The Gourmet Touch: How I learned to like apricots
by Prudence Hilburn
Special to The Star
Apr 25, 2012 | 1550 views |  0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
“Try it. You might like it.” I put these words into action about seven years ago, when my friend and assistant, Mauna, finally persuaded me to use apricots in some of my new recipes. Apricots were one of Mauna’s favorites, but I had never really liked them.

When I found some dried apricots in my kitchen pantry, I decided to see what I could do with them. I also noticed a box of pie crust mix, so it seemed that cookies would be a good choice.

My first taste of the popular apricot nectar cake many years ago convinced me that apricots and lemon are a tasty duo. I decided to use lemon in some way in my new cookie. Knowing that too much liquid, such as lemon juice, might affect the texture of the cookie, I opted for a little pure lemon extract.

I tasted a cookie — and yielded to the temptation to try another. Before I knew it, I had eaten at least five cookies. And I thought I didn’t like apricots.

I shared them with Mauna, because I always valued her opinion. Mauna, in turn, shared them with her two little great-nephews, Noah Cole and Carter. Noah Cole’s comment made such an impression on me that I smile every time that I think about it. He was about five years old at the time, and his unbiased opinion was that the cookies tasted like a “flavor wonderland.”

Later, when I was planning the menu for a class I was teaching on interesting breakfast foods, I started digging through boxes of clipped and handwritten recipes. I found the following recipe for Apricot Delight, which is wonderful served with pancakes or waffles. I would be glad to give credit to the person who created this great recipe, if only I knew who did it. In my opinion, this rates a blue ribbon.

I am glad that I took Mauna’s advice and started using more of the “fruit candy” known as apricots in my cooking.

Apricot Lemon Drops

1 (11 ounce) box pie crust mix
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure lemon extract
2/3 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine pie crust mix, baking soda and sugar. Stir to mix. Add eggs and lemon extract. Beat until well mixed. Stir in apricots and pecans. Drop from a teaspoon onto ungreased or parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing the cookies about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until delicately browned. Remove from baking sheet immediately onto a rack to cool.

Apricot Delight

1 (17 ounce) can apricot halves
1 1/2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Drain apricots, reserving 1 cup of liquid. Cut apricots into fourths. Melt butter in heavy saucepan over low heat; add flour, stirring until smooth. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly (do not allow to brown). Gradually add reserved apricot juice, sugar and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly. Stir in apricots and pecans.

Serve over pancakes or waffles, or ice cream.
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The Gourmet Touch: How I learned to like apricots by Prudence Hilburn
Special to The Star

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