestrecipes.com we haven't tried yet but looks promising. I modified the pound cake recipe somewhat (What else is new!) so here it is.
1 yellow cake mix
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup apricot nectar
1/2 cup apricot nectar
1/3 cup sugar
4 TBSP butter
1 cup of whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 TBSP sugar
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9 x 13-cake pan. In a large bowl mix together the cake mix, eggs, 1/2-cup sugar and cup of apricot nectar on low speed until blended. Then mix on high speed for 3 minutes. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan.
When the cake is cool poke holes all over the top of the cake. In a small saucepan mix the 1/2-cup apricot nectar, 1/3-cup sugar and butter. Cook over a medium heat stirring until the butter is melted and the sugar has dissolved. Pour over the cake; place the cake in the fridge while making the whipped cream topping.
Beat the cream until stiff. Then add the vanilla extract and 2 TBSP of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Spread over the cake and keep chilled until ready to serve.
Okay this is long enough!
Have a good day!