Baked Apricots with Honey

Every summer it happens: I go crazy. Fruit crazy.

Symptoms of Summer Fruit Crazy include: buying more summer fruit than could possibly be eaten in one week on a weekly basis, covering the kitchen counter with ripening peaches, plums, apricots and nectarines, obsessively squeezing said fruit to check for optimum ripeness, and eating perfectly ripe fruit over the sink, with much juice-dripping and happy sighing, as many times as humanly possible over the course of the summer. Oh, and constantly battling fruit flies*.

What happens when my weekly haul exceeds even the limits of my fruit-crazed consumption? I preserve it in small amounts, so I can keep it at peak flavor for a little longer. Baking apricots turns them soft and jammy while keeping their shape intact, so you end up without bright orange discs of sweet, tangy fruit. Filling the hollow cups of each apricot half with a little honey draws out the juices, so as an added bonus, you end up with a honeyed golden apricot syrup that you can drizzle over yogurt or mix into soda water or transfer to an IV bag for immediate intravenous delivery of summer fruit deliciousness.

Stored in a jar in the refrigerator, the baked apricots and their syrup are easy to add to yogurt or oatmeal in the morning, and transform store-bought vanilla ice cream or pound cake into a legitimately impressive dinner party dessert. You can eat them on toast like a sort of jam, or muddle them with bourbon, lemon juice and a spoonful of the syrup for an easy cocktail. (Or just mix the syrup with soda water for a non-alcoholic beverage.)

Best of all? No fruit flies in the fridge.


* This simple trick really works for getting rid of fruit flies. To keep them from coming back, make sure to clean up any juice drips and toss overripe or moldy fruit.

Baked Apricots with Honey

Yield: about 1 1/2 cups

{ Ingredients }

10-12 small, ripe apricots (about 2/3 pound)
2 tablespoons honey
Pinch of salt

{ Directions }

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cut each apricot in half and remove the pit. Arrange cut side up in a baking dish, cake pan and pie dish. Evenly drizzle the honey over the apricots, filling the hollow of each half. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt.

Bake for 15 minutes. Using a fork, flip each half cut side down, being careful not to splash yourself with the hot syrup inside the hollows. Bake for another 5-10 minutes, until the apricots are soft to the touch and slightly wrinkled, but have not yet totally collapsed. Let cool and transfer to a jar or other covered container.

Apricots will keep for one week in the refrigerator.

• If your apricots are very soft and ripe, start checking for doneness earlier. If they are a little underripe or on the larger side, they may need to bake longer.

• Enjoy the baked apricots and their syrup on top of yogurt, ice cream or cottage cheese, mixed into oatmeal, muddled in cocktails (or mocktails), spooned over cake or biscuits, or smooshed on toast with nut butter or cream cheese.