The rest of the cherries, we made into tarts. After reading Becky's post about them, I got a hankering to make cherry hand pies. The recipe (from Bon Appetit) calls for puff pastry and I didn't want to deal with that, so we (mostly Seamus) used Alice Water's recipe for pate sucrée, and the Bon Appetit recipe for the cherry hand pie filling. These tarts were a real treat!
|We gobbled two tarts before I had a chance to take a picture.|
I was reading South Wind Through the Kitchen a few weeks ago, and there was a recipe for "apricot cheese" which I wanted to try, but store-bought apricots are awful. So you can imagine my delight when one of my work friends offered to share part of a bushel of apricots she had gotten from a family farm in upstate New York. That night I did an unprocessed test batch, because at the end of a long work day, I don't have the energy to sterilize and process the jars.
"Apricot Cheese" sounds unappetizing, but it's really just a very smooth jam. Apricots are easy to prepare because you don't have to peel them and the pits pop right out. Elizabeth David's recipe tells you to steam the apricots and then push them through a seive or a food mill. Once that's done you cook them with sugar (one pound of sugar for every pint of milled apricots) until it "begins to candy around the edges." I wasn't sure what that looked like, so I just cooked them at a good rolling boil until a spoonful of jam, dropped onto a cold saucer, had the consistency I wanted. This batch went straight to the refrigerator, and Seamus reports it is delicious, stirred into oatmeal. I like it paired with almond butter on toast. (I can't see apricot jam with peanut butter.) Elizabeth David recommends it as a filling for a jam omelet. What does the jam taste like? If I wanted to be really corny, I'd tell you it tastes like sunshine, but mostly it tastes like apricots.
Over the weekend, I did the rest of the apricots, this time processing them properly so that they can live in the pantry. Elizabeth David says that for an enhanced flavor, you should crush a few of the apricot pits and push the kernal through your food mill with the apricots. I can't say I noticed any difference in taste between the batch with the apricot kernals and the one without, but smashing the pits is fun. (I used a small sledgehammer.)
|Making the puree with the apricot kernals|