Fresh Apricot Compote with Summer Berries

By Elizabeth Gawthrop Riely

This recipe, with apricots and a mix of fresh-picked berries, speaks eloquently of summer’s evanescence. Instead of orange-flavored liqueur, you can add a teaspoon of orange flower water for a hint of exoticism.

Makes about 6 servings.

Ingredients 

1/2 cup sugar One 2-inch strip orange zest 2 pounds fresh ripe apricots 2 tablespoons orange-flavored liqueur or fresh orange juice 1 to 2 cups fresh berries such as raspberries, blueberries, and red currants

Directions

Put the sugar in a saucepan with 1 cup water and the orange zest. Bring to a boil and let cook gently without stirring until the sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Add the apricots and orange liqueur or juice, cover, and poach over low heat just until the apricots are tender, about 5 minutes, turning once midway. Do not overcook. If they are done, carefully take them out with a slotted spoon. If firm, let them cool in the syrup. (Err on the side of undercooking.)

When cool enough to handle, cut each apricot in half along the natural line and remove the pit. Discard the zest. Return the apricots to the syrup, and just before serving stir in the berries.