Sunday, September 15, 2013

Honey Vanilla Roasted Apricot Butter

Apricots again. You know I love apricots. Rosy little blenheims, pixie-cot, and autumn royal. I love them fresh, but they really shine when cooked, soft and slumped, lightly sweetened and spiced. I love how roasting brings out the flavor of fruits and vegetables. The slow heat of the oven coaxes out the true flavor, even at the end of the season, even when the fruit is a little too firm, yielding a self-actualized fruit, the Platonic Ideal, of, in this case, apricots.

When I saw the technique for this oven roasted apricot butter, I had to try it. I knew it would make delicious apricot preserves, even with less-than-perfect, last-of-the-season fruit. The apricots linger with the honey overnight, then you slip them in the oven where the real love happens. Halfway through cooking time, I found the honey aroma a bit off-putting, and I nearly scrapped the whole batch. Don't be alarmed if you find that this is the case for you. It is worth it in the end and now I am rewarded with 5 more cups of delicious, tart, sweet, honey and vanilla infused apricot butter.

Honey Vanilla Roasted Apricot Butter
makes 5 cups
3.5 lbs apricots
1 1/4 cups honey
3 vanilla beans
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Halve and pit the apricots. Mix with the honey and one vanilla bean (split lengthwise) in an oven-proof pot or baking dish and allow to macerate in the refrigerator overnight.

In the morning, prepare the water bath. Sterilize the jars and lids. Heat the oven to 350F and slip the apricot mixture into the oven. Roast for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the apricots are reduced to a flavorsome, golden, buttery mush.

Remove from the oven. Add the lemon juice, remove the vanilla bean, and puree the apricots in a food processor or with an immersion blender.

Halve the vanilla beans and split them lengthwise. Into each jar, put half a vanilla bean, then add the hot apricot puree. Remove air bubbles and seal. Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.

Honey Vanilla Roasted Apricot Butter on Punk Domestics
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