Mrs Simkins

Country Smallholding - - Inside This Month -

Apricot treats

AN APRICOT tree laden with ripe fruit in late sum­mer is a fine sight for any gar­dener. Th­ese beau­ti­ful but­tery bakes com­ple­ment the tart fruit per­fectly.

The cut sur­faces of an apricot tend to ox­i­dise and lemon juice helps to halt the process. Even if they brown a lit­tle, they will still taste fab­u­lous.

Apricot Short­cake

Cuts into 16 squares

2 level ta­ble­spoons apricot jam 450g apri­cots 2 ta­ble­spoons lemon juice

Plus: 250g plain flour 2 level tea­spoons bak­ing pow­der 75g but­ter, diced 75g golden caster sugar, plus more for fin­ish­ing 1 medium egg, beaten 4 ta­ble­spoons milk

Method Pre­heat the oven to 180°C (fan oven) gas mark 6 or equiv­a­lent. You will need a but­tered 20cm (8in) brownie tin or sim­i­lar, bot­tom lined with grease­proof pa­per and cut to fit. Heat the jam gently in a heavy-bot­tomed pan un­til soft­en­ing. Wash the apri­cots. Pat dry. Halve along the groove and re­move the stone. Cut each half in two or three equal sec­tions. Add to the pan. Squeeze over the lemon juice. Cook gently on a low heat turn­ing care­fully oc­ca­sion­ally. Sift the flour and bak­ing pow­der into a bowl. Rub in the but­ter, stir in the sugar and make a cen­tral well. Com­bine the egg and milk and pour into the dry in­gre­di­ents. Grad­u­ally in­cor­po­rate dry in­gre­di­ents into the wet with a wooden spoon, then bring the mix­ture to­gether with your hands. Gently knead into a smooth ball. Di­vide into two equal pieces. Roll the first piece gently into a rough rec­tan­gle the same size as the tin and press lightly over the bot­tom to make the base. Ar­range the fill­ing on top. Roll out a sec­ond piece of dough and cover the apri­cots. Sprin­kle with more sugar and bake for ap­prox­i­mately 20 min­utes un­til risen and golden. Cool in the tin and mark into squares.

Apricot short­cake is a mouth-wa­ter­ing and fruity treat

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