Monday, 11 July 2011

Apricotines with Yogurt and White Chocolate Filled Apricots

July’s We Should Cocoa challenge has been set by Chele at Chocolate Teapot and this month we’ve been challenged to combine apricots with chocolate.
Well, I’ve got a special offer this month – two for the price of one. I intended these two little sweet treats to be served with coffee at the end of a meal but they could actually be used as a dessert in themselves – a sort of small café gourmand. (In case you haven’t come across it, the café gourmand consists of a few mini desserts served alongside a cup of coffee – it literally means a greedy coffee.)
Apricotines and Filled Apricots

Apricotines

Since I used it for last month’s Belleau Kitchen Random Recipe challenge I’ve become slightly obsessed with the Constance Spry Cookery book which was published back in the 1950s. One of the biscuit recipes in this venerable tome is for Orangines, which are made with candied orange peel. I’ve adapted this to dried apricots and to the food processor which makes the recipe a lot easier to make by removing all that 1950s-style chopping.

The biscuits manage to be chewy and crispy at the same time and, as well as being good for nibbling with coffee or tea, they would work well alongside creamy desserts or ice cream. Although I’ve decorated them with chocolate here, they’re pretty good without it too.

This amount should make between 50 and 60 small biscuits.

60 g blanched almonds
60 g dried apricots
60 g unsalted butter
60 g caster sugar
45 g plain flour
1 or 2 teaspoons of milk, if necessary
50 g dark chocolate

Preheat the oven to 160°C. Line a couple of oven trays with non-stick baking parchment or silicone sheets.

Put the almonds and dried apricots into the food processor and whiz them until very finely chopped. Add all the other ingredients except the milk and chocolate and whiz briefly until the mixture forms into a dough. If the mixture seems reluctant to come together then add the milk one teaspoon at a time and whiz briefly.

Place half-teaspoonfuls of the mixture onto the prepared oven trays and flatten and shape the dough into rounds with a slightly wet fork. (They’re best if they’re pretty thin, but personally I’m not too fussy about them being perfectly round.)

Bake in the oven for 9 –12 minutes – the biscuits should be browned around the edges but not too dark. Leave the biscuits to cool on the trays for a few minutes before removing and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack.

Melt the chocolate and drizzle randomly over the cold biscuits or dip the biscuits in the chocolate if you prefer. Leave to cool once again.
Apricotines

Yogurt and White Chocolate Filled Apricots

This is an adaptation of a Turkish sweet recipe from one of the books by the excellent Claudia Roden. The original certainly doesn’t contain chocolate and uses a thick cream filling but I decided to try using a yogurt base instead. My wife has been making labneh recently by straining low-fat Greek yogurt overnight and we decided to try this in sweet dishes as well as savoury. Happily it worked really well with the apricots and it has a lot less fat than mascarpone or cream.

125 g dried apricots (not too small)
125 g caster sugar
140 ml water
A squeeze or three of lemon
125 g (strained weight) Greek yogurt (2 – 3% fat works well), strained through muslin for about 6 hours or overnight
75 g white chocolate

Soak the dried apricots in water for at least 4 hours – do this even if the packet or the apricot seller tells you that they don’t need soaking. Add the sugar, water and lemon to a saucepan and bring to the boil while stirring. Drain the apricots, add them to the syrup and continue simmering for around 20 minutes until the apricots are very tender (but not falling apart) and the syrup has reduced enough to coat the apricots. Let them cool down.

Melt the white chocolate and allow to cool a little. Beat the chocolate into the strained yogurt. Take each apricot (carefully – they’ll be fragile) and tease open the slit where the stone was removed. Fill each apricot with a little of the chocolate and yogurt mix. (You might find it neater to pipe the filling into the apricots but a couple of teaspoons will do the job as well.) Chill the apricots until needed on non-stick paper.
Yogurt and White Chocolate Filled Apricots
Serve as many filled apricots with as many apricotines as the mood takes you along with a strong coffee – or just don’t bother with the coffee.

14 comments:

  1. Phil, these just look absolutely amazing!!! I was thinking of baking today as its really horrendously miserable weather out, and this is a perfect treat. I will probably have to halve the recipe, as I could easily see myself munching away on these until they were all gone.

    Thanks for sharing the recipes, and I also love the stuffed apricots, and they would be perfect as a low fat treat. I am wondering if you'll trade your Constance Spry for my Mangalore Ladies Club Cookbook :-))

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  2. OMG!!! I love your little stuffed apricots, they look like jewels... utterly divine and as for those mini little 'tines' ... genius work my friend... genius... i think this has been a good month for everyone... oh and glad that book has been an inspiration... perhaps I need another cookbook?

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  3. Two for the price of one indeed. Lovely biscuits and the stuffed apricots look fantastic, and no, I don't think I could skip the coffee :)

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  4. 2 entries! Well done you! Both look great, but those filled apricots are just something else!

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  5. Two entries Phil, that's just being greedy ;-) Both look lovely and would be good to bring out when trying to impress. The colour of the apricotines is fabulous. I had a phase of making labnah, then forgot about it, so thanks for the reminder - must get on to it.

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  6. I agree, you should stop showing off! Seriously, these both look amazing. I do a lot of 1950s-style baking by hand and have to remind myself that it's not cheating to use a processor. The apricotines recipe is an excellent example of why it's better to do other 1950s things, like putting on a clean apron before the man of the house returns...
    I have long coveted a copy of Constance Spry, can you post more recipes to feed my hunger?

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  7. Thanks for the comments everybody. I'm wondering if the real reason that I made two little treats is actually because I can never make up my mind - but I'm not sure.
    Kitchen Maid - I think there's every chance that there'll be more Spry-influenced recipes. I'm already playing around with a few of them. Oh, and I have three aprons but sadly none of them are very clean.

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  8. I want one of those filled apricot's, they sound like exactly the kind of thing I love to eat, delicious.

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  9. These really do appeal to me. Yum. I can imagine me eating one right now.

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  10. i love those apricotines! i can just imagine that delicious combination of flavour, yet so simple and i'm guessing, hardly any mess. brilliant! and so pretty too.

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  11. The apricot biscuits sound wonderful. I think they'd be pretty good with candied orange peel too!

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  12. Oh you are spoiling us this month. Love those apricots with the white chocolate filling oozing out ... but then the apricotines look mighty fine too ... where to start!

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  13. These look really good, so tempting, a MUST try recipe.

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  14. Love those little stuffed apricots, they'd be awesome with a cup of strong Turkish coffee. I really do need to add some Claudia Roden to my collection!

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