Sunkissed and freckled, just the thought of apricots remind me of the fantastic old apricot tree that was the jewel of my Mum and Dad’s old garden. Not at an old house, just in the old garden. Unfortunately, with progress, renovations and just many years passing by, since the tree was first planted; that gnarly old tree with knobs of amber sap, hardened like jewels, dotted along its branches, has long gone.
I have been sadly disappointed with the apricots that are available from the supermarkets for many years now. I pick up those little golden orbs, full of promise, to find a rubbery texture, then bite down to find, I have not been transported back in time. Sad, but I do understand the need to produce a product that will travel well and that will look good on the shelf, I just really, wish that it didn’t come at the expense of all that wonderful texture and flavour. The old fashioned apricots were small and soft, traits which just don’t cut it on the mass market today. Yep, I can just imagine the horrid, bruised mess of apricot puree, that would greet any greengrocer that might open a box of old fashioned apricots in the modern supermarket age!
I had made a promise to myself to plant an old fashioned Blenheim apricot tree in my garden last year, only to find that they weren’t available in 2012! I was willing and ready to make my own memories, to remind myself of times when life was simpler, when Summers seemed softer (they weren’t!) and when apricots ruled my Januaries. So, disappointed 😦 Talk about first world problems, ha ha!!
So, here I am, bang in the middle of the Summer of 2012/13. Stone fruits abound and the apricots, well, smelt good, for the first time in years! I bought a bag, I was excited, I got them home and ‘bummer’, they were sour. My obvious answer to, ‘too sour’ is to pair it with ‘too sweet’ 🙂
Bake a pavlova shell with the recipe I posted here. Or, try this other recipe!
Apricot, ginger and white chocolate pavlova
4 egg whites
1 cup of sugar
1/2 tspn vanilla
1 tspn white vinegar
1 1/2 cups thickened cream
100g white chocolate
4 pieces Bundaberg naked ginger (crystallized ginger)
6 apricots sliced
handful of blueberries
fresh mint sprigs
Heat oven to 150 degrees celsius.
Beat egg whites until soft peaks form.
Add sugar gradually, beating well after each addition, until dissolved. Add vanilla and vinegar and beat a further 1 minute.
Pour mixture on to a tray lined with baking paper. Use spatula to form round shape approximately 20cm wide, Use spatula to scrape the sides up so that they are straight and the mound looks like a cake shape.
Bake for 45 minutes or until meringue is crisp. Take out and run a sharp knife around the top about 1.5cm from the edge which awill allow the shell to stand as the top sinks when cooling. Turn oven off and allow pavlova to cool in the oven.
Beat cream until soft peaks form.
Place white chocolate in a bowl and microwave on med-high for 1 minute 20 seconds. The chocolate may not look melted but take it out and stir. If it does not melt with some stirring, place it back into microwave at med-high for 10 second bursts and stir between bursts, until melted. Let cool slightly.
Stir chocolate into cream and place in fridge.
Chop ginger finely or whizz in a processor. Stir into the white chocolate cream.
Pour cream onto the top of cooled meringue shell.
Decorate with sliced apricots, blueberries and mint leaves. Dust with icing sugar if you so desire!
A slice of this apricot pavlova has made it just a little bit easier for me to wait. The fantasy is of course, taking the first bite out of my own soft, sweet and fragrant, sunblushed apricots. One day 🙂