Cheap Recipe: Broiler-Kissed Apricots & Sweet Vanilla Glaze

24 Jun

For a printable version of this recipe and complete ingredients listing, click here.

This glaze could make an old army boot palatable. So just imagine what it does for farmstand-fresh fruit.

I picked up some fresh apricots at Save-A-Lot the other day. They seemed so bright and cheery and just, well, summer-y.

Until I took a bite. Yowsa, were they sour!

I don’t mean a little tart, either. I mean that type of sour bite at which your tonsils spontaneously cramp up, clench down, and begin to twist inward on themselves as they create a gravitational singularity within the event horizon you previously referred to as your neck.

A black hole of sourness just devoured my tonsils. (Photo from gwu.edu)

That’s right. I’m talking “your-digestive-system-just-became-a-black-hole” SOUR.

And yet, they still looked good. They had plenty of flavor and a good, firm texture, if one could just get past that whole sourness issue–which, with a little creativity and some homemade vanilla syrup, I finally did.

The easy solution with sour fruit is to peel it, slice it, sugar it up, and leave it sitting out until it makes its own juice. The problem with that method, however, is that 99 percent of the time, your fruit comes out of its sugar bath completely limp and texture-less. Not to mention that it takes forever.

Cut apricots in half, leaving skin on but removing pits.

My way is quicker, healthier (leaves more pectin/fiber intact for your body to break down), and makes for a perfectly festive little summer side dish/dessert.

Flip upward to retain more firmness & tartness.

Convert oven to BROIL setting and turn on. Slice 6 fresh apricots in half, leaving the peels on. Remove pits.

Place apricot halves in a deep, broiler-safe pan. (In retrospect, the ceramic dish I used probably is not considered broiler-safe, so you might want to stick with metal or glass.)

Now, depending on how soft or firm you prefer your fruit (and how ripe it was to begin with), you can prepare the apricots one of two different ways: 1.) Arrange halves pit-side-up to keep a firmer bite, or 2.) flip them over (pit-side-down) to absorb more moisture and soften up.

Rest centers face-down for a softer, sweeter result.

After placing the apricots in the pan, take a measuring cup with a spout and fill with about 1/2 cup very hot tap water. (Or you can take lukewarm water and nuke it for about 45 seconds.)

Vanilla, sugar and hot water are all you need for this easy syrup.

To the water, add 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract (cheap imitation will do fine, too). That may seem like a lot of vanilla. And you’re right. It is.  🙂

Stir the mixture until sugar dissolves, forming a thin syrup. Pour syrup over the apricots in the pan.

Drizzle apricots with the warm syrup before broiling.

If you’re broiling them center up, Be sure to fill the pit cavities with liquid. Pour over all parts of apricots and allow syrup to collect in the bottom of the pan surrounding the fruit.

If you want, you can garnish the centers with smaller fruits (like berries) at any point, but you might want to let the apricots broil a few minutes first before adding; the berries tend to broil (and scorch) faster than the firm apricots.

Garnish with berries if desired.

(You can alternatively just garnish the completely cooked fruit with berries after it comes out of the oven, or leave the garnish out altogether. Doesn’t matter.)

 By the way, your kitchen will smell SO heavenly when the broiler temps hit that vanilla sauce, too. Man, oh man. You may feel your cheeks flushing red, it smells so wonderfully delicious.

Serve as a side dish alongside cottage cheese or green salad; or spoon a little bit of whipped cream over it for a fresh, light dessert. I served mine in place of applesauce alongside a slow-cooked pork roast (shown below).

Adding color and variety to a platter of seasoned pork roast.

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