It was Dano’s birthday last night, and for the past few years we’ve celebrated with a home-cooked meal and a really fantastic yeasted sugar cake, usually served alongside some fruit compote. Last year, it was boozy prunes — dried plums cured in Armagnac, if you’re fancy — but we didn’t have any around this time, so I made something different, from an old recipe over at the terrific Splendid Table blog.
Serve the compote alongside your favorite simple cake recipe — polenta pound cake, angelfood, good ol’ yellow cake — or over ice cream. I will say, too, that just a little bit of the simple syrup produced in this recipe is really good in a gin and tonic.
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Dried Apricots in Cardamom Syrup Recipe
From The Splendid Table, recipe by Sally Schneider
- 5 cups water
- 1 cup sugar, or more to taste
- 3 to 4 tablespoons lemon juice, to taste
- 1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
- 15 green cardamom pods
- 1 1/2 pound dried apricots
- In a medium nonreactive saucepan, combine the water, sugar, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, half the cardamom pods and the vanilla bean, seeds scraped out and added with the bean. Crack open the remaining cardamom pods — whack them with the side of a knife, like you would to smash garlic — and add the black seeds to the pan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then simmer 5 minutes.
- Reduce the heat, add the apricots and the cook at a bare simmer for five minutes. Remove from the heat and let the apricots sit, uncovered, to continue plumping for 4 or 5 hours, or until you’re ready to eat them. Taste the syrup and add additional lemon juice if necessary. Store the apricots in clean, dry jars in the fridge. The syrup will thicken over time — just add a little water if it’s too thick.