Stepping into any professional pastry shop, I always wondered what gave those fancy fruit tarts and other pastries that elegant sheen and look of fresh deliciousness. It turns out, the answer is apricots… or, more specifically, apricot glaze — and it’s a French baking staple.
I actually discovered that apricot glaze has so many different uses. You can also add it between the layers of a spongecake for an added punch of flavour, or to blind-baked pastry shells for an added waterproof coating. In fact, Julia Child once said that French patisserie — in its entirety — would go down the tubes if something ever happened to the apricot trees.
Because we are only using a few ingredients here, I do recommend using a good-quality apricot jam. However, you can use any brand that you find at the grocery store. Just make sure to taste it before making the glaze, so that you can gauge the level of sweetness. Some apricot jams can be slightly tart (and you may want to add more sugar), others may be super sweet (and you can add a little less).
My apricot glaze includes cognac, which is completely optional. But I just love the added flavor it gives to the glaze: a very subtle hint of spice and caramelized fruit. An orange liqueur would also be an excellent substitute.
On the topic of cognac, I recommend buying a small bottle and just keeping it in your pantry for cooking and baking. It is surprising how you can elevate so many sweet and savory recipes with just a simple splash of the stuff. The alcohol is ultimately cooked off, so you are just left with whatever fruity and nutty notes it has. In all honesty, before delving into French cooking, I would have never bought cognac — I had never even tasted it before. But now, I always make sure to have a little on hand. If you are serious dabbler, I definitely recommend giving it a try!
Start by warming your apricot jam until it loosens and becomes more liquid. Then, press the jam through a sieve to remove any lumps or pieces of apricot.
In a saucepan, combine the sieved apricot jam with the sugar and cognac. Cook over moderate heat for 3 to 5 minutes, until thickened and sticky (about 225ºF on a candy thermometer).
Use immediately, while warm.
Apricot glaze can be stored in the fridge for months. Just store the glaze in a glass jar, reheat before using, and — voilà — you’re good to go!
Apricot glaze is so simple, yet gives fruit tarts, pies, and other pastries that fancy sheen and look of fresh deliciousness. Mine includes cognac, which is completely optional. But I just love the added flavor it gives to the glaze: a very subtle hint of spice and caramelized fruit.
- ½ cup apricot jam
- 1–2 Tbsp white sugar
- 1 Tbsp cognac (optional)
- Heat apricot jam so it can easily be pressed through a sieve.½ cup apricot jam
- Press apricot jam through a sieve to remove any larger pieces of apricot.
- In a saucepan, mix sieved apricot jam, sugar, and cognac.1–2 Tbsp white sugar1 Tbsp cognac (optional)
- Cook over moderate heat for 3 to 5 minutes, until thickened and sticky.
- I recommend tasting your apricot jam before making this recipe. Some apricot jams can be slightly tart (and you may want to add more sugar), others may be super sweet (and you can add a little less).
- Be sure to keep the glaze warm while glazing. When it cools, it can be more difficult to spread and doesn’t have as much of a pretty and professional-looking finish.
- Apricot glaze can be stored in the fridge in a glass jar indefinitely and reheated for later use.