By Jodi Lewchuk
Makes 4 servings
Little orange-hued apricots, blushing rosé wine, a savoury nip of basil, and a scattering of pale-green pistachios: this dessert is a pleasing mix of colours, flavours and textures, and pairs perfectly with a warm night on the patio. Be sure to use a dry rosé for the poaching liquid; though it could be tempting to substitute the similarly hued white zinfandel, the latter is much sweeter and will produce a cloying syrup.
2 cups dry rosé wine
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large sprigs fresh basil with stems, rinsed well and dried
1/4 cup finely chopped unsalted pistachio nuts extra basil sprigs for garnish
In a medium saucepan, combine the wine, sugar and basil. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to low, and add the whole apricots. Simmer gently, turning the apricots frequently until they are tender through to the stone (pierce with a cake tester or small paring knife to check for doneness), about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the apricots to a plate to cool.
Return the wine mixture to a gentle boil and cook until it has reduced by half, about 10 minutes. The liquid should have the consistency of maple syrup when it is done. Set aside to cool.
Peel the skins from the cooled apricots with your fingers (they should slip off easily after the poaching process) and place the apricots into a nonreactive container. Pour the cooled syrup over the apricots, cover the container, and chill in the refrigerator until cold, at least one hour.
To serve, into the bottoms of four serving bowls, spoon equal portions of the rosé syrup and top each with three apricots. Sprinkle evenly with pistachios and garnish each bowl with a sprig of basil. Encourage diners to dip the basil into the syrup as a finish to the dessert. (Alternately, you can chiffonade the basil: stack together about six basil leaves, roll into a thin cigar shape, and cut into very thin strips. Scatter the chiffonade over the top of the apricots with the nuts.)