Last week, I was in the Roussillon area in southwest France, the region between the Pyrenees mountains and the Mediterranean, which is a major fruit producing area.
In fact, it is the second-biggest producing area in France after the Provence and France is the second-biggest grower in Europe.
The apricot harvest had been somewhat delayed due to the late start of warm weather, and when we drove around after a great Castellan cuisine lunch in Tautavel, at Le Petit Gris, we bought several kilo’s straight from a farmer for two euro per kilo. That is a low price for the consumer and the farmer gets more than what the supermarkets pay him.
It was busy on the farm as workers sorted the apricots on size and ripeness (they prefer sending unripe apricots to the big cities and supermarkets so that the fruit can mature during transport).
We bought some ripe ones for consumption during the following days and some less ripe ones for a compote I would make back home.
The compote can be used as part of breakfast, with yoghurt, in cakes, sauces and on bread.
It is less solid, and sweet, than a jam because you would use more sugar and some agar agar in confiture.
Here I added some vanilla sugar and cinnamon for taste and some lemon juice to help it set (as its acid enhances the working of the pectins in the fruit).
There are recipes that call for water but that is not necessary when you have good and juicy apricots. My recipe is relatively light on sugar because I wanted to underline the taste of the fruit and because too much sugar is not healthy, while this apricot compote is pure goodness. It lasts only a week in the refrigerator, with larger quantities of sugar the compote would become a preserve and could last a bit longer.
You could store the compote in a bowl or in cleaned jam pots as in the picture.
- Three kilo’s of apricots
- 250 grammes of powdered sugar
- 22.5 grammes of vanilla sugar
- One tablespoon of lemon juice
- Three teaspoons of cinnamon
- Wash the apricots, cut them in half to remove the pits, remove any hard bits around the stem and cut each half in two.
- Put the apricots in a large pan, add the sugars, cinnamon and lemon juice.
- Cook on low heat for some 30-45 minutes, turning regularly, until the compote has the consistency you want while keeping some of the aspects of the quartered fruit (the longer you cook the more it will become a uniform stew).
- Let it cool and serve.