Despite being sweet, could apricot cakes and other desserts be good for you? We bet you’re dying to know! In this new blog, we bring you facts you probably didn’t know about the fruit. If you’re wondering about the fruit’s traditional uses, look no further. Cherry on top? We also prepared a selection of tasty apricot cakes and pastries near you.
Apricots: Their Story
Did you know apricots are originally from Asia? Yes, the fruit akin to peaches comes from the same continent! More specifically, apricots were originally cultivated in China before being introduced to Middle Eastern countries like Turkey and Iran, the world’s biggest producers. In the Middle East and North Africa, many desserts call for dried apricots. These include dry apricot pudding or sweet meat tagines with dried apricots and orange blossom.
In fact, in Middle Eastern traditions, dried apricot paste is called amardine, which means “moon of the faith” in Arabic. People around the world use this paste to make certain pastries, like apricot rugelach or dried apricot pie. Most often in the Middle East, amardine is used to make a juice that people observing Ramadan drink after sunset. Comparable to the typical North American fruit rolls, amardine has a certain thickness and texture that differentiates it from the rolls. What’s more, apricot paste has great health benefits… and is even tastier in puff pastries or cakes!
As children, adults didn’t necessarily teach us that cakes and other sweet baked goods are good for our health. However, cakes and other sweets containing apricots, especially fresh or dried, may have some interesting health benefits. For one, dried apricots are very rich in potassium and fiber, which keep our bodies healthy and able to detoxify. Yes, 6 dried apricots can contain up to 10g of fiber! They also contain vitamin A, calcium, and magnesium.
As for fresh apricots, they are a good source of antioxidants, such as beta carotene, vitamins A, C, and E. Fresh apricots also contain flavonoids, a group of antioxidants that protect against diseases such as heart failure and diabetes. The flavonoids found in apricots contribute to the neutralization of free radicals, which damage our cells and cause oxidative stress. By eating a fresh apricot, an apricot cheesecake, or a dried apricot cake, you can help your body detoxify and prevent oxidative stress and diseases! Who said medicine couldn’t be tasty?
Whether you like them fresh or dry, there is an apricot dessert for all palates! From traditional to contemporary, apricots lend themselves well to all sorts of sweet recipes. In the more customary desserts, we have apricot cheesecake, Newfoundland apricot pound cake, and the famous apricot pie. All pictured above, these desserts feature fresh cooked apricots or dried apricots in the case of the pound cake.
As these desserts show, apricots pair very nicely with various nuts, which complement the sweet taste of the fruit with earthy flavours. The apricot cheesecake, for instance, features a biscuit base with crushed hazelnuts and a cheese mousse with lemon zest, apricot jelly, and apricot slices. The apricot pie above consists of flaky puff pastry with almond cream and fresh caramelized apricots.
The Newfoundland apricot cake is a popular Christmas treat, but is obviously delicious to enjoy year-round! Instead of fresh fruit, this dessert contains freshly dried apricots. Other ingredients include toasted hazelnuts, flour, sugar, butter, eggs, and evaporated milk. Whether you enjoy desserts with fresh or dried apricots, you are sure to get some health benefits from both!
If you’re more of a fan of contemporary desserts, there are plenty of those with apricots too. Liqueur dessert lovers, you may have found your next sweet to try! Yes, we’re talking about an apricot and amaretto cannoli! Did you know liquor makers extract amaretto from apricot kernels? As it turns out, all parts of the fruit are edible (surely after a bit of processing, when it comes to the stone). Prime Italian desserts, these cannoli feature the same ricotta cheese filling but with a boozy and fruity twist.
In the realm of apricot cakes and other sweets, there are also apricot upside-down cakes, white wine-soaked apricot cakes, and apricot jellies. There’s even fresh apricot bars or dessert quesadillas with apricots! With the health benefits of apricots in mind and so many tasty options, you are surely in for a treat! Head here to find apricot desserts near you.
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