Apricot Jam with Almonds

Made with dried apricots, this jam can be prepared at any time of the

1 lb. dried apricots

3 pints 1 cups water juice of

1 lemon

3 lb. sugar

2 oz. almonds, blanched

Wash the apricots and put them in a large bowl with the water, making sure that they are completely covered. Leave them to soak for 24 hours.

Transfer the apricots and the water to a preserving-pan or a very large saucepan. Over moderate heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, simmer for 30 minutes, or until the fruit is very tender.

Add the lemon juice and sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Put in the almonds, bring the jam to the boil and continue to boil rapidly for 15 minutes.

To test the jam for setting, remove pan from the heat and put a spoonful of jam on a cold plate or saucer and allow it to cool. Setting point has been reached when the surface of the jam sets and wrinkles when you push it with your finger. If the setting point has not been reached, return the pan to the heat and continue boiling, testing every few minutes.

When the setting point is reached, skim the scum off the surface of the jam with a slotted spoon.

Using a jug or ladle, fill clean, warm, dry jars to within -J-inch of the tops.

Wipe the outside and the inside rim of the jars with a warm, damp cloth to remove any drops of jam.

While the jam is still hot, put a small round of wax paper in each jar. Then put on a vegetable parchment or cellophane cover and fasten with string or an elastic band. Label the jars and, when cold, store them in a cool, dry cupboard.

Apricot Pudding

This delicious pudding, made with dried apricots, is firm on top but soft and creamy underneath. It is inexpensive and very easy to make.

6 oz. dried apricots

10 fl. oz. water

4 eggs grated rind and juice of

1 lemon

5 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons melted butter

6 oz. sugar a pinch of salt

10 fl. oz. milk

Preheat the oven to moderate 350°F (Gas Mark 4, 180°C). Lightly grease an ovenproof souffle dish.

Put the apricots in a medium-sized saucepan with the water. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and then simmer for 10 minutes, or until the apricots are tender. Put the apricots and the liquid into an electric blender and blend, or push through a sieve to make a puree.

Separate the whites of the eggs from the yolks. Set the egg whites aside. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat the yolks thoroughly with a whisk or a rotary beater, adding the grated lemon rind and the juice, the flour, melted butter, sugar, salt, milk and the apricot puree.

Beat until well mixed.

Whisk the egg whites until they stand up in peaks when the whisk is removed. Fold the egg whites into the apricot mixture.

Pour into the souffle dish.

Put 1 inch of water into a baking pan and place the souffle dish in it. Place in the centre of the oven and bake for 40 minutes or until the top of the pudding is firm to the touch. Eat warm or cold.

Apricot Salad

This salad, made with fresh apricots and served with a tarragon cream dressing, is a good accompaniment to hot or cold ham.

2 lb. ripe apricots

4 tablespoons thick sour cream

3 tablespoons tarragon vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

½ teaspoon salt

4 grindings black pepper a few tarragon leaves, chopped

Blanch and peel the apricots. Cut each apricot in half and remove the stone. Arrange the apricot halves in a glass serving bowl. Crack the stones with a nutcracker or hammer. Take out the kernels, chop them and set aside.

To make the dressing, put the sour cream into a bowl and stir in the vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. When it is thoroughly mixed taste the dressing and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Just before serving, pour the dressing over the apricots. Sprinkle with the tarragon leaves and chopped kernels.

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