When in season, locally grown apricots can be heavenly. But too often, apricots purchased at the grocery stores can be a little hit and miss. Many of the apricots we see here in the states come from California, grown for large produce buyers like the grocery store chains. Yes they look lovely and firm and large with their colorful velvety skin, but most often they taste like cardboard. This is because they are harvested well before the fruit’s flavor has had a chance to develop. Apricots like these are disappointing. To have a better chance of getting good taxing ones… buy them locally. This way they are able to stay on the tree longer. Whether it’s at a farmer’s market or fruit stand on the side of road, you’ll have a much better chance of getting an apricot that actually tastes like an apricot. If an apricot is good, it will blow you away with its flavor and fragrance. It will smell like you want it to taste. It will feel heavy for its size. A friend recently gave me a bag of perfectly ripe apricots from Tonasket. They were seriously amazing. Tender, fragrant, and the perfect balance between sweet and tart. This is what apricots should taste like. Unfortunately they did not last long enough to make it into the tart.
Freeze for 30 minutes (or refrigerate for 1 hour). Line tart with parchment. Fill lined tart with a generous amount of rice, dried beans or pie weights. This will ensure that it holds it shape and edges will not sink. Place in 400F oven for 15 minutes, until set. Gently remove tart from the oven and carefully lift out the parchment and rice. Place tart back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes, until nicely golden. Cool completely. You can make this ahead.
Star Anise, infused in honey gives the roasted apricots a subtle exoticness.
Honey can be easily infused with different flavors by simply heating it up for a few minutes and letting whatever spice or herb seep in it over night. I often make rosemary honey and lavender honey to use in catering. Drizzled over fresh figs, it’s delectable. A cute jar of infused honey would make a great gift.
Apricots drizzled with the star anise infused honey are roasted in a 400F oven for 7-10 minutes. It doesn’t take very long…so be vigilant. Leaving them too long in a hot oven will result in mushy collapsed apricots. You don’t want this. You want them to hold their shape. The time is dependent on the ripeness of the apricot. Ripe apricots will literally take a few minutes. Less ripe, longer.