This light summer dessert was served to us on the terrace of a friend’s house near Perpignan, overlooking the sea after a typically French buffet lunch. Lots of well chilled rosé and good company. I wish I were there now…

I’m writing this on a British mid-May day; light drizzle after days of intermittent rain, temperature hovering around 8.5°C, a chance of frost tonight with an anticipated low of -2°C. Luckily, this dish brings its own sunshine.

I have been known to garnish the dessert with a pinch of dried sweet lavender flowers. I’m not sure whether this is an improvement or not (to me it’s the scent of my mother’s Yardley talc), but it’s very Southern French. A pinch of ground cinnamon is a good alternative if you’re not a fan of lavender, especially if you use Greek Hymettus honey.

Ripe, juicy fruits are essential —  a more difficult task in Britain, alas, than in the Languedoc.

  • 2  –  3 fresh, ripe apricots per person, you can use 1 white or yellow nectarine or peach instead­ — whatever is the best and ripest available
  • Thick, full-fat Greek yoghurt, or full-fat crème fraîche
  • Pecan nuts or almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • Chopped dried fruit, such as dates, figs or dried cranberries
  • Acacia or Hymettus honey
  • A pinch of dried sweet lavender flowers or ground cinnamon (optional). Note: all lavender varieties are edible, but sweet lavender is the best-tasting

  • Place 1 tablespoon of Greek yoghurt or crème fraîche in the bottom of a ramekin or small bowl and top it with several halves of stoned apricots. If you’re using peaches or nectarines, cut them in half, remove the stone and then slice each half into three. Use 5 or 6 pieces per portion.
  • Top with 2 tablespoons of yoghurt or crème fraîche. Pour over a generous teaspoon of honey and sprinkle with a tablespoon of mixed chopped nuts and dried fruits and the lavender flowers or cinnamon.
  • If the apricots look good but they’re not as ripe and juicy as you’d hope, all is not lost. Make a simple syrup from 300ml of water, 100g sugar and the juice of 1 lemon. Bring it to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the halved and stoned apricots, bring back up to a boil, remove the pan from the heat and let the apricots cool in the syrup. Refrigerate until needed, drain the apricots and use them as above.
Vi's Apricot Dessert

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