Friday, May 28, 2010

Roasted Apricots with Sour Cream Ice Cream

Apricots! Apricots are finally appearing in the markets and I couldn’t be happier. These are among my favorite fruit and since they have such a painfully short season, we need to seize the day.

At the beginning of each season, I always buy a bunch of apricots and wait for their ripening aroma to fill my kitchen. I usually don’t like to do too much to them for my first tasting, so today is about simply roasting them to a jammy lusciousness using a recipe from Claudia Fleming, who adds a touch of chamomile for a slightly floral backnote. Roasting the apricots brings out the intensity of their flavor and acidity, making them truly irresistible.

To complement the apricots, I’ve made a Sour Cream Ice Cream that reminds me a bit of the taste of cheesecake without any of the heaviness. It’s a simple mixture that does not contain eggs and isn't cooked, so it has a very fresh taste. The sour cream is enhanced with buttermilk for another layer of tang and richness. I also add a snippet of cream and milk to mellow and round out the flavor. It can be put together in a minute or two and then chilled overnight before churning. I think the result is a super delicious creamy match for the stewy goodness of the apricots. I love the snow white color against the rich and bright sunset blush of the fruit. I’m still thinking about how good this tastes.

I truly hope you have fresh apricots where you live. We have such a fleeting encounter with these gems each year and for me they are among the best joys of the season. Time to stock up and savor every bit of them for this all too brief period of time. I’ll hurry on to make my favorite pastry, an Apricot Galette, as well as try some new ideas. Here’s to glorious fresh apricots!

Bench notes:

- Baking or roasting apricots accentuates their tartness, so Claudia Fleming’s chamomile syrup is very sweet. The resulting fruit is tender and succulent.
- I made only half the quantity of syrup and I thought it was plenty, but I've included the full recipe here. If you don't have fresh chamomile, you can use 6 good quality chamomile tea bags.
- I like to chill the ice cream base overnight to give the flavors time to ripen.
- The recipe for the ice cream makes about 1 pint and should be doubled if you want to have some left over. I think it would be really wonderful with any and all spring and summer fruit. In winter, it would be luscious with Fleming's Roasted Dates with Sherry and Spices or Roasted Pineapple with Pink Peppercorn.
- I always save apricot pits to make Noyau Ice Cream, an indescribably delicious ice cream with the subtle taste of beautiful almond, perfect for cuddling up to fresh peaches or nectarines, figs, raspberries and just about everything else.
- Claudia Fleming's cookbook is out of print and I see that copies are now going for around $149. There are some very good cookbooks that retain their value but it's astonishing to see these prices. Better to follow your instincts while your favorites are in print and purchase these beautiful cookbooks in good time!
- Another must have every apricot season is Cornmeal Cake with Apricots. Once you try the apricot compote, you won't be able to think of anything else every time you see an apricot!

Roasted Apricots with Sour Cream Ice Cream

Serves 4

Sour Cream Ice Cream

Makes about 1 pint

1 C sour cream
1/2 C buttermilk
1/4 C heavy cream
1/4 C whole milk
1/2 C sugar
1/2 t lemon juice
pinch of salt

Roasted Apricots with Chamomile
adapted from The Last Course by Claudia Fleming

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 C water
1/4 cup fresh chamomile flowers
1 vanilla bean (I used 1/2 vanilla bean)
8 apricots, halved and pitted

For the ice cream, whisk together the sour cream, buttermilk, cream and milk. Add the lemon juice and salt. Chill thoroughly, preferably overnight.

Churn according to your machine’s directions. Pour into a clean airtight container, press a piece of plastic wrap into the surface, cover and place in your freezer to firm up.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Make a heavy syrup by placing the sugar and water in a pan and bringing to a boil. Split and scrape the vanilla bean and place the seeds and the pod along with the chamomile into the syrup and simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes. It will have the consistency of honey.

Cut the apricots in half and remove the pits. Place the apricots cut side down in a baking dish. Strain the syrup over the apricots, pressing on the chamomile flowers to extract the flavor.

Roast for about 10 minutes. Turn them over, baste with the syrup and roast for another 5 minutes. Remove from syrup and serve with Sour Cream Ice Cream.


Isa2 said...

Remarkable concept in all aspects. I love the simplicity all around most.

We may get apricots imported from a warmer clime in July, with an emphasis on the possibility but not the certainty.

The chamomile will bloom at the edges of the driveway then too.

This brings to mind a summer visit to a friend in Columbus when her two apricots trees were covered with those small luscious golden globes and one could laze around in the garden and listen to the fruits plop onto the ground as they fell from the trees. We couldn't use them all up no matter how many desserts and jars of jam we made.


Kate said...

The execution of the pastries and photos of your blog are exquisite. I am bowled over!!
I have shared your site with several people and we are all new found fans,
Thank you, thank you for your labors of love and time investment so we all can be transported by each and every entry.

Kate said...

Thanks for the addition of a Recipe Index.

vanillasugarblog said...

i love fresh apricots too, especially when used in a chutney.
but i have to say that i have never tried a sour cream ice cream and am so intrigued.

=^..^= said...

I visit here often for peace, beauty, fun and inspiration and have recommended the site to others.

Thanks for sharing all this!


pastry studio said...

Hello to each of you and thanks for your delicious comments! I deeply appreciate all the support expressed.

I can't imagine having apricots trees of my very own. SIGH.

I hope everyone finds the sense of wonder and beauty that I do when I work in pastry. It's really astonishing how much I enjoy creating this blog. I would never have guessed it when I first started a couple of years ago because I had never written about my work or ever taken a photo before in my life. Funny how things happen!

Bryan said...

i love the simplicity of this dessert.
i'm really curious about the addition of fresh chamomile to the fruit. great excuse to grow a plant or two.

and i love claudia fleming's book too.
the inflated prices are kind of ridiculous.
i dont think it's a secret, but i bought mine easily by calling the Inn and giving them my credit card.
it's really a wonderful book, i refer to it often.

cant wait for some good Blenheims this year.

pastry studio said...

Hello GooberNgrape! The chamomile is very subtle. I think it's overpowered by the vanilla, too. The syrup is very, very sweet. I'd like to fool around with the ratios and try a chamomile sorbet or granita to go with peaches and cream.

It's a good time to go to the Farmer's Market!

Valérie-jeanne said...

I'm always looking for ice cream recipes without eggs. This one looks delicious, with stone fruits and of course berries. Thanks.

Ashley said...

This sounds incredible. Roasted apricots is one of my most favoritest things. Beautiful blog!

FOODESSA said...

I roast so many vegetables...and yet have not yet given fruits a go.
Barbara at Movable feast had mentioned your I came to check it out. I'm so thrilled I did...because now I've discovered another great well thought out foodie blog.
I gave a quick look for now...I'll have to come back for more;0)
Flavourful wishes, Claudia

pastry studio said...

Welcome, Claudia and thanks so much for your interest!