One of my most favouritest cooking guides of all time is The Flavor Bible.
It’s not a recipe book, though, but rather a massive compendium of ingredients and their flavour pairings.
My boyfriend got it for me a few months ago (it was a really sweet, here’s-a-present-just-for-no-reason sorta thing), and it’s seriously one of the best gifts that anyone has ever given me.
Whenever there’s some fruit on the counter and I’m in need of a little inspiration…?
I just flip through the good book, pick out a few other ingredients, double-check to make sure I’m not heading for a kitchen disaster, and get crackin’.
That’s how I was inspired to take a warm, heavy cobbler recipe and change it to suit summer — by using sweet apricots, lightly toasted almonds, and vanilla bean ice cream.
Now, if only I had a porch, a rocking chair, and a mosquito swatter… then my life might be complete.
So, the trick to making a perfect fruit cobbler is to start with perfect fruit.
Choose apricots that are soft — free of any large mushy spots, but give a little when gently squeezed.
Also, fragrance is important — if you hold the apricot to your nose, inhale, and are suddenly overcome with the urge to just jam it up there and walk around with nostrils full of apricot all day, then you’ve found a good piece of fruit!
*heavily adapted from About.com
- 4 cups fresh ripe apricots, quartered
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup almond meal
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon cream
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons almond meal
- 2 tablespoons toasted almonds slices
- more toasted almonds slices, for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C. Butter and flour a 6-cup baking dish.
First, make the apricot filling — sift together the white sugar, all-purpose flour, almond meal, ground ginger, and salt. Set aside.
Toss the quartered apricots in lemon juice and vanilla extract. Shake the dry sifted ingredients over the tossed apricots, and toss again to coat evenly.
Press the coated apricots into the prepared baking dish.
In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. Whisk in the egg, cream, and extract.
Sift together the flour, almond meal, and baking soda. Add the sifted ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk until the batter is smooth. Stir in the toasted almond slices.
Drop the batter by the spoonful randomly over the prepared apricots. Sprinkle with more toasted almonds.
Bake for 40 ~ 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the filling bubbles.
Here’s another piece of wisdom from my favourite book (it even includes quotes from acclaimed chefs, too)…
“Apricot is a fruit you need to cook in order to help unleash its flavors. A bite of raw apricot is kind of bland and doesn’t excite very much. If you throw that same apricot into the oven and heat it up a bit, it turns into a whole different fruit. Apricot with vanilla is a match made in heaven.”
Well, I tip my hat to you, Emily Luchetti, and I’ll take your advice to heart!
That’s why, when you serve up a heaping helping of apricot cobbler, make sure to give it a sidekick scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. Yum!