Dried osmanthus flowers is a chinese medicinal herb that’s believed to have excellent antioxidant properties and, more importantly- it improves complexion! I love the beautiful tiny blossoms, it’s peachy fragrance and delicate bittersweet and floral flavour. I used them to make a simple osmanthus tea and pomegranate jelly sweetened with plenty of honey. I’d recommend more honey than you’d think, the sweetness dials down when the jellies are chilled.
1 tablespoon dried osmanthus flowers (or to taste)
3 tablespoons honey (to taste)
2 1/2 teaspoon gelatin, bloomed in 30ml c0ld water
seeds from 1 small pomegranate
Bring the water to a boil, remove from heat and add the osmanthus flowers. Let it steep for 5 minutes then add then honey and gelatin. Divide into small glasses and sprinkle in the pomegranate seeds. Chill in the fridge until set, about 2 hours.
Rosemary and apricot, two things I immediately associate with chicken and jam respectively, are actually very complementary. Rosemary, which has a very distinctive scent and flavour is extremely intense and can easily overpower milder flavours. When paired (with some restraint) with sugar apricots which are sweet-sour, floral and with a similar robust temperament, neither flavours are overwhelmed and, is in fact, a very, very delicious combination.
I paired the two in a classic tarte tatin, one of my favourite desserts to make and eat. It’s very simple and understatedly chic. It’s a rojak recipe with parts from here and there; I made my go-to rough puff pastry which is robust and fail-proof and winged the caramelised fruit part.
Here’s how I did it, it’s not a recipe per se.. just a tarte tatin technique, I guess? I dunno.
Make the rough puff, you’ll only need half the recipe but you can always keep the other half and make eccles cakes! Halve and stone 1 punnet of sugar apricots (approx 20 fruit?), leave aside in a bowl. You don’t have to peel apricots. Then, make a caramel with 70g of sugar and just enough water to dampen the sugar. When the caramel reaches a dark golden colour, add 45g of butter. The caramel will split but keep stirring on the heat and it’ll eventually recombine. Pour into a 6″ tart tin (not loose-bottomed) and place 1 small sprig of rosemary in the middle of the pan (discretion is necessary when using rosemary!) then arrange the apricots cut side down in concentric circles on the caramel. Roll out the puff pastry to about 3-4mm thickness and cut a circle slightly larger than the tin. Cover the apricots with the pastry and push the sides down with a knife. Bake at 200°C for approx 25 minutes until pastry is golden. Flip onto a plate, be careful of the hot caramel. That’s it!
Crisp meringue, cool, creamy mascarpone and tart, buttery roasted apricots = heavenly! And if you haven’t got any apricots just the meringues and mascarpone make a delicious pair as well.
Apricots need a bit of coaxing from heat. They’re pretty insipid and spongy/mushy when raw but roasting, jamming, or stewing concentrates their flavour and makes them very, very apricoty. I really liked the combination of rosemary and apricot so I roasted them with a few sprigs of rosemary and also some honey, sugar, Jurançon (which is SO good) and a few chunks of butter. After 24 minutes of roasting at 180°, the apricots collapse into soft, jammy sacs bursting with flavour and the liquid reduces to a thick syrup. I ate about 4 whole apricots (!) on its own.. they were just too hard to resist. I also made a goats’ cheese bavarois and almond-oat crumble to accompany the apricots but I think I’ll just eat them all on its own in the end..
This tart is quite possibly the best thing I’ve made all year, I couldn’t stop eating it! It has a bold, sweet-savoury flavour which I find super addictive. The whole composition of the tart- the olive oil wholewheat crust, apricot-rosemary jam and goats’ cheese is just so bizzarre and new to me, but so clever! The apricot-rosemary jam is seriously the best jam I’ve ever had- sweet, slightly tart and a touch herbal from the rosemary which helps balance the sweetness. And I’ve never made a crust like this, it’s completely different from the pâte sucrée and pâte brisee we make in school, there’s no butter or egg in it, the entire thing is bound together with olive oil and lemon juice! Totally weird, but so good. It’s crunchy and crumbly, with nubbly bits of oatmeal and oat bran. The recipe is from one of my favourite French blogs, 543 pages avant la fin du monde.