La Confiture d’Abricot de Miche
Evreux, June 3, 2017 – Miche lived to be 101 years old. Right up until she left us she was talking about apricot jam, among other things, and the tricks she used to make it. She also wanted to point out the bird on the steeple outside her window and remind a visitor to wait until four o’clock to hear its song, and she always wanted to know just exactly how the air felt outside. I think of her so often but particularly now, as I anticipate making enough jam to enjoy for the coming year. I’m re-running this blog post to remind all of you who have apricots on your trees or in your markets to make this; it’s the best ever.
I thought I already had the best recipe for apricot jam until I tasted Miche’s. Miche is Edith’s aunt and she lives about five minutes away from us in Louviers. In her eighties, she is the voluntary grandmother to all of Edith’s children and nieces and nephews—which numbered 28 at last count—and in summer she buys kilos of apricots to make this jam for them. She brought us a jar one cold February day and it tasted like summer in a jar, so intensely apricot-y that we all swooned. I immediately renounced my old recipe in favor of this one.
Miche is categoric—she makes the jam in small batches, uses as little sugar as possible, and cooks fruit for as short a time as she can get away with. She also refuses to put apricot pits in her jam—a typical French custom—for in her mind, anything that interferes with the pure, fresh apricot flavor is blasphemy. She’s right, her apricot jam is out of this world.
Note: this jam doesn’t cook much, so it can be very “loose,” or liquid-y. But that is French jam for you. If you cook it longer to thicken it up, you’ll lose some of the very fresh flavor. So, accept the looseness and “die for” the flavor!
3 pounds (1-1/2 kg) apricots, pitted and quartered
3 cups (600g) granulated sugar
- Place the apricots and the sugar in a non-reactive pan or bowl, stir, cover and let macerate for at least 12 hours.
- Transfer the fruit and sugar to a large, heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat so the mixture is boiling merrily and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and ladle the jam into sterilized canning jars, leaving 1/4-inch headroom. Seal according to the jar manufacturer’s instructions.
Yields about 10 cups (2-½ liters)