French chef Michel Roux’s single-subject cookbooks are wonderfully informative, beautifully photographed and packed with recipes you’ll make over and over. Pick up Roux’s latest collection, Cheese, and prepare to cook with one of humanity’s favorite ingredients like never before. Stuff poached apricots with tangy mascarpone to end the night on the right note.
I came across this dessert recently when some friends invited me over for dinner. It is truly delicious, yet quick and easy to prepare. You need good-quality succulent dried apricots.
- 18-24 ready-to-eat dried apricots (depending on size)
- 300 grams caster sugar
- 600 mililiters water
- 300 grams mascarpone
- 1 vanilla pod (ideally Bourbon), or a few drops of vanilla extract
- 60 grams blanched pistachio nuts, roughly chopped
For the apricots
Carefully slit the dried apricots along one side to create an opening.
Dissolve the sugar in the water in a pan over a medium heat and bring to the boil. Add the apricots, bring back to a simmer and cook gently for 1–2 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool.
Once cooled, transfer the apricots with their syrup to a bowl, cover with cling film and place in the fridge.
A few hours before serving, drain the apricots well in a sieve set over a pan, to catch the syrup. Place the pan over a medium heat, bring to the boil and let bubble to reduce by about one-quarter, then pour into a bowl. Leave to cool, then cover and refrigerate.
Put the mascarpone into another bowl and work it with a wooden spoon, to soften. If using a vanilla pod, split the pod lengthways in half and scrape out the seeds into the mascarpone, using the back of a small knife. Mix well, to distribute the vanilla seeds evenly. If using vanilla extract, simply mix it into the mascarpone.
Transfer the vanilla mascarpone to a piping bag fitted with a 1cm plain nozzle and pipe the mixture generously inside each apricot to fill it. (Alternatively, you can use a teaspoon.)
Arrange the stuffed apricots side by side in a shallow dish, cover loosely with cling film and chill in the fridge for an hour or two before serving.
To serve, spoon some of the chilled syrup over and around the apricots and scatter the chopped pistachios over the top. Serve the rest of the syrup in a small jug for guests to help themselves.