Sunday, August 15, 2010

Summer, Stone fruit and Good to the Grain

Summer 2010 has been great for stone fruits - cherries, white peaches, nectarines, apricots and plums have been available everywhere and I don't know if its my summer 'goggles' talking but the crop of stone fruits available in my local area has been a little cheaper and a lot sweeter than usual! I decided to whip up a batch of cherry and apricot tarts after one successful trip to the market left me with an abundance of both.

I would suggest using any tart pastry that you like. I chose to experiment with a pastry recipe from Good to the Grain - an exceptional book that explores the use of alternative grains in baking. It features recipes using Kamut, Amaranth, Quinoa, Spelt and Teff flour, to name a few! The cover photograph is a mouthwatering tray of rhubarb tarts made with a cornflour based pastry that look, in my opinion, totally irresistible. So I swapped the rhubarb compote for one made with cherries and apricots and away I went. 

Cherry and Apricot Compote (this is my own recipe.. and if Im honest was just cobbled together... but it seems to work!)

250g fresh Apricots and 200g fresh Cherries (weight was taken before I de-seeded the fruit)
2 tablespoons of water
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla
2 tablespoons of light brown sugar
juice of half a lemon
a good slurp of good quality maple syrup (between 2-4 tablespoons depending on the sweetness of the fruit)

De-seed the fruit and chop the cherries into small rough chunks and slice the apricots into skinny wedges. Place into a saucepan with the water, vanilla and brown sugar. Bring to the boil and  reduce the heat allowing the fruit to simmer for about 30 minutes. Add lemon juice and maple syrup and leave on the heat for another 10 minutes. Take off the heat and allow to cool. The mixture should still be quite fluid (but when baked in the tart turns quite sticky or tacky). You can then spoon the compote into your pastry shells and bake accordingly.