It is easy to overcook apricots when using conventional cooking techniques. The high temperatures used in these methods cause the cell walls in soft fruits to rupture, producing a shapeless and mushy result. You can avoid this problem by cooking apricots sous vide. This method uses a very low temperature, which protects and preserves the apricots’ cell structure, flavour and beautiful orange colour.
- 4 apricots
- 50ml of sugar
- 50ml of water
- Preheat the water bath to a temperature of 70⁰C.
- Pour the water into a small saucepan and stir in the sugar. Make a syrup by heating the mixture. When it reaches the boil, remove from the heat and allow to cool.
- Halve the apricots and discard the stones.
- Slide the apricot halves into a vacuum bag, pour over the sugar syrup and vacuum to seal.
- Place the bag in the water bath and leave to cook for up to 20 minutes, depending on the ripeness of the fruit. Very ripe apricots will only take around 18 minutes to cook but firmer ones will need slightly longer.
- Carefully spoon the syrupy apricots out of the vacuum bag and serve.
Sweetened fruit and aromatic herbs make a delicious and sophisticated combination so try adding thyme, rosemary, lemon balm or even black tea to the vacuum bag with the apricots.
You can also enhance the flavour of the apricots by changing the ingredients in the syrup. Honey or elderflower cordial would be a good replacement for the sugar and you could use sweet wine, champagne, apple juice or port instead of water.
Cooked apricots make a great accompaniment to many desserts. Alan Murchison serves his Pistachio and olive oil cake with apricot, while Phil Howard combines Poached apricots with honey ice cream and fresh almonds to make a simple but elegant dessert. For an apricot extravaganza, try Steven Smith’s recipe for Apricot ice cream, compote and purée.
Recipe courtesy of www.greatbritishchefs.com