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January 9th is National Apricot Day. We’re not sure why, since apricot season in the U.S. is from May through August (any fresh apricots found in the winter months have made a long trip from the southern hemisphere).
Yet, you can toast the day with an apricot brandy sour, have apricot jam on your toast or sandwich (cream cheese, goat cheese, ham, turkey), make a pork roast with dried apricots, or use the jam as filling in a Sacher Torte.
Here’s a quick and easy way to turn dried apricots into something festive. If you don’t want to make your own, you can order chocolate-dipped apricots from Bissinger’s or Lake Champlain Chocolates (the latter are kosher-certified).
CHOCOLATE-DIPPED APRICOTS RECIPE
Makes 2 dozen pieces.
Make your own or buy them. Photo courtesy Bissinger’s.
24 jumbo whole dried apricots (about 8 ounces—look for moist fruit)
1/2 cup (2 ounces) pistachio nuts, finely chopped
6 ounces dark chocolate*
Parchment paper, wax paper or aluminum foil
Chocolate tempering machine or substitute
*Dark chocolate compliments the apricots best, but you can substitute milk chocolate or white chocolate. The finer quality the chocolate, the better the confection.
1. For best results, temper chocolate in a chocolate tempering machine. If you don’t own one, melt the chocolate in a chocolate melting pot, microwave oven or double boiler.
2. Place the chopped nuts on a plate or in a shallow bowl, for dipping.
3. Holding an apricot by the rim, dip about half of it in the chocolate. Give it a quick twist, shake off excess chocolate and tap the apricot against the rim of the bowl if excess chocolate remains.
4. Before chocolate dries, dip the top of the apricot into the chopped nuts. Place on parchment paper to set up and cool. If the set up seems slow, place in refrigerator for 3 to 5 minutes.
If you want to sweeten the apricots, glaze them first. Glazed apricots can also be enjoyed without the chocolate dip.
GLAZED APRICOTS RECIPE
Makes 2 dozen pieces.
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
24 jumbo whole dried apricots (about 8 ounces)
1. Boil water in a medium saucepan. Add sugar and stir until it dissolves and a syrup is created.
2. Boil until the syrup reaches 310°F on a candy thermometer (do not stir).
3. Place the pot in a pan of cold water to instantly stop the boiling; then immediately remove the pot and set in a pan of hot water. (This keeps the syrup at the right temperature.)
4. Using a skewer, dip each apricot in the syrup. Shake off the excess syrup and and place the apricot on wax paper to dry.
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