Mini Apricot Eccles Cakes with Almond & Lavender
The idea for these little treats came to me whilst easting an apricot the other day... I cut it in half, opened it up and looked at it, and how similar the stone looked to an almond. Which gave me the idea of using a half apricot, with an almond to replace the stone, as a filling for a little "Eccles Cake", rather than the blueberries that are used in the original recipe... you have to use the ingredients whilst they are in season and at their best after all!
So... the oven was still on and still hot from my mushroom quiche and there was a piece of puff pastry left over. So I decided to give it and go and the rest is history! And yes, my simple little bite-size pastries will make history for you if you give them a go- I promise!
The only real prep-work to be done here is to prepare a little sugar for seasoning and decorating. I made this by simply grinding lavender and sugar together with my mortar and pestle- the smell and the flavor is amazing! And it is so easy!
Next, I split the apricots in half, removed the stones and added the almonds in their place. I sprinkled them lightly with the sugar and got busy cutting the puff pastry into circles of roughly twice the size of the apricots. I used one of those pastry/cookie cutter things, but you can always just use a glass or cut the pastry free-hand.
I sprinkled the pastry lightly with the sugar and laid the half apricot on top, then proceeded to fold over the edges of the pastry until it was sealed. If you end up with any open areas, simply patch it up with a little piece from the off-cuts- you will be placing them in the oven with the sealed side down anyway.
Once the pastries are sealed, set them down with the folded edge facing down and make 3 cuts into them. Don't worry about cutting all the way through- rather a little deeper than too shallow is my advice. But basically... that is all there is to it! At 350°F, these lovely little beauties will be ready in just 20 minutes- which leaves you with enough time to decide if you want to eat them hot or cold- because either way you are going to love them!
The apricot tastes a little tangy and tart from the baking and the sugar smoothes out the flavor and makes it mild again- and with that little hidden crunch from the almond and the subtle perfume of the lavender- these are perfect little Summer snacks! Add a little vanilla ice cream or a little custard... and they become truly fantastic! Enjoy!