January 9th is National Apricot Day.
The apricot is a delicately flavored fruit that makes a wonderfully juicy treat. In Latin, apricot means precious. In China where they originated, they are known as “Moons of the Faithful”. They spread westward to Persia and the Mediterranean and eventually to the New World.
- Apricots are members of the rose family.
- The Latin name is Prunus armeniaca.
- “Amaretto di Saronno” is a popular liqueur made from Apricot pits.
- Apricots and peaches share a common lineage. Apricots are smaller and have smooth pits that are easily removed.
- McDonalds in New Zealand serves apricot pies instead of cherry pies.
- In ancient Egypt, the apricot was called the “egg of the sun.”
Fresh apricots are available in June and July, so why Apricot Day is in January is a mystery. Since canned and dried apricots are what’s handy during the winter months, here is a recipe utilizing one of those!
Almond Apricot Sour Cream Cake
- 16 oz .can apricot halves in syrup
- 2 cups cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
Grease a 9-inch cake pan and line with greased baking parchment or wax paper.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Drain the apricots and discard the liquid; cut each half in half, set aside.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, set aside.
In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the mixture is light in color and fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until thoroughly mixed.
Scrape down the bowl, add the vanilla and almond extracts, and mix until combined.
On low speed, add, in order, a third of the flour mixture, then half of the sour cream, then half the remaining flour mixture, the remaining sour cream and the remaining flour, mixing just to combine after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and level it with a spatula.
Arrange the apricot quarters in a decorative pattern on top of the batter.
Sprinkle the sliced almonds over any exposed batter.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted near the middle comes out clean.
Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
Turn the cake out onto a plate, remove the parchment or wax paper liner from the bottom and then flip the cake onto a cooling rack.
Apricot Goodies, in association with Zazzle.com.
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