It’s often said that apricots are a ‘kitchen fruit’ because, despite their beautiful speckled skin and orange glow, they can be disappointingly woolly and flavourless. However, the application of a little heat and sugar changes everything.
Gently cooked in rosé wine, scented with vanilla, served with a big scoop of ice cream and some buttery homemade shortbread cookies, my Apricots Poached in Rosé Wine are truly heavenly.
A true summer dessert
This is a great way to end a meal during the warmer months. Cool and refreshing, with just the right balance of sweet and tart, these gently cooked apricots sing of summer.
Prepare in advance
This is a brilliant dessert for entertaining as you can have it all ready to go well in advance. You can poach the apricots up to 3 days in advance, which means that when it comes to serving, there is nothing more strenuous for you to do than scoop out some ice cream, relax and enjoy.
What sort of rosé is best to use?
Don’t use your best rosé for this recipe! You’re adding sugar, spice and cooking it, so you can get away with a cheaper drop. I do use a dry wine though so that the sweetness doesn’t become overpowering.
Try it with other summer fruits
This method of cooking will work with any stone fruit. Peaches and plums are both lovely, though you’ll need to peel the peaches first – a bit of a thankless task on a very hot summer day.
I know vanilla pods are expensive these days, but in this case, it is worth it. If you can’t get hold of one or they are just too expensive, make sure to use a good quality vanilla extract instead.
Re-use the vanilla pod
Don’t throw the vanilla or the syrup away afterwards! The vanilla can be used to make a homemade vanilla extract or vanilla sugar, and the syrup is stunning to use in cocktails or mixed with a little prosecco – yum!.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can I poach apricots without alcohol?
Yes you can, though the flavour will be quite different. Use water in place of the wine and increase the sugar to 150g. You might like to add a little cranberry juice for colour or lemon juice to make it less sweet. Experiment and see! Clear grape juice would be another option.
How do I store the poached apricots?
In the fridge in a tightly sealed container for at least 3 days, but up to a week will be fine.
CAN I RE-USE VANILLA POD?
Yes! They are so expensive these days so it is a great idea to reuse them. Give the pod a quick rinse then leave to dry overnight (I put it in the oven to keep any bugs away from it).Cut into 2cm lengths, then place in a jar with sugar. Give it a shake now and then and in a week or so you’ll have lovely vanilla scented sugar.
Alternatively, rinse, then place in a jar or bottle with vodka or rum. Keep adding vanilla pods as you use them and you’ll have the most terrific homemade vanilla extract – it’s super tasty in cocktails too!
Apricots Poached in Rosé Wine
Apricots Poached in Rosé Wine
- 500 ml rosé wine
- ½ a vanilla pod
- 75 g white sugar
- 500 g firm, ripe apricots
for the shortbread:
- 125 g unsalted butter, room temperature
- 75 g white sugar
- 150 g plain flour or all-purpose flour
- 25 g cornstarch
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- good quality vanilla ice cream
- MAKE THE SYRUP: Gently heat the rosé and sugar together in a small saucepan, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
- ADD THE APRICOTS AND VANILLA: Cut the apricots in half, and remove their stones, then add to the rosé. Use a teaspoon to scrape the seeds out of the vanilla pod, then add seeds and pod to the saucepan.
- POACH THE APRICOTS: Cover with a round of baking paper (a cartouche, see notes) and a lid and simmer very gently for 5-10 minutes. This depends on how large and firm the apricots are. Check after 5 minutes and judge how much longer from there.
- REDUCE SYRUP: When cooked, remove the apricots with a slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl. Bring the remaining syrup to a rolling boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 10 minutes. Pour the hot syrup over the apricots and allow to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until needed.
- MAKE SHORTBREAD DOUGH: To make the shortbread, heat the oven to 180°C / 250°F / Gas 4. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Sift over the flour, cornflour and salt and add the vanilla extract. Stir until a loose dough forms, then turn out onto the benchtop and knead briefly until smooth.
- BAKE SHORTBREAD: Line a 20cm (8 in.) round springform cake tin with baking paper, then press the dough lightly into the prepared tin. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until just beginning to brown. Remove from the oven, use a small, sharp knife to score the surface of the shortbread into fingers or diamonds, then allow to cool completely in the tin. When cool, cut into shape.
- SERVE: Serve the poached apricots with a generous scoop of good quality vanilla ice cream and shortbread on the side.
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