When it’s apricot season the obvious preparation rules, which is no preparation at all. Such a delicious fruit deserves to be left alone on the kitchen counter until fragrantly ripe and ready to bite into. But if you find yourself with too many of this fleeting fruit, consider this recipe for poaching them in rosé wine, cardamom pods, and fresh rosemary.
I used a yogurt cake recipe I had on hand from one of my favorite Greek cookbooks. Susanna Hoffman’s The Olive and The Caper (2004. Workman Publishing Co., Inc.) is so full of great recipes, insights into Greek cuisine, and history that I often find myself still reading it long after I’ve found what I was looking for. Peppered with trivia, ancient and contemporary customs and humor, it’s the type of cookbook I would like to write someday. She’s an anthropologist, specializing in the study of disasters, so it makes sense that her book has so much tragic Greek history woven through it.
If you have any white or rosé wine lingering in the fridge, now is the time to use it up. I tend to have open bottles taking up space so for this recipe I actually used equal parts dry South African Reisling and Spanish Rosé. As long as there is some rosé in the recipe, the poaching liquid and subsequent sauce will turn a lovely blush color and look perfect with rose-tinged apricots.
Yogurt Cake with Wine-Poached Apricots
Serves 6-8 people. Feel free to use any butter cake such as pound cake that can stand up to the sweetness of the syrup and the tartness of the fruit.
2 cups rosé wine
1/4 cup water
6 cardamom pods, cracked open
1 rosemary sprig
3/4 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. honey
8 ripe apricots, halved and pitted
Yogurt cake or other plain butter cake
Freshly whipped cream or creme fraiche
1. Place wine, water, cardamom pods, rosemary, sugar, and honey in a medium-size saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, add apricot halves so that they are all submerged, and simmer for about 7 minutes, or until apricots are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife.
2. With a small spatula, gently remove the apricot halves from the syrup and place on a plate. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Continue to simmer syrup until it has reduced by 1/3 and thickened a bit, about 20 minutes. Strain syrup into another container to remove cardamom pods and rosemary; chill until ready to serve.
3. To serve, spoon syrup on plate so that it pools in the center. Be generous. Place cake on top of syrup and place apricots to the side of the cake. Serve the cake with either freshly whipped cream or creme fraiche.