Yesterday I traveled to Chikuma City. Chikuma is well-known for its apricot orchards. Myself, and a couple of friends visited an orchard and picked apricots together. We had apricot soft cream. It was the most delicious soft cream I have tasted while in Japan!
The apricots we picked were not quite ripe yet. However, in a couple of days, they will be good for jam! I wanted to find some apricots that were ripe for baking and eating soon, so we stopped at a small farm stand run by an old couple. They let us try each of the varieties of apricots that they were selling. The apricots were so juicy and sweet. It was a flavor from my childhood. In Japanese there is a word for something that takes you back to a place of nostalgia. Natsukashii. That aroma was it. I planned to but a kilogram, but instead I bought two. It was also one of those moments that I was aware that my Japanese is not nearly as bad as I make it out to be. I can communicate easily.
I made a apricot tart today. Ripe apricots tossed in sugar and arranged in pate brisee.
My hands are so warm, I forgot how much easier it is to work with chilled dough. A few minutes in the freezer and the dough was ready to work with again!
The apricots I bought at the farm stand were ripe and ready to be eaten. I cut them and tossed them a quarter cup of sugar and a pinch of salt before arranging them in the tart crust. I baked the tart for 40 minutes at 180C (400F)
The finished tart was delicious. Something magical happened in the oven. The apricots became the best they could be. Summer is a delicious time of year.