Ever since I started blogging, I have become more attuned to local and seasonal produce. Look back at my earlier posts and you will notice the local, seasonal calendar of fruits is what guides the subject of my posts. This year, we've had a good and bountiful stone fruit season and I have had my fill of these fruits, fresh and ripe, just as they are!
But, as the season draws to a close, you can sense that the best of the season's produce is behind us. So, I have been looking for ways to prolong this season, with desserts and bakes that celebrate these fruits that aren't in their prime any longer. For instance, apricots rarely make an appearance in Indian markets, a fleeting one at most. So, when I saw a mound of them, freshly arrived from North India, I just had to buy them because for all my proclaimed love for fruits, I've never tasted a fresh apricot. Sad but true!
Unfortunately, while these fruits had the most beautiful colour, they were sadly lacking in flavour. So, I turned to my most trusted advisor on how to cook with the fruit of the season, Nigel Slater's Ripe. I can't praise this book enough and it hasn't disappointed till date.
I wanted something simple that didn't involve elaborate cooking. This recipe of gently poaching the fruit with lemon tea and vanilla was just what I was looking for. And it definitely did not disappoint. With ten minutes of prep and forty minutes in the oven, this recipe transformed a bland fruit into a dainty and elegant dessert.
The citrusy lemon awakens these fruits with their subtle zestiness while the vanilla and the star anise infuses it with a delicacy that washes over you with its simplicity. Paired with vanilla ice-cream, it is a subtle and light dessert that will be a perfect end to any meal.
Much like a beautiful piece of music, all the flavours are in perfect harmony and this dessert enervates and calms at the same time. Try it once, it will awaken your senses!
Baked Apricots with Lemon Tea
Minimally adapted from Nigel Slater's Ripe. Serves 2
- 300 gms fresh, ripe apricots (I used 6 apricots)
- 1 lemon tea bag
- 2-3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 vanilla pod
- 1 star anise
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 deg C.
- Cut each apricot in half, twist them apart and discard the pits.
- Place the halved apricots in a shallow dish.
- Measure 1 1/2 cups of hot water and let the lemon tea bag steep in the water for 5 minutes.
- Discard the tea bag and stir in the sugar into the tea until it is dissolved.
- Once done, pour the hot water over the apricots , whilst tucking in the star anise and the vanilla pod.
- Bake the apricots for 40 minutes until the apricots are tender.
- Remove and cool before chilling thoroughly.
- Serve it plain or with some vanilla ice-cream.