One of my favourite things about this time of year is all the stone fruits that are available – nectarines, cherries, apricots… there isn’t one I dislike. They come in big bags and baskets overflowing, and I’m never able to finish them all before they go bad – so I turn to making baked goods like this Peach Kuchen, or freezing them for winter uses. The taste of summer’s glorious bounty, even if it’s just in a smoothie, brightens up colder months.
A few years ago, I learned of an incredibly simple recipe from Pierre Hermé, which consisted of roasting apricots with some Earl Grey tea, lemon zest and sugar in individual packets of parchment. When served, the steam released upon opening the packets would surprise you with its heady aromas, and the combination of Earl Grey and apricots was truly a revelation to me. I decided to make an ice cream version of this long ago, and this year I finally did.
It should be noted that without the apricots, this recipe also makes a delightful Earl Grey ice cream. (with apologies to my friend LF, it’s even better than Bakerbots’ version, which is why I’m hesitant to serve it to my friends. Bakerbots is a delightful thing, and I’m not in the business of ruining my friends’ appreciation for things worth liking!) It’s all in the quality of the tea blend – and I use a delicious, potent blend called Cream of Avalon, made by a wonderful local company.
Apricot & Earl Grey Ice Cream
Inspired by Desserts by Pierre Hermé
4 tsp loose leaf earl grey tea
1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy (whipping) cream
6 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup roasted apricot puree (see below)
1 cup diced roasted apricots (see below)
Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl until it forms lemon yellow ribbons.
Combine milk, cream and tea leaves in a pot and place over medium heat, just until it comes to a boil.
Temper the eggs by pouring 1/2 cup of the hot cream mixture into them while whisking, then pour the egg mixture into the pot of cream, stirring continuously, until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Cover and let cool completely, then chill for at least 8 hours in the fridge.
Just before churning, strain the cream/egg mixture through a fine mesh sieve, pressing down on the solids to extract all of the liquid.
Churn in an ice cream maker according to directions, adding in the diced apricots 5 minutes before churning is done, and folding in the apricot puree just before transferring to a freezer-safe container. Freeze for another few hours, until fully set.
Earl Grey Roasted Apricots
zest of 1/2 lemon
3/8 c sugar
freshly ground black pepper (3 turns)
1 tsp Earl Grey tea
4 tbsp honey
Preheat oven to 400F.
Cut each apricot into 8 wedges.
In a spice grinder or food processor, grind sugar, lemon zest, pepper, and tea leaves until well blended.
Toss apricot sections with the sugar mixture and transfer everything to a small roasting pan, spreading out in an even layer. Seal the pan with aluminum foil.
Bake for 15 minutes.
When cool enough to handle, dice half of the apricots and mix in 2 tablespoons honey. Chill in fridge.
Blend the other half of the apricots, as well as any roasting juices, with the remaining 2 tablespoons honey. Chill in fridge.