Life is certainly long enough to stuff a mushroom, if there was any point in it, which there isn’t. However, unless you are patissier or one of those people who are annoyingly adept at doing very difficult things easily thus making the rest of us look and feel like inadequate fools, life is too short to make your own puff pastry. A bowl of apricots had been looking at me accusingly for several days which had brought out the worst in me. I had decided to ignore them as by all rights they should have started to go rotten. They were a mistake from the outset. In the shop they had seduced me, the harried shopper on that day, with their subtle colours and baby’s bottom allure yet they turned out to be fools’ gold. So I decided to let them rot, which they steadfastly refused to do. All around them was putrefaction, yet they remained as firm as a Roman phalanx. The only way these apricots would give up was for me to apply the big heat. A simple recipe in “Really Fast Puddings” by Nigel Slater was to be the final solution, yet the simple recipe also demanded puff pastry. On the day of the erroneous apricot purchase I had noticed (at least my son Sam spotted it), in the pre made pastry section, a small square cardboard box marked “feuilletée”. Instead of the normal roll of ready made puff pastry, which in my experience, had long ago run out of puff, this little box contained a ball of pastry. I cut slivers off it, rolled them thin and cut out two 6cm circles placing one on top of the other. Boiling water was poured over the recalcitrant apricots, their skins rubbed off and then they were cut in half – mediaeval, but necessary. Makes one wonder if the law makers of old who defined punishments were actually very good at making fruit desserts. Returning to kitchen, it’s important to preheat the oven, in which you have placed a baking tray, to 220C . The hot baking tray serves to crisp the base of the thin pastry. Place the apricots on the puff pastry circles, dredge them with icing sugar and put them on the baking tray in the oven for 10 minutes. Take them out, take a picture of them and then eat them warm.