There is something about the rosy blush on an apricot - that most delicate of stone fruits - that, to me, is completely irresistible. And right now, apricots are plentiful.
I enjoy eating ’em out of hand, or sliced up and served atop a bowl of cereal. If I’m feeling ambitious, I might even crank out a quart of apricot ice cream. It’s a handy way to deal with a pile of these little beauties.
Yesterday I decided to try making something new (for me, anyway): Apricot Curd. It makes a fine tartlet or cake filling, with a warm fruit flavor that contrasts with the sharpness of the more traditional lemon curd. And a dollop served alongside a waffle, or on top of an English muffin, would be superb.
Start with about 2/3 pound of fresh apricots. Cut them up into small chunks, removing the pits (which you can save to make noyau ice cream or amaretti). Place the apricot chunks into a nonreactive saucepan with 3 tbsp water and simmer over low heat. As it cooks, the fruit will release a delightful aroma... when it is nice and soft, dump it into a food mill or food processor, purée it, and then strain the purée. Use a spoon or a pestle to help push as much apricot goop as possible though the strainer; depending on how fibrous your ’cots are, you should end up with about a cup of smooth purée.
To the still-warm purée, add 3/8 cup granulated sugar and stir to dissolve. Now add 4 tbsp (one-half stick) unsalted butter, cut up into small pieces, and stir until the butter has melted and is well incorporated. Add the juice of one-half lemon; stir.
Now, in the top of a double boiler, whisk together two extra-large eggs and one egg yolk. Add the apricot purée mixture and whisk together until well blended. Place over gently simmering water and cook, whisking constantly, until the curd reached 170°F. You’ll know it’s getting there because the mixture will thicken to the consistency of sour cream. Remove from the heat; allow to cool, then refrigerate. The curd will keep for about a week... assuming it lasts that long. In my house, its lifespan is measured in hours, if not minutes.
Apricot curd - summer in every spoonful!
Update: I just had a couple of spoonfuls of this stuff atop some char-grilled peaches. Holy Moley, was it good!