Monday, January 14, 2013

Roasted Apricot Gelato

Roasted Apricot Gelato 3

I love this time of year, when the ice cream maker comes out of the cupboard and starts to work overtime, and beautiful summer berries and stone fruit are available in abundance.  Now I make and enjoy homemade ice creams and sorbets all year round, but this is the time when I really want to go to town churning out tubs full of luscious, deep flavoured, fruity gelato.

A bowlful of apricots I had on hand this week were destined for exactly this treatment I decided.  I actually used slightly under-ripe fruit because I wanted that little bit of tartness, but I was also looking for the depth of flavour that comes from fully ripe fruit, so achieved that by roasting the apricots first with a little brown sugar and butter.  The brown sugar and butter more or less turned into caramel, and the apricots really intensified in flavour.  Then it was just a matter of blitzing the roasted apricots to a puree.  This is a really good way of preserving apricots for use in ice cream throughout the year - simply freeze the pureed fruit in a snaplock bag in batches ready to whip out any time you want to make ice cream.  You can also do the same thing with nectarines and peaches.

I hope you'll give this a go - it's pretty darn good.  If you fancy a little extra texture, you could try serving this with crumbled amaretti biscuits sprinkled over the top.  Don't have an ice cream machine - take my advice and invest in one - I promise you it will be worth it.  I shared this with my good friends, Cliff & Clare, who came to stay on the weekend - they were so smitten Cliff was thinking that he would get Clare an ice cream maker for her birthday!

Roasted Apricot Gelato Recipe
Makes approximately 1 litre
Click here for a printable copy of this recipe

6x medium-large fresh apricots
brown sugar
butter

6x large egg yolks, free range
1/2 cup sugar
325 ml (11 fl oz) milk
100 ml (3.5 fl oz) cream
1x vanilla bean

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F).  Cut apricots in half - remove and discard the stones.  Place apricots cut side up in an ovenproof dish that is just big enough to fit them quite snugly.  Sprinkle each apricot half with a little brown sugar, and top each with a small knob of butter.

Roasted Apricot Gelato 1

Place in hot oven and roast until the apricots have softened and started to collapse, and the sugar and butter have merged with the oozing fruit juices to become almost the consistency of caramel sauce.

Roasted Apricot Gelato 2

This will take about 30 minutes, and it is helpful to baste the fruit with the juices half way through.  Allow to cool completely then, using a food processor or stick blender, blitz to a puree.

Place egg yolks in a medium bowl with half of the sugar, and whisk until pale.  Set aside.

Put the remaining sugar in a medium sized, heavy bottomed pan, with the milk and cream.  Split the vanilla bean down the middle and scrape out the seeds, adding both the seeds and the bean to the pan with the milk and cream.  Set pan over moderate heat and bring just to a boil.  Remove from heat immediately.

Now, whisking constantly, slowly pour about half of the milk and cream mixture into the egg mixture.  Then return all of this mixture to the remaining milk and cream in the saucepan - keep whisking constantly as you go.

Return pan to a low heat, and stir constantly until the mixture begins to thicken.  A good indication that it's ready is when all the frothy bubbles from the surface disappear.  Also the mixture will coat the back of a spoon, and when you run your finger through the mixture the edges of the mixture will not run back together.

Remove from the heat and immediately strain through a sieve into a clean bowl set over an ice bath.  Keep stirring until the mixture has cooled completely.

Now stir the cooled apricot puree into the custard, add the vanilla bean which was strained out back into the custard, and refrigerate for 24 hours.  Now remove the vanilla bean (do not throw away), and churn the custard in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.  Serve straight away or freeze for several hours to firm up.

Roasted Apricot Gelato 4

What to do with that vanilla bean?  There's plenty of flavour left in that bean so don't discard it.  Rinse thoroughly under cold water, then set on a paper towel on your kitchen window sill until dry.  Then put into your jar of caster sugar to have a constant supply of vanilla flavoured sugar.

This will be my submission to Sweet New Zealand, inspired by Alessandra Zecchini and hosted this month by the lovely Arfi at HomeMadeS.

Sweet New Zealand Badge A

13 comments:

  1. That looks absolutely wonderful!

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  2. Wow! I think apricots are under utiized, this needs to be made..........

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  3. I am on a ice cream making kick this summer and this post has inspired me to puree some fruit now and use for ice cream later. Blindly obvious when I think about it but thanks for the inspiration.

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  4. I can vouch for this recipe, I don't know when I've had such delicious gelato and having Sue make it for us was the best part. Thanks, Sue!

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  5. Looks absolutely divine Sue. I love the idea to roast the apricots first with butter and sugar to make a caramel. Will have to pick up some apricots at the market this Saturday I think :)
    And the photos look great.

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  6. Thank you for this inspiration. I've been looking for ways to keep my morning smoothie fix going into the colder months. I'm going to roast some apricots and freeze them in smoothie-sized portions, ready to pop in the blender. Maybe without the butter!!

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  7. Oh, this looks yummy. I'm afraid of getting an ice cream maker because I think I'll just never stop eating ice cream. But oh, this particular ice cream recipe has me thinking...

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  8. Perfect Sue, the apricots I have bought lately would benefit from a roasting, they are a little sour. I made tarts from them instead!

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  9. Perfect, perfect, perfect. That's just what I want to say, Sue :)) Thanks for your entry.

    X
    Arfi

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  10. Heavenly! So perfect for these wonderfully hot sunny summer days we have been having :)

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  11. This looks divine! I had mountains of apricots recently but now they are all gone :-(

    I'll be pinning this for next year!

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