Fresh apricots are such a beautiful fruit;orange freckled red by the heat of the sun. Cooking apricots brings out their unique flavour and smell. The fresh apricot season always make me think that summer has started even if the sun doesn’t always shine down on their arrival. The first cooking session to celebrate the glory of their presence has to be a jam. That way you get to preserve their delightful and delicious flavour for longer, lining it up in the store cupboard for when the colder months return. If you have not made it yet have a go at bubbling up the apricot and vanilla jam (previous post) it will make you happy and everyone you share it with! Another good reason for making the jam, is that its gets used with the fresh apricots in the centre of this tray bake giving an extra punch of fruitiness!
If you can’t get hold of the apricots just replace them with a layer of fresh raspberries, strawberries, quartered peaches or nectarines. Dried apricots give a wonderful tangy flavour too, just soak some ( large packet ) in apple juice over night and then use them in the same way as the fresh apricots.
The Iceland poppies in the back ground are my all time favourite poppy Papaver nudicaule ‘Meadow Pastels’ a stunning biennial. I love to look at them in the garden awaiting for every single bud to unfold and the bumble bees do too!
Cutting a few to bring into the house is also a pleasure, they look great in bottles just simply arranged in single stems.
- 10 ripe apricots, halved, stone discarded
- 1 jar apricot jam
- For the base
- 140g butter
- 80g golden caster sugar
- 140g plain flour
- 80g cornflour
- For the topping
- 100g self raising flour
- 60g butter
- 60g golden caster sugar
- 40g oats
- 40g flaked almonds
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- Preheat the oven to 180℃ / gas mark 4 and line a 30cm by 22cm baking tray or pyrex dish with baking parchment ensuring the baking parchment comes up and over the sides a bit.
- Make the base by putting all the ingredients into a bowl and using your finger tips rub together into a fine bread crumb consistency.
- Tip this into the lined baking tray and press it down firmly and evenly with your hands, put this into the fridge for 20 minutes.Then bake in the middle of a preheated oven for 12 minutes or until golden.
- Allow to cool.
- Make the crumble topping by putting the flour, butter and sugar into a mixing bowl and rub together into a bread crumb consistency. Stir in the oats, spices and flaked almonds.
- Spoon and spread the apricot jam over the shortbread base and position the apricots on top.
- Spoon over the crumble mix and put back into the oven for a further 20 minutes or until golden brown.
- Serve warm like you would a crumble or cool completely and cut up into slices.
Sunny baking days…….
I love this method of making short bread so simple and easy to follow. Lining with baking parchment all the way up the sides of the baking dish makes for easy lifting out and slicing up.
Allow the shortbread base to cool down as you halve and de stone the apricots. Alternative jams could be used to cover the shortbread. Try raspberry, strawberry, rhubarb or blackcurrant or whatever takes your fancy!
This delicious tray bake can be eaten warm as you would a crumble with a dollop of thick cream, creme fraiche or natural yoghurt. Or let it cool down and cut it up into slices and enjoy it with a pot of freshly brewed tea or coffee at any time of the day! Store in an airtight container and enjoy it the next day, the flavours get even better.