I am completely in love with this dessert.
For years I have in vain chased the apricots of my childhood; intensely ripe, cooked by the provençal sun to a sweet compote in every bite. Nothing comes close, and so year after year I have spurned apricots on every shelf, sighed in resignation.
While I don’t expect to be resuscitate these childhood memories here in London, I have found a recipe to reconcile my love of apricots. the summer gives you apricots.
The original is a recipe for apricots with vanilla and chamomile. I was excited, when I received it from a friend through the unlikely channel of an email recipe exchange, as I had just planted lots of chamomile seeds. But not one of the seeds has grown; a few months later and I don’t have the slightest shadow of a chamomile flower. However I do own a small verbena plant.
Apricots roasted in verbena honey syrup, adapted from a recipe by Allison Parker
1 cup (200 g) sugar
1 cup water
3 small twigs fresh verbena
3 Tbsps mild liquid honey (borage honey worked beautifully)
Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C)
Wash the apricots, slice them in half, remove the pits.
In a small saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Reduce to the heat, add the verbena and honey, and simmer gently for about 10 minutes.
Pour the syrup into a pan which will fit all the apricots in one layer. Place the apricots in the syrup, cut side down, and spoon a little syrup over each hump of fruit.
Roast in the oven (rack in the upper third, so the apricots get slightly blushed from the heat) for about 10 minutes. Turn over the apricots, baste with syrup, and roast for another 5 to 10 minutes, until soft.
Let cool and serve at room temperature, with a big dollop of clotted cream, crème fraîche, or thick yogurt.