When I saw a lug of pristine Eastern Oregon apricots on my way back from Montana, I knew I had to have ’em. In short order, they became:
Orangette’s version of Zuni’s apricot tart. I *love* this recipe. And the crust is excellent for all pies, by the way. I substituted plain distilled vinegar, being out of cider vinegar, but I wonder if some of my fruit vinegars might be nice with, say, a blackberry pie. It would tinge the crust a pleasant mauve. I think. And the apricots really do soften up and lend a juicy glaze. It’s almost better to use slightly underripe ones, and don’t go more than a pound. Restraint, unbelievably, is good.
Apricot jam, two kinds. The plain jam is tart, sweet, and bursting with summery fruit. The Czech apricot is flavored with Becherovka, a cinnamon-y bitter, and a bit of cinnamon stick. Both have a shot of Hungarian palinka, an apricot brandy. These rely on natural pectin and the softened fruit to thicken the gel.
Brandied apricots. With a quick boil and sterilized jars, they’ll keep for a few months in the refrigerator. The brandy can be used for cocktails, and the apricots for ice cream or baked goods.
And the leftover brandy, slightly flavored with apricot, I used for this year’s brandied sour cherries. The pitted sour cherries are available for a very short window each year. I usually buy mine pitted by Hentze’s Farm in Junction City by the 5# bag. Makes life so much easier. I love the Hentze folks, and they scored some equipment when the local canneries went out of business, so you can save time by purchasing very high quality cut beans and corn, pitted cherries, and shelled nuts that they grow on the farm.
They also have lugs of apricots, another ephemerally short season. If you want to make any of these treats, the time is now!