In the back corner of my friend Rosalie’s garden is the biggest apricot tree you have ever seen. It’s taller than her shed and as wide as a small house. One side was hit by lightning some years ago but kept on growing; bent, gnarly but determined.
About a week ago, Rosalie announced on Facebook:
I have apricots! If you want some please come over. I am prepared to do home deliveries within reasonable proximity.
This was an offer too good to refuse.
After school yesterday, my fifth grader and I went on an apricot picking mission to Rosalie’s house and gathered as many as I could stuff into the basket on the back of my bike.
Rosalie’s crop of many hundreds of apricots is at its peak for just a couple of weeks each December, and she frantically bakes, preserves and gives away as many as she possibly can.
Today I, too, joined the apricot preserving frenzy. I bottled some, made a large batch of jam, and whipped up an apricot and almond crumble for dessert, which I served with an egg custard. Any damaged or overripe fruit was happily gobbled up by my chooks.
This recipe for apricot and almond crumble is adapted from one in Maggie Beer’s Maggie’s Harvest. I used wholemeal flour instead of white and raw almonds instead of almond meal, and I omitted the flaked almonds suggested by Maggie because I didn’t have any.
- 30 large ripe apricots, halved and stoned
- Sugar, for sprinkling
- 125g wholemeal flour
- 100g sugar
- 100g raw almonds, ground in a food processor
- 175g unsalted butter
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees C/180 degrees C fan-forced.
- Arrange apricot halves in shallow glass or ceramic baking dish (I used a lasagne dish).
- Sprinkle with sugar.
- Mix the crumble ingredients together in a bowl, rubbing in the butter with your fingers.
- Spread the crumble mixture over the fruit.
- Bake for around 30 minutes or until fruit is well-cooked and bubbling and crumble is golden-brown.
- Serve with custard, cream or ice cream.