Stewing: apricots and thoughts

Helllllooooo? Is anybody out there?

I’ve been stewing about this post for awhile now. Returning to The Casual Baker is much like prying the lid off a dusty old box, eyes squinting, nose wrinkling and body tensing in fear of what rank scent or creepy crawly might emerge. It has something to do with being away so long, wondering what’s happened while I’ve been gone and worrying that there’s no one left to listen.

As I see it, you have two options when meeting friends for the first time after an extended absence. You can try to catch up on all that’s been missed, those little things that seem important in a day or even a week but fade in significance over months or years. The second approach is to forget the catch-up, pretend you’ve never left and pick up exactly where you left off.

I think you can see where I’m going with this.

Driving through the Rockies from Edmonton to Vancouver last week, we picked up a box of apricots just off the highway. Within a day or two, they had developed black freckles and were verging on compostable. The home team sprung into action: W. with his apricot jam, J. with her apricot raisin chutney and I with my roasted apricots.

Roasted Apricots
12 apricots
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
cinnamon (taste)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cut each apricot in half and remove its pit. Squeeze the pieces, cut side up, into a baking pan with sides. They should fit closely together but not overlap.

Drizzle the honey over the apricots. Put a small piece of butter in each apricot cavity. Sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon on top.

Bake for 15 minutes at 375 degrees. Remove the apricots from the oven and baste them with pan juices. Increase the temperature to 400 degrees and return the pan to the oven. Continue to baste the apricots every 10 minutes until they begin to caramelize and the liquid thickens to syrup. This should take about 45 minutes, from start to finish.

For a tangy dessert, ladle the warm roasted fruit and syrup over ice cream, yogurt or fromage blanc. For an appetizer or cheese course, spread the apricots on a wheel of baked brie instead.

Serves 4.

Source: Based on a recipe published in the Los Angeles Times on June 18, 2003.

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