Lavender and Goat Cheese Filled Apricots
Life as a student at Northwest Wine Academy is full of challenges. The biggest challenge of them all? What food and wine pairing to present on the final night of class. This quarter the class I took was Varietals III which covers a variety of libations beyond wine such as beer, cider, sake, and spirits.
The idea for the pairing I presented came to me the night we tasted ciders in class. While tasting an apricot cider, this recipe that I have prepared for dinner parties came to mind. It’s a nice way to end a meal when you don’t feel like having an overly sweet treat.
I’ve adapted this from The Lavender Cookbook by Sharon Shipley. Serves 20.
- 1/2 cup apple cider (I used non-alcoholic sparkling cider)
- 2 tablespoons Triple sec
- 30 dried apricot halves
- 1 teaspoon dried culinary lavender buds
- 1 10.5 ounce log of goat cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup cream
- 1/3 cup roasted pistachio nuts
Bring the apple cider and Triple sec to boil in a small pan. Add the apricots and reduce heat to medium low. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Drain the liquid from the apricots and set them on a sheet pan lined with paper towels.
Grind the lavender in a spice grinder (I use a small coffee grinder), or mortar and pestle. Combine the lavender with the goat cheese and cream in the bowl of a food processor and process until the mixture is evenly combined. Put the mixture in a Ziploc bag, cut out a corner of the bag, and pipe a small amount of the cheese mixture on each apricot (of course, you may use a pastry bag if you have one). Top each filled apricot with a pistachio.
Serve this dish alongside Tieton Cider Works Semi Dry Apricot Cider. By reconstituting the dried apricots in apple cider, the flavors echo that of the apricot cider. The goat cheese provides a tangy contrast to the sweetness.
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