An homage in the shape of a gluten free apricot slice

If people could be a fruit, my maternal Nana Dorothy would have been an apricot. Our grandparents owned an orchard in the Central Otago region of the South Island of New Zealand. Pop’s apricot trees were special, as was the fruit they produced. They tasted of sunshine with a hint of savoury tartness. My memories of Nana are inexorably woven together with this small pale golden orange fruit. The blushing velvety exterior of an apricot still reminds me of her luminous complexion and whilst she was warm and kind, Dorothy also had a sharp wit and tongue when it was required.

If I close my eyes and remember those visits, I think of rosehips and grey wild thyme, whispering pines and the muted golden browns and tans of the surrounding craggy Central Otago hills. Tartan woollen blankets, bountiful stone fruit, apples, pears and the low rocky walls made of the unique local schist stone of the region. I can see Pop on the tractor amongst the variegated foliage of the fruit trees. I can hear the ear splitting bark of the cherry gun and watch the frost pots being readied when temperatures were set to drop.

Dorothy was a good cook and baker. How very grown up I felt when helping her carry the wicker baskets laden with a morning tea of something homemade down to the workers. I can see and almost smell the fat juicy sausages that Nana served with her homemade, piquant apricot sauce. Her baking tin always contained a slice or cake. She was generous with food, with her love and with her particularly joyously infectious laugh that I can still hear in my head.

This apricot slice is my homage to her. Sweet, buttery, tropically coconut and vanilla; beautifully offset by the faintly tart fruit. The apricot and almond meal are happy bedmates. I wish she was still with us so I could serve her a generous portion alongside a cup of tea and hear her laugh, just one more time. If you were a fruit, what fruit would you be? I think I too, would be an apricot.

GLUTEN FREE APRICOT SLICE

WHAT YOU NEED
185g butter, room temperature
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence or 1/2 tsp vanilla bean powder
100g almond meal
135g gluten free self-raising flour
1/2 cup dessicated coconut
12 fresh apricots (500g), halved and de-stoned
1 heaped tablespoon Apricot jam to glaze

HOW YOU DO IT
Preheat oven to 180C (170C fan-forced) and line a 18cm x 28cm lamington tin with baking paper.
Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla.
Sift the almond meal and self-raising flour into a bowl, then stir in the coconut. Gently fold the flour mixture into the butter mixture.
Spread the mixture evenly over the base of the prepared pan.
Arrange the apricot halves cut side up on the cake batter, pressing them in slightly.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the slice comes out clean.
Whilst the cake is still hot, heat the apricot jam and brush it over the apricots.
Cool completely in the pan, then cut and serve.
Cooking Notes: this can also be served hot as a dessert with ice-cream, yoghurt or mix a tablespoon of honey into mascarpone or ricotta.

A Cheergerm adaptation of two recipes from the Taste Website. Links after photos.

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image

http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/26489/coconut+apricot+slice

http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/347/apricot+and+almond+slice

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31 thoughts on “An homage in the shape of a gluten free apricot slice

  1. I never knew either of my grandmothers, so I shall have to share yours. She sounds like the epitome of what grandmothers should be like. I dearly love apricots, and this slice will probably get a tryout when fresh apricots are in season here again. I say here, but I’m in Melbourne for a couple of days; what I meant was north Queensland home…

      • I always feel envious of people with great granny memories… Yes, I’m having another awesome trip, and it’s been so long since I was in Melbourne that it’s fun seeing all the new stuff. I just wish I was a bit more mobile so I could rush around like a maniac and see more, but sadly I have to pace myself a bit. Perhaps that’s not a bad thing… at least I’ll get home in better shape!

  2. Heartfelt! I only knew one of my grandmothers, and she was not the type who baked. More of a bonbon eating on the sofa type 🙂 So it is a pleasure to enjoy your Dorothy vicariously, with her bountiful tea basket and her tart tongue (only when called for, naturally).
    I do love an apricot, and it is difficult to get really fresh ones here. They are mostly shipped from California.

  3. A beautiful homage to a way of life and a wonderful aunt. And the recipe looks terrific, too. My mother used to make “squares” with dried apricots and I love them for their tartness and the shortbread-like biscuit that supported the apricot top. I believe I still have that recipe kicking around and you’ve made me want to try it. Thanks, Lisa.

  4. Very nice to tribute to your granny. By the sounds of it she had everything you ask for in a grandmother – and a baked goods to boot! I am not a huge fruit fan but do love apricots. This slice has my mouth watering in anticipation of the summer season! A bit of a ways to go for us yet…;-(

    • Yes, you aren’t quite there, seasonally speaking. Almost! (Well, kind of…) Thanks Mel, memory is a strange thing, what your forget and what you remember. I have very vivid memories of her. As do others in our family.

  5. Like Kate, i also grew up without grandmas. What lovely memories, Cheery, you lucky lady.
    Coincidentally , I’m a grandma on a mission today, off to spend this very day with the only grandchild not at school yet ( one year to go).
    Not a fruit, I know but I’d be an avocado if I wasn’t a grandma. They are cool veggies delicious but underrated.

  6. I love your first line “If people could be a fruit”. Wonderful tribute to your Nan. She sounds like she was a lovely (sweet and tart) person. Great cake, but please post her apricot sauce recipe. It sounds perfect for sausages.

    • Thanks KW. 😊 Yes, I too was pondering the apricot sauce recipe. I don’t have it but I will have to see if anyone else has it. Luckily, Mum is currently in NZ on a Central Otago Rail Trail four day bike trip with her sisters and respective spouses. So hopefully someone has it!

  7. I love your beautiful narrative telling us of this warm and generous woman. Your grandmother would be proud of you and your delicious looking slice Lisa – the presentation is stunning with all those halved apricots that have been pressed down into the batter. What I’d give for a slice right now to go with my cuppa!

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