I like my desserts simple. So simple that it almost pains me to share them – as though you might read this post and think to yourself, “Apricots, butter, cinnamon and raspberries? Really? That’s all? Man, I could have figured that out!” What can I say, I like simple food. The summer season is in full swing and that means I’m exhausted: between work, our farmers market, mothering an increasingly ornery precocious boy, the online cooking class, and my baby sister’s impending deployment to Afghanistan (and I don’t know that I’ll see her before she leaves and what the hell are we doing there anyway!?!) have my mind and my body occupied in arenas beyond the kitchen. And piles of paperwork, unanswered emails and worry have kept me up way past my bedtime every night since June. “Wait … isn’t this site about health and wellness and balance?” you ask. Well, yes, sort of … I better get my priorities straight, eh? So as much as I’d love to flour my hands and make an elaborate maple pecan pie with sprouted spelt crust or take the time to roll out the dough for sourdough noodles (How’re those recipes for a blast from the past?! You newcomers probably don’t even know about them!), the time just isn’t there for me – at least not now in the middle of summer.
So, instead, we satisfy with simpler foods: salads, fried eggs, bacon … lots of bacon bought fresh every week from a grass- and pasture-based farm at our market. There’s been a lot of broth, of course, and some yogurt and plenty of fermented foods but not as much organ meat as I ought to serve my family, though I’ll probably make the time to prepare some sage and chicken liver pâté this weekend. Just two ounces of that stuff supplies almost all of the daily requirement for vitamin A and almost half the daily requirement for folate – talk about nutrient-dense! But for dessert, I’ve skipped the time sweating in the kitchen over long-soaked cakes and elaborate preparations for something wholly simpler. You facebook fans got a glimpse, a whiff, a slight taste of it last week with this photo. (Wait, you’re not a fan of Nourished Kitchen on facebook yet? Get on right over there now, ’cause you’re missing an awful lot.) So using ingredients on hand, fresh from the market but for the spice, I made a simple dessert of barely melted apricots seasoned with fresh raspberries. No extensive prep work, no long hours of soaking – just a little time with a skillet and plenty of fresh, local, organic fruit.
I love apricots. No, really, I love them. And earlier this season when my husband and I packed up the kid, the video camera and the laptop into the car to conduct farm tours for our farmers market (yes, we personally visit and vet every single farmer who attends our market and, yes, it is a lot of work but good things don’t happen without a lot of work.), I was disappointed to watch one of our farmers point out his apricots and woefully explain that he’d be lucky to get a case out of his trees to bring to market this year. It was a harsh and almost bleak spring here in the Rockies, and all the stone fruits will hurt a little this year. No apricots. I was devastated. That’s like learning there is no Santa, no Easter Bunny and no Tooth Fairy all on the same day. How I’d miss there soft and almost mushy texture and the way their flavor blooms in notes of peach and plum with hints of chamomile when the hits your tongue. Sure, everyone loves the peaches and the sweet cherries and in their fervor for these crops they forget about the simple charm of the humble apricot. So, to my surprise, fresh apricots did find their way to market this year – all lovely and ripe, their soft orange skin blushing red in spots. After eating our fill raw and fresh, and putting plenty in our dehydrator (a 9-tray Excalibur that I love and that you can find online if you’re a food preservation enthusiast like me), I fixed this dish – melted apricots with fresh raspberries. The following recipe may be simple, but it is delightful.
- 2 tbsp butter or ghee
- about 1 lb fresh apricots, (split in half and pitted)
- about 1 lb teaspoon ground cinnamon
- about 2 cups fresh raspberries
- fresh cream to serve, (if desired)
- Take out your very best cast iron skillet and place it over a medium flame. Heat the butter in the pan until it’s just melted and still foamy (note that ghee or clarified butter will not foam), then reduce the heat to medium-low.
- Toss the pitted and halved apricots into the foamy butter and stir with a wooden spoon so that the butter coats them. Allow them to soften, or melt, just a touch but don’t keep them over the heat too long or their skins will separate from their flesh resulting in a less appetizing dish. About two minutes over medium-low heat should suffice.
- Quickly stir in about 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon into the melting apricots, then immediately remove them from the heat and plate them.
- Top the melted with apricots with fresh raspberries and serve them with fresh, raw cream if you like.