Like I mentioned last week, August is Stonefruit Paradise in our region. Locally grown apricots, nectarines, greengages, plums and a whole army of relatives all but bury the displays of our markets this time of the year.
When the little kid in me, while it was being dragged around the market with way bigger eyes than tummy, struck and made me buy way, way too many on-the-spot perfectly ripe apricots one particularly hot day, I decided to preserve the pile I couldn’t possibly devour over the course of the next 1-2 days by turning my favorite apricot marmelade combo into a cold treat for a change. Since I already had my loaf tin holding an Italian gelato taking up most of the space in my ridiculously small freezer, I had the decision on the type of ice cream taken off of my hands in the blink of an eye – my ice lolly molds were a perfect fit for the remaining space in there~!
So, here’s my easy-breezy recipe to turn an excess (in the true sense of the word, too~!) amount of apricots into a batch of delicious ice lollies:
The Apricot & Lavender Ice Lollies
For 8-10 depending on the size of your molds, you’ll need…
50g Dark Forest or Golden Honey
75g Fine Caster Sugar
25g Brown Sugar
3 Tsp Dried Lavender Blossoms
1 Pinch of Fleur de Sel
700g Very fresh and very ripe Apricots (start with about 850g) – you’ll be skinning and pitting them in a bit, so make sure you have enough fruit on hand
2 Tbsp Apricot Liqueur
75g Soft-dried Apricots, finely chopped
1 Pinch of Vanilla Seeds – about ¼ of a pod will do
1) Fill up your kettle or water-cooker and put it to work.
2) While the water is working up a bubble, pick up a very sharp knife and score the skins of the apricots crosswise before placing them in a large heatproof bowl or a large pot.
3) Once the water is bubbling away, douse the fruit with the boiling water and give them 1 min to start shedding their skins.
4) Grab a pair of kitchen tweezers or a fork to check – when a test-ribbon of apricot-skin comes off easily, transfer the apricots to a colander, draining off the hot water.
5) Rinse the fruit with ice cold water and carefully tug/rub/peel off the skins.
6) Once you’ve worked your way through the whole batch, halve the naked apricots, remove the pits and have another go at the scale – you should be at about 700-750g now.
7) Roughly chop them up and set them aside for a minute.
8) Place the salt flakes, lavender blossoms and brown sugar in a pestle & martar and grind the lot into a fine dust.
9) Add the honey, caster sugar, lavender sugar and honey to a small pot sitting on medium heat.
10) Once the sugar-mixture has melted entirely, add the apricot chunks and gloss them over with the syrup.
11) Allow the “compote” to work up a gentle simmer, then leave it to its own devices for about 10 mins.
12) Take the pot off the heat, stir in the liqueur, vanilla seeds and ½ of the dried apricots.
13) Set the pot aside to cool off for 5-7 mins, then transfer everything to a stick-blender friendly container or the jug of your blender.
14) Whizz everything into a very fine and smooth purée.
15) Fold in the remaining dried apricots and place the container holding the pre-ice-lolly mix someplace safe and cool.
16) Once the mixture has cooled down to room temperature, pour it into your ice lolly moulds and freeze them for 6-8 hours or overnight until solid.
Happy Stonefruit Season~! Enjoy!