Thyme Poached Apricots
Apricots are one of my favourite summer fruits. I love the round bright orange yellow colours that shout sunshine, holidays and happy thoughts. It reminds me of my uncles farm in South Africa. He has a mini orchard of apricot and peach trees planted around his house, this way the family can enjoy the different varieties all season long. It’s a fantastic sight in the spring when the trees are covered with blossom,which will develop into ripe fruits bursting with flavour at the height of summer. I shall cherish that memory for the rest of my life as the taste of ripe apricots picked straight from the tree are so different from the fruits available in the supermarkets. My mother has a tale to tell about warm apricots eaten from the tree when she was a child. Well all I need to say is that she cannot stand the sight of apricots after all these years.
I found the basis for this Thyme Poached Apricot recipe from a chef many years ago. Unfortunately I cannot remember his name but this recipe has remained with me, however I have adapted it as the years rolled by.
It’s funny as I am not great at making notes I always remember snippets of things that I hear or read and then just make the rest up as the mood takes me. It’s great as I allow the creative juices to flow, I have no constraints rules or boundaries, this way I have managed in the past to create some magical recipes. This Thyme Poached Apricot recipe is one of those magical ones. Packed with sharp in your face flavours, perhaps unexpected but delicious.
Thyme Poached Apricots
- 500g apricots, halved and stones removed
- 100g unrefined caster sugar
- 200ml water
- 6 sprigs of thyme
Heat the water bath to 80°C.
Wash the apricots, cut them in half and remove the stones.
Place all the ingredients in a vacuum bag and seal the pouch on medium vacuum.
Place the apricots in the preheated water bath and cook for 10 minutes.
Remove the apricot pouch and cool in ice water.
Let the apricots infuse for one hour before use.
- 300g Thyme Poached Apricots
Open the cooked apricots and select the most attractive apricots for serving.
Weigh 300g of the cooked apricots in to the Thermomix bowl and puree on speed 9 for 30 seconds.
Scrape the sides down and puree until the apricot puree is smooth.
Use 200g of the puree for the foam and the rest for serving with the dish.
Thyme Infused Apricot Foam
- 200g apricot puree
- 50g natural full fat yoghurt
- 1 leaf of gelatine
Dissolve the gelatine in cold water, once soft squeeze to remove the excess water.
Heat 50g of the apricot puree either in a small saucepan or in the microwave add the soaked gelatine and dissolve.
Add the dissolved gelatine and natural yoghurt to the rest of the apricot puree and pass through a fine sieve into a cream whipper.
Charge the cream whipper with two nitrous oxide pellets and shake vigorously.
Place the cream whipper in the fridge to allow the gelatine to cool and set.
Sticky Orange Cake
- 1 whole fresh oranges
- 50ml of the cooking water from the oranges
- 3 whole free range eggs
- 125g unrefined caster sugar
- 50g plain flour
- 100g ground almonds
- ½ tsp baking powder
Wash the orange; place it in a saucepan and cover with cold water.
Bring the orange to the boil and simmer for approximately 1 ½ hours, until completely soft. Let the orange cool completely in the cooking liquid.
Preheat the oven to 150°C and grease one 24cm x 9cm x 6.5cm loaf shape mould.
Place the boiled orange in a food processor with 50ml of the cooking liquid, puree till a very smooth.
Transfer the orange puree to a large mixing bowl, add the eggs and sugar, and mix well.
Fold the ground almonds into the batter.
Sieve the flour and baking powder over the batter and fold the flour in with a metal spoon.
The cake batter will be very runny.
Spoon the cake mixture into the prepared mould and place on the middle shelf of the preheated oven, bake for 1 hour.
Test the cake by inserting a metal skewer; if it comes out clean the cake is cooked.
The texture of this cake is moist and dense, nearly the texture of a baked cheesecake.
Let the cake cool for 20 minute, turn the cake out on to a cooling rack and cool completely before you using.
Chocolate Fondant Shards (Sugar Glass)
- 150g fondant
- 100g glucose
- 100g chocolate
Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to the boil.
Rapid boil the sugar mixture to 150°C, use a sugar thermometer to test the temperature.
Once the sugar reaches the desired temperature pour the hot sugar on to a cold baking tray.
Let the sugar cool completely, it will set in one solid lump.
Break the hard candied sugar by placing it in a plastic bag and use a rolling pin to break the sugar in to smaller pieces.
Place the broken pieces in the Thermomix and grind on speed for 10 – 20 seconds.
Scrape the sides down and repeat the process until it forms a fine powder.
Heat the oven to 120°C, Line a baking tray with a silpat and dust the sugar dust into shapes on to the tray.
Bake the sugar until it has melted,but you will need to watch it. Let the sugar shards cool completely before using.
Bake them fresh before use.
Assembling the dish
Cut the Sticky Orange Cake in 3cm x 10cm x ½ cm thick slices. Use some of the apricot poaching syrup and brush it over the cake slices and place the slices of cake in the centre of the plate. Draw lines on the plate with the apricot puree and double cream. Cut the Thyme Poached Apricots in ¼ ‘s and arrange them onto the cake slices. Shake the cream whipper with the Apricot Foam vigorously and squirt the apricot foam in between the apricots onto the cake. Garnish with the Chocolate fondant shards, extra thyme leaves and grate lime zest using a fine microplane zester over the plate just before serving.