Friday, May 30, 2008

Apricot Packets

Continuing my love affair with the season's amazing apricot bounty, today’s reverie is all about the fruit. We have gorgeous apricots baked in parchment paper, en papillote. How simple and elegant is that?

If you love apricots in a fairly unadulterated state, you will surely have to try these. Thanks to Pierre Hermé, we have a wonderfully fresh aromatic dessert that is incredibly easy to produce in just a very few minutes. These sumptuous tart-sweet apricots with just a hint of spice come together in a miraculous flush of flavor after ten minutes in the oven. The combination of sugar, the lavender and bergamot emanating from Earl Grey tea, and the lemon zest and juice add a sublime aroma. A very small dab of butter lends a silkiness to the whole mixture. The subtle soft flavors blend miraculously and the juices are out of this world, almost too good to be true. Sometimes it’s best to just let nature shine, pure and simple. Try this.

Bench notes:

- Putting together these packets needn't be a matter of precision. Use your own taste and judgment when distributing the seasonings. I give you my preferences, but use a bit more or less in your own proportion, according to your own whim.
- I used parchment paper and employed some tartlet pans to hold down the two sides of the packet to ensure a tight seal.
- You can choose to garnish or not. I much prefer the fruit as is without any cream. But if you wish, Hermé recommends ricotta sweetened with sugar, honey and orange flower water.
- This is a dessert you’ll want to enjoy warm, so serve immediately.
- Save the apricot pits for Noyau Ice Cream, coming soon!

Apricot Packets

adapted from Desserts by Pierre Hermé
Serves 4

16 apricots
1 lemon
4 T sugar
freshly ground pepper
1 t Earl Grey tea
1 T butter
parchment paper or foil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Prepare four pieces of parchment or foil about 12” x 14”.

Halve the apricots and remove the pit. Slice each apricot half into 3 pieces.

Place sugar, about a teaspoon of Earl Grey tea, the zest of one half lemon and a few grinds of fresh pepper in a food processor or a clean spice grinder. Process until the aromas are released and the mixture is blended.

Place about 24 slices of apricot onto a piece of parchment or foil. Sprinkle the sugar spice mixture evenly over the apricots. Add a spritz of lemon juice. Dot with a bit of butter. Bring the parchment paper together and fold the packet down the middle until it lies flat. Fold up the remaining two sides tightly. You want the packet to be tightly sealed so that no steam escapes. Place the packets on a baking sheet.

Bake for 10 – 12 minutes or until the packets are puffed.

Place each packet on a dessert plate and serve immediately. Take in that wonderful aroma and magnificent flavor. (If you click on these photos, I do believe you'll be able to swim in this sensation...) Ahhhhh, apricots.


Aran said...

wonderful gayle... simple, seasonal, elegant, fragant, warm, buttery... love it! I love cooking fruit this way and especially stone fruits. All I need is some vanilla ice cream with it!

My Sweet & Saucy said...

What a great dessert! Simple and yet looks amazingly delicious!

Casey said...

Looks wonderful -- would be sublime with PH's chocolate and fleur de sel cookies as found on Dorie Greenspan's blog (or in her cookbook)

Karrine said...

I love your blog!

I would love to see your blog listed at HerBlogDirectory.