Friday - - GOOD FOOD -

Saf­fron has been used in bak­ing for cen­turies. The sweet taste of this lux­u­ri­ous spice is per­fect with the fresh zesty apri­cots. Makes 6 Prep time: 20 mins, plus chill­ing time Cook­ing time: 1 hour 20 mins but­ter, for greas­ing 2 tbsp plain flour, plus ex­tra for dust­ing 1 pack of ready-made sweet short­crust pastry 800g fresh apri­cots, halved 1/2 tsp ground cin­na­mon 4–6 saf­fron strands 2 tsp vanilla paste 200g light mus­co­v­ado su­gar 1 egg, beaten 1 tbsp golden caster su­gar crème fraîche, to serve

1But­ter and flour 6 spring­form cake tins that are 10cm in di­am­e­ter and 4cm deep.

2Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured sur­face 2 to 3mm thick. Use it to line the tins, re­serv­ing the trim­mings. Chill the pastry cases in the re­frig­er­a­tor for 20 mins.

3Mean­while, put apri­cots, flour, spices, vanilla and su­gar into a large pan and cook over a medium heat for 10 mins, or un­til the sauce is smooth but the apri­cots are still nice and firm. Pour the mix­ture into a sieve, with a bowl un­der­neath to col­lect the liq­uid. Ar­range the apri­cots in the pastry cases.

4Pre­heat the oven to 180°C (fan 160°C). Roll out the pastry trim­mings and cut out lids, us­ing the tins as a guide. Brush the top edges of the pastry cases with some of the beaten egg.

5Top pies with the lids and press and pinch the edges of the pastry to­gether to seal. Brush the tops with the rest of the beaten egg and sprin­kle over the golden caster su­gar.

6Cut out 6 small squares of grease­proof paper and roll into cone shapes. Poke one in the top of each pie to act as a fun­nel for the steam to es­cape, then bake the pies in the oven for 25 to 30 mins, or un­til golden. Serve with crème fraîche driz­zled with the re­served cook­ing juices from the apri­cots.


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