Makes 2 quarts
The lushness of apricots combined with the fennel and anise-flavored liqueur creates an elegant winter dessert. Cinnamon basil and cinnamon liqueur make a spicy alternative. Serve the whole apricots in a footed dish, perhaps embellished with crème fraîche or mascarpone, a creamy dessert cheese, and plain butter or sugar cookies.
• 3 pounds fresh apricots
• 2 1/2 cups water
• 1/2 cup anisette
• 2 cups sugar
• 4 six-inch sprigs fresh green or bronze fennel
1. Prepare the jars, lids, and boiling-water bath.
2. Wash and dry the apricots, then prick each one several times with a toothpick or skewer. Combine the water, anisette, and sugar in a pan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture boils and the sugar is dissolved. Add the apricots and simmer for 3 minutes. Fill each hot, dry jar with the fruit and two fennel sprigs, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Pour the hot liquid over the fruit until just covered. Wipe the rims with a clean towel and attach the lids securely. Place the jars in the boiling-water bath, and when the water returns to a boil, process for 25 minutes.
3. Remove the jars, cool, label, and store.
Maggie Oster writes extensively about herbs, food, gardening, cooking, landscape design, flowers, and crafts. Her books include Recipes from an American Herb Garden (New York: Macmillan, 1993) and Herbal Vinegar (Pownal, Vermont: Storey Communications, 1994). When she’s not on the road, she’s in her garden or kitchen in Indiana or Kentucky.
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