Like most fruit this time of year, fresh apricots require very little to make them sing. Prepared this way, they are not as sweet or smooth as jam, but a bit of sugar (or honey), vanilla, and gentle heat coaxes out all of their wonderful rich, buttery flavor without losing their distinct tartness. They slump over in the pan and release their juices making them the perfect topping for all sorts of dishes. —Yossy Arefi
Remove the pits from the apricots by gently tearing the fruit in half. Add the pitted apricot halves, sugar, vanilla bean seeds and pod, lemon zest, lemon juice and water to a medium saucepan and stir gently to combine.
Cook the mixture on medium low heat until the sugar dissolves and the apricots begin to release their juices. Turn the heat up to medium and gently simmer the apricots, stirring occasionally, until they are very soft and beginning to fall apart, but not completely mushy. About 10-15 minutes. Taste the apricots and add a bit more sweetener if desired.
Remove the vanilla bean pod and reserve it for another use, remove the strip of lemon zest and serve the apricots warm or cold. If there are any leftovers, store them in the fridge.
Yossy Arefi is a photographer and stylist with a passion for food. During her stint working in restaurant kitchens, Yossy started the blog Apt. 2B Baking Co. where, with her trusty Pentax film camera, she photographs and writes about seasonal desserts and preserves. She currently lives in Brooklyn but will always love her native city of Seattle. Follow her work at apt2bbakingco.blogspot.com & yossyarefi.com.