The Fresh Loaf

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So many apricots (and a barley porridge apricot bread)

emkay's picture

So many apricots (and a barley porridge apricot bread)

Every June I eagerly await the arrival of John Driver's CandyCot apricots at the farmers' market. The apricots that he grows are unlike any other apricot I have ever eaten including the Blenheim. They are sweet and complex with a very concentrated flavor. According to their website, they measure between 26 and 32 on the Brix (sweetness) scale, while most supermarket varieties of apricots register in the low teens.

The growing season for these amazing apricots is short, and even shorter with this year's drought in California, so they're available for only 3 or 4 weeks. On their final market day, I got a great price on 25 pounds of "cosmetically challenged" apricots which are perfect for making pie, jam and ice cream. Here's a glimpse of what I did with all those lovely apricots.


Fresh apricot pie (with an all butter crust).



Refrigerator apricot jam (no pectin, no canning).


Macaron (filled with apricot Swiss buttercream and a dab of apricot jam).


Apricot sorbet.


Make ahead pie filling. Quartered apricots tossed with lemon juice, flour and a tiny bit of sugar and then frozen in the shape of a pie tin. Peel off the plastic bag and the frozen filling is ready to be dropped into the rolled out pie crust.




Of course I had to use some of them in a bread too. I bought some pressed barley (oshimugi) at the Asian supermarket earlier in the week, so I baked a barley porridge bread with fresh apricots.


Flours, water and levain were mixed into a shaggy mess. I let it rest for 40 minutes and then squeezed in the salt. Bulk fermentation was at room temperature (68F) for 4 hours with stretches and folds during the first 3 hours and undisturbed during the last hour. The barley porridge was added to the dough during the second S&F. The apricots were added during the third S&F.



Final proof of the batard was done at room temperature for 3 hours. Sadly, the dough stuck to the brotform so I had to pry it out. The top of the loaf was a bit wonky and wavy, but I tried to hide the damage with some creative snipping and scoring.



I shape retarded my boule in the refrigerator for 15 hours and the dough came out of the brotform easily. No crumb shot of the boule since I gave the loaf away.



There were nuggets of barley and apricot throughout the bread, but I think the dough could have handled even more barley. The apricots paired well with the earthiness of the barley.



The apricots chunks were soft, but not mushy, and bursting with flavor. It was almost like having dried apricots in the bread, but the fresh were super moist and without the chewiness or hardness of dried. I probably wouldn't use supermarket varieties of apricots in this bread as they tend to be a bit too watery, bland, and fibrous. But if you have some excellent apricots, then I highly recommend adding fresh apricots to your dough.





Janetcook's picture


What a spread!  I can tell you have been not only creative but busy as well.  Everything looks beautiful and delicious.

All the apricots brought THESE to mind.   So if there are any left overs…..

Have Fun,


emkay's picture

I did have a busy week trying to put all those apricots to good use. I ended up freezing about 10 pounds. Thanks for the link to the sticky buns. They look amazing and I might have to try them with some of the frozen apricots. 

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

I would like to be your friend, or if that does not work for you, then simply a house guest for dinner and dessert.

emkay's picture

Wouldn't it be great if we had a bakers' network where we would trade our baked goods? I could give you pie and macarons and you could give me whole wheat bread! 

mwilson's picture

A gorgeous array of apricot goodies there! Very impressive work displayed beautifully!  I really would like to try one of those apricots!



emkay's picture

I feel lucky to live in an area with an abundance of amazing apricots.  Thank you for your kind words, Michael!

dabrownman's picture

I've always used reconstituted dried apricots for the reasons you list fresh apricots aren't sweet and too watery.  Love the crumb of this bread.  Well done and

Happy baking

emkay's picture

It makes me sad that most supermarket apricots are so bad.  But then again, bad fruit in general makes me sad. 

golgi70's picture

All looks amazing.  Love the macaron.  They look spot on and delicous.  As does everything else.  I have a Belgian friend that convinced me to make a Smurf Pie for her birthday.  Your jam would probably take it to new heights.  Its a butter crust blind baked in a tart or pie tin, then filled with a layer of apricot jam, followed by creme legere (pastry cream lightened with whipped cream) and then doused with shaved white chocolate.  

Very Nice Baking


emkay's picture

I've never heard of Smurf Pie, but it sounds absolutely delicious. I think my 9-year old niece would love it if I made it for her upcoming birthday. She's a huge fan of white chocolate.Thanks Josh!

golgi70's picture

But I asked what treat she missed and it was smurf pie. Smurfentaart. And it's named after the little blue folks I watched on tv. Apparently they hail from Belgium. 


pmccool's picture

Everything looks so good and I can taste the apricots just from looking at them.


emkay's picture

The apricots were as good as they look in the pics. Thanks Paul!

Catomi's picture

That all looks delicious. I bet the barley porridge apricot bread would be sublime with some goat cheese - a little tang to go with the sweetness. I like your frozen pie filling idea, too. 

emkay's picture

Goat cheese would be lovely indeed. I can't take credit for the frozen pie filling idea. I got it from Sunset Magazine. :)

Isand66's picture

So you like apricots I see :).

Beautiful bread and other goodies.  Thanks for sharing.

I love the porridge breads and will post my latest tomorrow.  Not as interesting as an apricot version though!



emkay's picture

One of the best parts of summer is the stone fruit, but my favorite is definitely the Candy Cot. Can't wait to see your newest porridge creation!