Its scientific name, Prunus armeniaca, evokes a plum from Armenia. Originally from northeastern China, the apricot conquered the entire Mediterranean area and then, thanks to Spanish missionaries, the New World, especially California. The apricot is the king fruit of the summer. The Persians called it the “egg of the sun”. Full of sugar, it invites you to tarts, sorbets and fruit salads.
Choosing the right apricots
Apricot season is very fleeting. So be careful and take the time to stock up from June to August! In fact, apricot mumps freezes perfectly. The right technique: Remove the apricot halves, place them in a large dish or tray covered with baking paper, freeze them well flat and, when well frozen, place them in a freezer bag with a zip opening or in a box. Thus, you can take the desired amount of apricots without having a pile of fruit.
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For jam, it is essential to choose very ripe apricots, you will use less sugar and the flavor will be much more pronounced and delicate. My favourites: Label Rouge Bergeron from the Rhône valley, but also the apricot from Roussillon. Do not throw away the pits, they are precious for making a delicacy of Italian origin: amaretti.
The delicious bitterness of almonds
The delicately bitter almonds contained in the kernels give amaretti an incomparable taste. You need to remove the brown skin that covers them (if necessary, soak them in lukewarm water to make this step easier). To preserve them, it is ideal to put them under vacuum or to freeze them.
Apricot kernels are also delicious for fish marinade or summer salads. Consume in moderation as they contain cyanide!
► Cod and apricot ceviche
For 4 people
800 g cod
1 yellow lemon
6 apricot kernels
1 small red pepper
1 purple onion
Fine salt and ground pepper
Cut the cod into large cubes, add the juice and grated zest of the lemons, the chopped red pepper, the thinly sliced purple onion, salt and pepper. Mix and let it marinate for 1 hour in the fridge. Add 2 thinly sliced apricots and 6 coarsely crushed apricot kernels.
► Amaretti with apricot kernels
For 6 people
250 g ground almonds
3 egg whites
80 g icing sugar
100 g icing sugar
Remove the apricot halves, break the seeds and collect the almonds. Remove the brown skin (by soaking them in lukewarm water) and mix the apricot kernels roughly with the almond powder.
Beat the egg whites until stiff and add powdered sugar gradually. Mix in the almond mixture with a spatula. Arrange icing sugar in a dish, dip your hands in it and form stones with this soft almond mass.
Place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper, spaced widely apart. Leave to “crust” for 30 minutes at room temperature.
Place the apricot mumps on the plate next to the raw amaretti. Sprinkle with the rest of the icing sugar. Bake for 20 minutes at 160°C. Serve the cold amaretti with the lightly stewed apricots.