I don’t know about all of you, but these last two weeks here have been pretty hot. By no means am I complaining, but when the temperatures start rising I really don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.
We don’t have air conditioning- just heat. It’d be kind of pointless having it out here, since the cool evenings naturally do the trick when you open the windows.
Sometimes in the middle of the day, if the oven is going, it gets rather stuffy in our place.
Last weekend I bought a ton of apricots at the farmer’s market. I envisioned apricot cakes, apricot tarts, apricots with puff pastry, apricot danishes…but I just couldn’t do it. I didn’t want to. My house was hot.
So we’re going to switch direction a bit- these may not be ‘baking’ recipes, but I’m providing some heat-friendly recipes that keep the house cool while simultaneously putting summer produce to good use.
The first one on our list- apricot liqueur.
I’m not an “OMG” person, but this is truly “OMG”. The apricots are gently poached in a concoction of dry white wine and sugar. Add some vodka and vanilla at the end, seal it up in a bottle, and let it sit. I’ve sneaked a few times and tasted it. I can’t wait to find out how it tastes after the proper sitting time.
Apricots can be delicious raw, but when they are cooked it intensifies their flavor even more. The golden jars of apricot liqueur produce a light, fruity, spirit that tastes richly of apricots and summer. Sip it plain, or mix it with some sparkling white wine. You could also use it to flavor baked goods , or anything really.You can eat the apricots that are strained out but beware- they pack a potent punch!
I’m planning on making several batches of this and then giving some away as special gifts. Summer, preserved.
How to make this recipe:
Adapted from Salt, Sugar, Smoke by Diana Henry
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 bottle dry white wine (I like Veltliner)
- 1 lb apricots, halved and pitted
- 1¼ cups vodka
- 1 vanilla bean
- Put the sugar and wine in a saucepan and heat gently, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
- Add the apricots and the vanilla bean (Split it with a knife, scrape out the seeds, and add both the seeds and pod to the mixture).
- Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
- Poach the apricots gently until tender.
- Remove from heat.
- Take out the vanilla bean pod.
- Stir in the vodka.
- Pour into a container with a tight-fitting lid and let sit for a week.
- Strain through a cheesecloth-lined strainer into sterilized bottles and keep for a month before use.
- Fills two 1½ pint bottles that will keep for about a year.
Note: This recipe works at all altitudes.