Boiled, skinned and cut in half….. and that’s just the apricots

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.

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About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
This entry was posted in apricots, baking, Cooking, desserts, Digital photography, dough, food, Food and Photography, France, Nigel Slater, pastry, Photography, Photography holiday, summer, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Boiled, skinned and cut in half….. and that’s just the apricots

  1. I’ll look for the ball of pastry. Thanks.

  2. What a beautiful colour those apricots are, and a lovely way of using them up – we have had delicious ones this year, no doubt from France. I love your thought that peeling fruit could perhaps have been a form of punishment. I would add scrubbing potatoes and peeling eggs.

  3. You and the apricots were meant to be together in dessert form! They stayed steadfast for you, knowing their stubbornness against rotting would somehow win you over. The resulting dessert looks fantastic.

  4. Looks and sounds amazing. We had some similar apricots from a beautiful Malaga market. They promised so much and delivered nothing. Had to turn the little b*****s into jam!

  5. Ah the seductive powers of apricots….

  6. You are right, life is far too short to make puff pastry.

  7. ceciliag says:

    The colour of those apricots is quite divine! c

  8. ambrosiana says:

    Yep! You are right! Life’s too short to make puff pastry! I had only done it once with my cousin, with whom I made baklava and sambusek – two Middle Eastern recipes. I thought it was such a tremendous amount of work, that I decided to buy puff pastry every time I was going to make these recipes.

  9. Karen says:

    Some things we will never have here…that little ball of pastry is one of at least a hundred. I think you and the apricots made a winning combination.

  10. ChgoJohn says:

    I canot imagine attempting to make puff pastry. Like hang gliding, it’s a skill I can appreciate but have no interest in attempting. But those apricots! You certainly did them justice.

  11. Beautiful – I love the melting sugaryness of this picture. The best apricots I’ve ever tasted come from our own tree, a Roussillon, but often bought ones are disappointing and a refusal to rot is very suspicious. Looks as though you made the very best of it, though.

  12. Tandy says:

    I love your writing! I only buy apricots when I know I am going to eat the lot 🙂

  13. losangelas says:

    ha ha. loved reading this! I might also give the mediaeval apricot boiling a go 🙂

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