December 30, 2005


You've been cooking up a storm, right? It'll be February before the kitchen is really clean again. The last thing you want to think about is a tart.

Don't think! Act!

Get some dried apricots. That's right: dried. You need 20 or 30. Throw them in 2c water, and leave them overnight in the refrigerator. Then, preheat your oven to 400°F and grab one of those refrigerated pie crusts you can buy at the supermarket. Unroll it on a baking sheet. Having reserved some of the water in which they've been soaking, drain those nice, round little reconstituted apricots (who knew?) and put them in the middle of the crust. Sprinkle with lemon juice, 3T sugar, a little vanilla and cardamon. Or kirsch. Fold up the edges of the tart. Don't be too facile: this is a rustic winter tart, it's supposed to look that way.

Pop in a 400°F oven for 40 minutes. If the fruit looks a little dry, sprinkle some of that reserved apricot water. Service with a small dollop of sour cream.

While googling, I saw a reference to a coulis of salt-roasted apricots. Do you suppose you could do that with dried apricots?

It turns out that you can reconstitute apricots just like mushrooms, to surprisingly good effect. Sally Schneider says that California apricots are more consistent than Turkish; I had Turkish on hand, and three of the apricots did seem soggy. They made a nice afternoon snack.

Update: Fazal Majid writes,

In my parent's hometown of Hyderabad, India, they have a traditional dessert for Eid called "Khubani ka mittha". It's a compote of reconstituted dried apricots, preferrably from Afghanistan, topped with whole almonds and malai, a very thick top cream from buffalo's milk.