Apricots have a short season, and it's long-awaited. After our tree has blossomed out, a late freeze often deprives us of the fruits -- such a disappointment!
In the years that the tree does bear fruit, I throw together an Apricot Crumble, a quick, yummy, and healthy-ish dessert. Of course, fresh, ripe apricots are also divine when eaten out-of-hand or made into jam!
Unlike crisps, fruit crumbles have a buttery streusel rather than a granola-like topping. Crumble topping is more baked-in and less crunchy than a crisp.
Because I adore Linzer torte, the crumble recipe has a jammy apricot base flavored with almond extract as well as vanilla. As a final touch, sliced or slivered almonds are strewn across the cinnamon-spiced streusel.
A slightly unusual addition to the fruit in this apricot crumble is tapioca. Some cooks use tapioca as a go-to gelling agent for fruit pie fillings. In the crumble, it creates a pudding-like fruity bottom.
Tapioca is a gluten-free starch extracted from cassava tubers. The recipe calls for the quick-cooking pearls often used to make tapioca pudding. Larger pearls are an ingredient in bubble (boba) tea.
Although it is 100% starch, tapioca does boast a few minerals, particularly calcium and iron. Tapioca is easily digested and unlikely to cause any GI distress.
Although late freezes are more the rule than the exception, the branches of the old tree are heavy with green fruit this year. Our challenge now is to keep the birds from devouring all those luscious orange-fleshed 'cots as they mature.
Apricots: Nutrition and facts
Many sources list apricot season as May to August, but most eating varieties ripen in June and July in the northern hemisphere. Of course, canned and dried apricots are available year-round.
The most common genus and species are Prunus armeniaca.
According to the USDA's database of foods, 3.5 ounces (100 g) of apricots have about 50 calories. This serving size is 2 small or 1 ½ large apricots.
Other nutritional aspects of apricots:
- 11 g carbohydrate
- 1.4 g protein
- 2 g fiber
- 259 mg potassium
- 96 mcg vitamin A: more than 10% of Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for adults
- 10 mg vitamin C: more than 10% of the RDA for adults
- 0.89 mg vitamin E
- 1094 mcg beta carotene
Apricots are a good source of vitamins A and C and contribute potassium, vitamin E, and carotenoids. These carotenoids include lutein, zeaxanthin, and a generous amount of beta carotene -- all important nutrients for eye health.
(For more information about eye health and nutrition, read my post: The Eyes Have It: Summer Salad Days. 👀)
Other polyphenols found in apricots are catechins and chlorogenic acid, nutrients usually associated with green tea and coffee. Both are beneficial antioxidants that may be helpful with blood pressure and blood sugar (glucose) regulation.
All told, the antioxidant combination of vitamins C, E, and polyphenols plus the good amount of fiber make apricots a very nutritious fruit. Antioxidants protect your cells from environmental damage. Fiber nourishes your microbiome and promotes regularity and gut function.
Picking and storing apricots
It's best to leave apricots on the tree until they become golden-orange. At the market or grocery, choose firm, smooth-skinned fruits with a deep orange hue. Sometimes, a ripe apricot will sport a reddish blush.
Avoid fruits that are yellow-green or wrinkled. Ripe fruits do give a little when lightly palpated but should not be mushy.
Once an apricot is off the tree, it will not get any sweeter, but it will become softer and juicier when placed in a windowsill. You can also soften unripe fruits in a brown paper bag on a countertop for one to two days.
Once apricots are soft place them in the refrigerator. They will keep for up to a week. After a couple of days of refrigeration, apricots develop a less pleasing texture for snacking. But, if you're using the fruit to make this crumble recipe or jam -- any cooked dish or condiment -- texture is not a problem.
When the 'cots on our tree are glowing orange all at once, I will pick some that are not quite ripe to save them from becoming bird food. The neighborhood fowl look forward to the short apricot season as much as I do!
- 8-inch square baking dish
- mixing bowls
- measuring cups
- wooden spoons and spatulas
For the jammy apricot base
- 4 cups apricots fresh sliced, about 8-10
- 2 Tablespoons tapioca pearls quick-cooking
- 2 Tablespoons cane sugar
- 1 Tablespoon stevia Truvia or another brand
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
For the crumble topping
- ¼ cup almond flour
- ¼ cup white whole-wheat flour can substitute gluten-free flour or regular AP flour
- 1½ Tablespoons brown Truvia
- 1½ Tablespoons cane sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon cloves
- pinch salt
- 4 Tablespoons butter unsalted
- ⅓ cup almonds sliced or slivered
- Wash hands thoroughly, according to CDC guidelines.
- Gather all ingredients.
- Heat oven to 350 F and spray an 8x8 baking dish with baking spray.
Make the fruit base
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine apricot slices, tapioca, sugar, stevia, lemon juice, almond extract, and vanilla. Mix thoroughly with wooden spoon or spatula. Sliced apricots should be coated with all ingredients. Taste, and add more sugar or stevia if more sweetness is needed.
- Pour the apricot mixture into a prepared bqking dish.
Make the crumble topping
- In another medium bowl, stir together the flours, brown Truvia, sugar, spices, and salt.
- Chop the cold butter into 4 or more pieces and add to the dry ingredients. Using a pastry cutter, work the butter into the flour and spices, forming a clumpy streusel topping.*See note at the bottom of the recipe.
- Distribute the butter-flour streusel clumps evenly over the top of the fruit. Sprinkle with sliced or slivered almonds.Bake about 35 minutes.Start checking for doneness at 30 minutes. When the crumble is ready, the streusel will be golden and browned, and the fruit will bubble up, jammy on the sides of the baking dish.
- Remove from oven and let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving with whipped topping or vanilla frozen dessert!
- Place the flours and spices in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to mix.
- Cut up the butter and add to the processor bowl. Pulse several times until the dough starts to clump together.
If you are shopping for a processor, here are a couple to consider: This inexpensive, functional base model from Cuisinart will hold 8 cups. Cuisinart offers larger food processors, too.
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