The botanical name for the apricot is prunus armeniaca. All botanical names are Latin which makes no sense in this case because it was the Greeks that named it, erroneously thinking it came from Armenia. Which it didn’t. Everyone knows they comes from Leeds. The Romans called apricots praecocium, meaning precocious which I normally associate with children but they were drunk a lot of the time. Drunk and fornicating.
I love apricots or rather I love things made with apricots. Very rarely do I come across one that is delicious just eaten raw. I have had fantastic ones but rarely. They are usually a bit pasty and lacking in both acidity and sugar. Consequently I make JAM. Lots and lots of jam. I have spent many evenings very glamorously pitting apricots watching The Wire. Then during the days I have spent many hours boiling them up with a ton of sugar to make the most delectable jam known to man. As a nod to the niggaz in the low rise projects of West Baltimore and I have named it Bad Mama Jam with the tag ‘Dis shit is fly.’ Not sure how much I’m gonna sell but its gotta be worth a try as it is SO GOOD.
I make the jam with the cracked stones tied up in muslin so the kernels can penetrate the mixture with a touch of their bitter almond flavour.
Almonds and apricots are from the same family and have a natural affinity. I cannot recommend apricot and almond tart highly enough. If you make custard with Ibiza’s (illegal) country eggs you will surely die of pleasure.
Apricot and almond tart
*Make pastry by stirring an egg and a little cold water into 85g of butter that has been softened to the point just before it liquefies. Add 170g of flour and a pinch of salt. Work quickly to make a dough. You may need to add a little more water. Wrap it loosely in cling film and the gently squish it with the palm of you hand to flatten it. Refrigerate it.
*Make frangipane by creaming 90g of butter with 90g sugar. Whisk three eggs into the creamed mixture. Stir in 135g of ground almonds and a couple of drops of the finest vanilla extract known to man. You have now made frangipane. Tell your friends. They will be impressed.
*Cut lots of apricots in half and take out the stone.
*Roll out pastry and blind bake in oven at 140 until edges start to be cooked. Remove from oven. Spread with the frangipane and then place the apricots abundantly and nicely all over the frangipane. Sprinkle with sugar and bake it at a fan-forced 140+ until the frangipane goes goldenish and the apricots are browning at tips.
*Serve immediately and watch your guests, family and gatecrashers cream.