My favorite apricot memory goes back about five summers, when I had the good fortune to "house sit" for two
weeks in Sante Fe. The house was large and comfortable, but the great cause for celebration was the enormous
apricot tree in the side yard.
When I arrived, I spotted a bed of fallen apricots beneath the majestic tree. A tall ladder standing nearby
invited picking the luscious fruits from on high. I had never eaten an apricot off the tree before, and I quickly
clambered up the ladder before unpacking my suitcase. Indeed, I went slightly insane for the first few days, eating
the luscious fruits about as fast as I could pluck them from the tree. The intense "apricotness" of this experience
left a lasting impression.
There were literally hundreds of these dense textured, fruity orbs at the peak of perfection and screaming for
attention. After I could eat no more, I starting halving, pitting, and drying the apricots in a slow oven.
I made apricot pies, apricot compotes, apricot cakes, and apricot muffins. I made new friends in the neighborhood
for the sole purpose of finding good homes for my apricot creations. Then I stocked the freezer with home-baked
goodies for my generous hosts. And still there were more apricots...
In New York City, where I live, there is a fruiting fig tree in a garden on the Lower East Side, and we all know
that a tree grows in Brooklyn, but I can assure you that it doesn't bear apricots. And the painful truth is that
it's near impossible to find a good fresh apricot in this otherwise great town. Every few years, when I'm feeling
particularly optimistic on a glorious summer's day, I get a yen for fresh apricots and buy some. After taking
a few bites, I vow never to do so again: the apricots we get in this part of the country suffer terribly from
That is, unless they are dried apricots. These days, I get my apricot fix by indulging in intensely sweet, creamy
organic dried apricots from California. These
delights are brownish, not the bright Halloween orange of apricots whose color is garishly dyed by chemical preservatives.
Try them in this bulgur pilaf scented with the spices of North Africa. The pilaf goes well with roasts and grills.
It's good warm or at room temperature.