Fruits, fresh fruits, beautiful fruits. Though the persistence of cloud cover and rain continue to blanket the east coast and many other parts of the country, still, with the onset of spring, markets, at least in these parts, have become ripe with bountiful fruit varieties bursting in colors and tempting the senses.
Yesterday, at the international market, picking up a few last minute items for a Food Demonstration I was doing today on Exotic Fruits Salad, a recipe I shared with you a few weeks back, I couldn’t help but feel rather cheery surrounded by what seemed like countless bins of blossomed fresh scents. A myriad of shapes and textures, bright reds, yellows, oranges, deep purples, greens, tinted multicolored shades, each making their renewed seasonal appearance, those balanced flavor sensations of nature meshed between sweet and tart. Fruits, fresh fruits, beautiful fruits.
Assortments in cross sections of local, state, current fresh picks from around the country such as California, and also throughout the world, I thought to myself, after doing a quick Google search on what one might do with the piled high greenish tinted larger than grapes, actually a plum of sorts, labeled: Japanese Ume (thus deciding I didn’t really want to prepare a sort of wine or cook it stuffed inside of rice balls) that one could easily go through the alphabet picking and choosing among the vast array.
Coincidentally, that is precisely where I ended up landing, in the beginning. A is for Apricots. B is for Blackberries.
Not too sweet, and not too tart either, pitted apricots simmer in a bath of Turbinado Sugar, Cointreau liquor, star anise, half of a vanilla bean scraped of its beans, along with its added outer coating, and a stick of cinnamon and some water. Toasted, chopped pistachios provide a little added crunch. At the final moment, fresh blackberries are glazed through some of the poached apricots warm juices, all enhanced topping over the creaminess of vanilla ice cream. There you have it, no need to say apricots are among the world’s healthiest foods, simply serve this special treat, quickly, before the warmed apricots melt the ice cream, Poached Fresh Apricots, Blackberries, Pistachios, on Ice Cream. A is for Apricots. B is for Blackberries.
- 16 fresh apricots, cut in half, pit removed then cut into bite sized pieces
- 1/2 cup turbinado sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tablespoons Cointreau liquor (brandy may alternatively be used)
- 1/2 vanilla bean, bean slit down the center, scraped into apricot, and the bean covering place into the pot
- 1 very small cinnamon stick
- 1/2 star anise
- 1/4 cup pistachios, shelled, toasted, chopped (toasted almonds may alternatively be used)
- 1-2 blackberries per dessert
- 1 scoop vanilla bean ice cream per dessert
- fresh mint sprigs for garnish
- Tumble fresh apricot pieces into a small pot, sprinkle in the turbinado, stir, then add in the water, Cointreau, vanilla, cinnamon stick, and star anise, stir through again. Cook mixture on very, very low heat for around fifteen minutes or longer, just to immerse the flavor with the apricots while maintaining consistency as a bite sized fruit, not jam. After about twelve minutes stir through the toasted pistachios. Just before serving, place a few spoonfuls of the apricot liquid into a bowl then gently stir through the blackberries to coat.
- Place a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream into each cup. Ladle over the warm Poached Apricots mixture, top with one or two glazed blackberries and a sprig of mint, serve straight away.