Of all the wonderful fruit that comes into season during the summer months, apricots are my very favorite. It hasn’t always been this way. When I was growing up, it was nearly impossible to find truly good apricots unless they came from someone’s backyard tree. As those were pretty darn hard to come by back then, I spent most of my formative years eating terrible, mealy grocery store apricots.
Five or six years back, I discovered just how good a locally grown, never-refrigerated apricot can be. Because I know their season is short, I always order at least half a bushel from one of my local growers. (I get the seconds, because they’re so much cheaper and really, who cares about a few bruises and blemishes?)
Once those apricots are in my kitchen, I spend the next week finding ways to use them up. I make jam. I make chutney. I can them in halves in honey syrup. I eat the ripest ones in just a couple greedy slurps. Once I’ve done all my favorite things, there are still more apricots to be used. That’s when I start digging through my collection of apricot recipes, looking for other things that are begging to be made.
That’s what led me to Guy Fieri’s recipe for Roasted Apricots with Mascarpone and Pistachios. On Sunday night, I wanted to cook up a little dessert that would use some of my apricots. It was oppressively hot, so I didn’t want a dessert that would be particularly heavy or need an hour in the oven. This recipe fit the bill perfectly.
You halve the apricots, drizzle them with a little olive oil, then dust them with granulated sugar. After just a couple minutes under the broiler, they are bubbling and golden, and the oven goes off for good. While they cool, you whip together mascarpone cheese, a little whipping cream and a touch of sugar until it is light. The whipped cream and cheese tucks into the center of the apricot halves. To finish, scatter chopped pistachios across the top.
It is gorgeous, barely sweet and perfect for your warm summer Weekender.
Before you start cooking, read these tips:
— Watch the apricots carefully in the oven, as they can go from caramelized to burned in a matter of moments.
— If pulling out your hand mixer feels like too much work, stir a little powdered sugar into some creme fraiche. You’ll get the tang of the mascarpone and the richness of the cream in a single product.
— If you can’t bear to turn your broiler on for even a second, consider grilling the fruit instead. Don’t dust them with sugar. Instead, brush them with a little olive oil and grill until caramelized. Then drizzle them with a little honey for sweetness just before serving.
Marisa McClellan is a food writer and canning teacher who lives in Center City Philadelphia. Find more of her food (all cooked up in her 80-square-foot kitchen) at her blog, Food in Jars. Her first cookbook, Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round, is now available.
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