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Entries in Apricots (3)

Monday
Feb062012

Apricot-raspberry jam and a giveaway!

Giveaway time! It has been far too long since I have thanked you all for reading, so here we go. THANK YOU! I appreciate every eye that peruses my little blog, and one set of eyes will be randomly chosen to receive these cute silicone measuring bowls!

Full and half measurements are included in each bowl and the set includes 5 total bowls: 1/4 cup, 1/2 cup, 1 cup, 1 1/2 cups and 2 cups. They are dishwasher and microwave safe, and they make prep-work super easy. Aren't they fun?!

 

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this post saying anything at all! Tell me what color socks you are wearing or what song you have in your head today or what your favorite kind of jam is.

For extra entries (please leave separate comments for each entry):

- Friend me on Facebook.

- Post about this giveaway on Facebook.

- Subscribe to my RSS feed.

- Follow me on Twitter.

Giveaway closes February 14th at midnight.

 

I have a recipe to share today, as well! Thanks to the cooking challenge I just completed, I learned that making jam really isn't so scary. In fact, it's as easy as pie! Except, pie isn't easy. 

Since becoming a jam-making fanatic, we have jam all over our fridge. I'm not the only person in this house who loves having jars of jam bumping into the milk container and the butter and the celery and the blueberries. Every one of my family members eats my jam, and that is saying a lot. It is just about the only food that we all love. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family and I do!

In a large saucepan, combine:

8 to 9 apricots, seeded and cut into small pieces

2 cups raspberries

2 cups sugar

Stir, smashing the raspberries with the back of your spoon. Let the mixture sit at room temperature for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Add 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice to the pan and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes.

Divide the jam between 3 pint-size jars. Close the jars and allow the jam to cool. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

Thanks again for reading, everyone!

Click here for a printable recipe!

Sunday
Dec112011

Apricot cheesecake pockets

It's been a few weeks since I have felt like baking, which is unusual for me. It felt good to be in the kitchen again this past weekend, creating treats for people (and, um, myself) to enjoy. This is the last Rachael Ray cookie recipe I plan to make this Christmas season. After this, I will be moving onto some of my own creations!

I loved the idea of cream cheese and apricot jam being mixed together inside a buttery cookie. These were seriously delicious! 

In a medium bowl, whisk together:

2 cups flour

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

Using an electric mixer, beat together on medium-high speed:

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

Beat until fluffy, 1 minute. Beat in the flour mixture on low speed. Divide the dough in half and place each half on a large piece of plastic wrap. Using the wrap to help, form the dough into disks and seal. Chill the dough until firm, at least 1 hour.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together:

1/2 of an egg, lightly beaten

4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

In a separate bowl, combine:

The other 1/2 of the beaten egg

1 teaspoon water

Chill both the cream cheese mixture and the egg wash.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Working on a floured surface, roll out each disk of dough 1/4 inch thick. Using a 4-inch round cutter, cut out the cookies and place on the prepared pans. Reroll any scraps and cut out enough cookies to total 24.

Place 1 teaspoon of the cream cheese mixture and 1 teaspoon of apricot jam onto the center of each cookie. 

Fold each cookie in half and use a pastry brush to brush the tops with the egg wash. 

Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for 16-18 minutes. Let cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk together:

1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar

2 tablespoons water

Working over the parchment, drizzle the cookies with the glaze. Sprinkle with gold sparkling sugar for decorating. Let the glaze set.

I love that these are beautiful and delicious.

And that I'm feeling up for baking again. More to come!

Click here for a printable recipe!

Wednesday
Aug242011

Apricot and basil shortbread tart

This is Week #34 of my 2011 cooking challenge! Click here to view all recipes from this challenge. All recipes created for this challenge come from the Food and Wine Annual Cookbook 2010: An Entire Year of Recipes.

The end of August, and the end of SUMMER, my dear beloved summer, is approaching, which means I am attempting to squeeze in as many summer-time recipes as I can. I love summer recipes. Salads, fresh fruits and vegetables, anything on the grill, ice cream, cold cold margaritas, I could go on and on..  

I was excited to make this apricot tart because I thought it would be a fresh, light end-of-the-summer (sniff) treat. It was totally scrumptious. I have to mention that the shortbread crust on this thing? OMG! Better than the best Christmas cookie I've ever tasted. LOVED IT TO PIECES.

First, make the pastry cream.

In a saucepan, combine:

3/4 cup whole milk

5 tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves

Bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and let stand for 15 minutes. 

Remove the basil from the pan.

In a bowl, whisk together:

1/4 cup whole milk

2 large egg yolks

2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

Slowly whisk the yolk mixture into the warm milk in the saucepan. Bring to a simmer over moderate heat, whisking constantly until very thick, 2 minutes. 

Remove from the heat and whisk in 2 tablespoons unsalted butter until melted. 

Scrape into a bowl and press plastic wrap directly onto the surface. Refrigerate until chilled, 2 hours.

Looks like lemon curd, doesn't it? Well it is a little bit shocking when it tastes nothing like lemon curd!

Now make the pastry (the yum yum delicious pastry that I'm madly in love with).

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. 

Spray a 14x4-1/2-inch rectangular tart pan with a removable bottom with nonstick cooking spray. Or do like I did and use a 9-inch round tart pan without a removable bottom.

Add to a medium bowl:

1 large hard-boiled egg yolk

1 stick plus 6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

(Do you see a person in a coffin? Or perhaps a child sleeping?)

Beat with a hand mixer at medium speed until smooth, 2 minutes.

Add:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup potato starch

1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt

Beat at low speed until just combined.

Using lightly floured hands, press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan. Refrigerate the crust for about 30 minutes, or until chilled.

Bake the crust for about 25 minutes, until golden. Cool for 1 hour.

Now prepare the topping!

Increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange 6 apricots, halved, cut side up, on the paper and sprinkle all over with 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar.

Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the apricots are tender and lightly browned. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Unmold the crust onto a serving plate and spread the cream evenly in the crust. Arrange the apricots on the cream, cut side down, and brush all over with 1/3 cup melted apricot jam.

Cut tart crosswise into strips and serve.

You might notice that I left the tart in the tart pan and cut it like a pie. It worked just fine this way!

Decorate with basil leaves, if desired.

ENJOY!

Apricot and Basil Shortbread Tart

Better than the best Christmas cookie I've ever tasted. With apricots. (recipe source: Food & Wine Annual Cookbook 2010)

Serves: 6

Total time: 3 hrs

Apricot and Basil Shortbread Tart


Ingredients:

  • PASTRY CREAM
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • PASTRY
  • 1 large hard-boiled egg yolk
  • 1 stick plus 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup potato starch
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • TOPPING
  • 6 apricots (1 1/4 pounds), halved
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup apricot jam, melted
Instructions:
  1. MAKE THE PASTRY CREAM: In a saucepan, combine ¾ cup of the milk with the sugar and basil; bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and let stand for 15 minutes. Remove the basil; squeeze any milk back into the pan.
  2. In a bowl, whisk the remaining ¼ cup of milk with the yolks and cornstarch. Slowly whisk the yolk mixture into the warm milk; bring to a simmer over moderate heat, whisking constantly until very thick, 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter until melted. Scrape into a bowl. Press plastic wrap directly on the surface and refrigerate until chilled, 2 hours.
  3. MAKE THE PASTRY: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 14x4 1/2 –inch rectangular tart pan with a removable bottom with nonstick cooking spray. In a standing mixer, beat the hard-boiled egg yolk with the butter and confectioners’ sugar at medium speed until smooth, 2 minutes. Add the flour, potato starch and salt and beat at low speed until just combined. Using lightly floured hands, press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan. Refrigerate the crust for about 30 minutes, or until chilled. Bake the crust for about 25 minutes, until golden. Cool on a rack for 1 hour.
  4. MAKE THE TOPPING: Increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the apricot halves cut side up on the paper and sprinkle all over with the sugar. Roast for about 20 minutes, until tender and lightly browned. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
  5. Unmold the crust onto a serving plate and spread the cream evenly in the crust. Arrange the apricots on the cream, cut side down, and brush with the melted jam. Cut the tart crosswise into strips and serve.