One of my favourite things about summer is the seasonal fruit available – especially stone-fruit. We grow some here on our hill and always get more plums than I can generally use, but rarely score any of the apricots or peaches from the greedy, marauding birds. When I recall the stone fruit of my youth it conjures up the smells of summer and I have fond memories of hot afternoons sitting under the apricot tree in the back yard of my great-aunts, feasting on the sun-warmed ambrosial fruit. Sadly, that is not the case with much stone-fruit today which is picked green to facilitate transport and storage. If you want the real, sweet, fragrance of summer you need to grow your own apricots or buy them from a farmers market.
The apricot is actually a species of Prunus and has been cultivated since ancient times, probably originating in Armenia. These fruit trees are now cultivated all around the globe and grow particularly well here in South Australia, in the Riverland. If you don’t grow your own and can’t manage to get to the farmers market, but lust after this taste of summer there is another way to coax the very best of the the flavours out of these golden globes and it is as simple as roasting them!
Roasting apricots caramelises the sugars and releases the perfumed juice. The addition of vanilla adds depth to the concentrated flavours produced from this and I’ve included a couple of ingredients that will complement and lift the apricots up a notch.
Vanilla Roasted Apricots
- 8 fresh apricots halved & stoned
- 1/4 cup vanilla sugar see note
- 2 - 3 Tbsp butter
- 6 gingernut biscuits crushed
- orange blossom water
- Thick cream or yoghurt to serve
- Preheat oven to 180C.
- Place apricots, cut side up, in a greased baking dish.
- Sprinkle generously with the vanilla sugar then place a teaspoon of crushed gingernut biscuits in each half, following with a knob of butter on each one.
- Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes, until fruit is collapsing and soft.
- Cool for 10 minutes, then sprinkle the fruit with the orange blossom water before serving with either cream or yoghurt.