• Roasted apricots with honey, cardamom and saffron (Benito Martin)
Not an apricot chicken dish in sight. It's time for this ambrosial sweet fruit to rise above its tragic reputation.
By
O Tama Carey

30 Jan 2017 - 7:00 AM  UPDATED 30 Jan 2017 - 12:08 PM

Apricots are from the Rosaceae family and grow on a deciduous tree that needs a morning chill followed by long hot days to produce fruit at its sweetest best. Growing up in Adelaide, which has the perfect climate for growing apricots, it felt like every second person had a tree in their backyard.

Almonds are from the same family and are most similar to the fruit’s slightly bitter stone. So alike, in fact, apricot stones are used to flavour the marzipan-like Italian liquor Amaretto.

Dried apricots are good for a snack, go well with a bitter dark chocolate but are more often used in savoury preparations.

Fresh apricots love dairy, are delicious with sweet spices and vanilla, make a delightful jam and an excellent paste, like quinces, which is an excellent match for cheese.

Sweet apricots have an illustrious history used in savoury and meat dishes, particularly in Middle Eastern cuisine, often highly spiced with saffron, ginger and pistachio. This all fell apart in Australia, though, with the sudden and strange popularity of apricot chicken that is ‘traditionally’ made with French onion soup mix found in a packet. 

 

Make O Tama's apricot recipes


 

1. Apricot nectar and pistachio smoothie

This drink is a version of a Saturday morning drink treat that I used to have at the Central Markets in Adelaide as a teenager. It’s not so much a smoothie as more a refreshing layered drink that needs a spoon and a straw. The crushed ice keeps it cool and refreshing and the nuts give it extra texture.

2. Apricot and brown-butter shortcakes

Simple and buttery, theses little cakes are perfect for a summer’s afternoon tea party. They are easy to construct and best served straight from the oven, while still crumbly and warm.

3. Poached apricots with set almond milk

This dessert is about contrasts, sweet soft and yielding fruit matched with a slightly firm, almost savoury almond jelly. The soya milk has an almost earthy flavour that anchors this dish.

4. Roasted apricots with honey, cardamom and saffron

A simple roasting method that will leave you with a tray of delicious spiced apricots. They can be eaten warm as a dessert with ice-cream or eaten with yoghurt for breakfast. They are also just as happy to be used alongside some lamb or pork. 

Photography by Benito Martin. Food styling by O Tama Carey. Prop styling by Lynsey Fryers. Food preparation by Nick Banbury.

 

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