I have a bit in common with apricots. I can be a bit dull and uninteresting, often outshone by others. However, like apricots, if I’m pickled in brandy for long enough, I too am transformed into a thing of glorious beauty and attractiveness. Perhaps I might abandon the analogy at this stage as this personal transformation only goes on in my head, the effects don’t last and the memory tends to make me shudder with guilt and remorse.
While we were soaking up a bit of sun (safer than the brandy, I assure you) in the Dordogne, I got to thinking of preserving some of the fine fruits that we came across in each and every local market. Apricots in Brandy is a classic. So we decided to give it a go and also to put our own twist on things. Usually, apricots are preserved in a mixture of water, sugar and spirit. The Wife suggested that we try some local honey instead of the sugar. This made perfect sense to me as it is pretty well all sugar anyway and it tastes delicious. It also has the benefit of being a local product too. So, there is a logic to using it for a traditional dish. We also decided to add vanilla to some of the jars to see if it adds anything positive to proceedings.
Side note on preserving fruits. Last year, while in France, I preserved some cherries in vodka. The post is here. I dutifully brought the jars of preserved cherries home and stored them for a year in a dark cupboard. Just before returning to France, I opened the first jar and tasted the fruit. I opened a second and a third just to be sure. The cherries had turned a sort of an off-grey colour. They tasted of nothing but cheap vodka. I threw the lot in the bin. Hopefully, we will be more successful this time.
- 1.5 kilos of apricots
- 400 ml of brandy
- 250 ml of honey
- 600 ml of water
- Glass storage jars
Place the storage jars in your oven and turn to hot. Leave them there for about 20 minutes. Carefully remove them. Half the apricots and remove the stones.
Add the honey to the water and warm until the honey dissolves. Add the brandy and mix.
Distribute the apricots in the storage jars. Cover with the brandy/honey mixture, leaving a bit of room at the top of each jar. Add vanilla pods if you wish.
Seal the jars and store away for a couple of months. I will have to report back to you on the success or otherwise of this venture. For now, everything looks pretty good. But, it did with the cherries last year too….