Farm Fresh

… Fresh on to the farm. Here is an occassional chronicle of a new family in a small town.

Apricots

My moms neighbor has a tree that hangs over the fence. All week (mid August) I have been climbing up a precarious ladder to pick them. Who knew? I never thought I would like these things but I can’t resist and they are so beautiful. Plus Justin’s friend Ryan brought us 20lbs from his tree. I froze two trays worth- Apricot Dacquiri’s anyone? We’re drying a bunch and I couldn’t resist the following jam recipe.

Apricot Rosemary Jam from http://www.foodinjars.com/2011/07/urban-preserving-apricot-rosemary-jam/#more-2002
makes 4 half pints- I made two batches and cut the rosemary in half and used lemon juice (2 1/2 tbsp). It took longer to get jammy than I thought necessary but it took about 25 minutes. It is good! But sort of weird.

4 cups mashed apricots (about two pounds whole fruit)
2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary
1 lemon, juiced

Prepare a small boiling water bath canner and 4 half pint jars. Place lids in a small pan of water and set to a bare simmer.

Combine mashed apricots, sugar and rosemary in a roomy, non-reactive pot and bring to a boil. Let cook for 7-15 minutes*, until the fruit thickens and runs slowly and thickly off the back of a spoon.

When jam seems thick and spreadable, add the lemon juice. Stir to combine. Remove pot from heat.

Carefully ladle jam into four half pint jars (depending on the concentration of the sugars in the fruit, it may reduce down further and leave you with just three half pints. Prepare to be surprised). Wipe rims, apply lids and rings and process in your small boiling water canner for 10 minutes.

When time is up, remove jars from pot. Let cool. When jars are cool enough to handle, remove rings and test seals. If seals are good, store jars in a cool, dark place. If any of the jars did not seal, put those jars in the fridge and use within a month or two.

*Please remember that cook times are approximations that can vary greatly depending on the width of your pot, the amount of water in the fruit and even the humidity in the air. Don’t just blindly rely on that time frame, use your senses to help you.

Apricot Upside Down Cake from Martha Stewart.

Martha Bakes, January 2011

  • Yield Makes five 6-inch cakes or 36 mini cakes

Ingredients

  • For the Fruit Enhancer

    • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
    • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
    • 1 teaspoon dark rum
    • 2 cups light-brown sugar, packed
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • For the Cake

    • 2 1/2 pounds nectarines, plums, or apricots, about 10 to 15
    • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
    • 1 1/2 cups cake flour, not self-rising
    • 1 tablespoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
    • 1 3/4 cups sugar, plus more for sprinkling fruit
    • 4 large eggs
    • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    • 1 1/4 cups milk

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the fruit enhancer: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, maple syrup, dark rum, light-brown sugar, vanilla extract, and salt until well blended.
  2. Spray five 6-by-3-inch round cake pans or three 12-cup standard muffin tins with cooking spray; if using cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Divide fruit enhancer evenly among cake pans or muffin tins and spread with an offset spatula to make smooth.
  3. Slice fruit into 1/4-inch wedges. Starting from the inside and working outwards, arrange fruit slices in a fanlike, circular pattern on top of fruit enhancer, using about 2 to 3 pieces fruit per cake. If making mini upside-down cakes, slice fruit into circular, cross-sectional slices about 1/4-inch thick, using one round slice per muffin tin. You can also use thin wedges or slices for the mini upside-down cakes, and arrange in a decorative fashion.
  4. Make cake: Into a medium bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  5. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in eggs, one at a time, and then beat in vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until combined after each addition.
  6. Divide the batter between the prepared pans, and smooth with an offset spatula. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until the cakes are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the centers comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes for the 6-inch cakes, or 20 to 25 minutes for the mini upside-down cakes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 30 minutes, or 20 minutes for minis. Loosen side of cake with small offset spatula or paring knife. Invert cakes onto a rack set atop a baking sheet; peel off the parchment if necessary. Serve warm or cool.
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Filed under: Food, Garden

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