Apricot Streusel Torte, apricot jam, bottled apricots and fresh apricots
on the 'Apricot Altar' (aka the kitchen table).
I was charmed to read in the Wikipedia entry on apricots that “The Chinese associate the apricot with education and medicine. For instance, the classical word 杏壇 (literally: 'apricot altar') which means "educational circle", is still widely used in written language.” How appropriate that I baked an apricot cake to go with morning coffee today, the first day of the Chinese New Year in 2012. Especially as it is 'my' year, the year of the Water Dragon.
The raw ingredients and seasonings for Apricot Chutney
(Digby Law's recipe).
Actually, I feel that I have been working in honour of apricots for most of the past week, making apricot jam and apricot chutney, and freezing and bottling the fruit. As I do so I think that it is a pity that their fresh season is so short, since although they are great for preserving, they are still their most delicious when ripe and fresh from the tree.
Still a few apricots ripening on our big Moorpark tree on January 23.
One big tree provides enough fruit for all the preserves our household needs, and some to give away. Also some to share with the birds. But I have planted another tree so that there is always a younger one coming on, and we will never lack for this versatile fruit.
The recipe below for Apricot Streusel* Torte makes one of the most delicious cakes I have ever baked. It is a classic German recipe, with layers of soft cake, juicy fruit, and crumb (streusel) topping. You can make it with other soft fruits as well, such as plums, cherries or blueberries.
* Pronounced 'stroy-zel'
APRICOT STREUSEL TORTE
1 Cake base
125 g butter
125g white sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp baking powder
2 tablespoons rum
2 Fruit filling
750g apricots, washed and sliced
3 Streusel topping
100g raw sugar
200 g flour
1 tsp cinnamon
Wash, stone, slice and weigh the apricots.
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees C.
Butter a 26cm spring tin.
Cream the butter, sugar, salt and vanilla essence together.
Beat in the eggs one at a time, followed by the flour and baking powder sifted together,
then the rum.
Put the dough into the tin and smooth it out.
Put the apricots on top of the dough and bake the cake for 20-30 minutes
(until the dough is risen but still soft).
While the cake is baking cream the second measure of butter and the raw sugar together.
Sift the flour and cinnamon on to the well-creamed butter and sugar.
Using an egg beater, beat the mixture briefly (and gently) to form streusel 'crumbs'.
Sprinkle the streusel over the half-baked cake, and press down gently.
Put the cake back in the oven for another 25 minutes.
Leave to cool for 5 minutes before removing from the tin.