Recipes such as apricot paste or drying apricots (another of Elizabeth’s recipes) would have allowed her to preserve the fruit and prolong the enjoyment of this exotic treat.
- Apricots 500g (1lb)
- Granulated sugar Around 350g (12oz)
- A little sweet or flavourless oil, e.g. almond or vegetable
- Chop the apricots into small pieces, removing the stones.
- Place them in a heavy-based pan with a tablespoon of water and cook them until they are very soft and mushy.
- Puree them by pushing through a sieve or using a blender.
- Weigh the amount of puree and add the same amount of granulated sugar.
- Return to the pan and cook again until the mixture is considerably thickened and darker in colour. When it is ready it should be coming away from the bottom of the pan. To test it, place a small amount on a cold plate to cool for a minute or two. When it is cool enough to handle, you should be able to roll it into a ball between your fingers.
- Spread a sheet of greaseproof paper or marble slab with a small amount of oil and use a spatula to scrape the mixture neatly onto it to cool.
- When cool, either cut it into strips and tie in knots, or shape into fruit shapes. Sprinkle with a little more sugar.
To make a Past of Apricocks (quoted from the original recipe):
"Take your Apricocks and pare them, and take the stones out of them put them into a Pot and cover them close, sett them into a Kettle of Watter, and let them stand infusing in it 2 or 3 hours, then take them and strayne them through a Sieve, then put to a pound of your Pulpe of Apricocks halfe a pound of the Pulpe of boyled Pippins, then clarify a pound of sugar, and boyle it to a candy height, and put your Pulpe of Pippins and Apricocks into it. Keep it stirring over the fire till it comes cleane from the bottom of the Pan, then lay it upon plaites, dry it and keep it for use."