Apricot Pudding (Kecskemet)
These desserts look like sparkling gems, sheathed in glittering jelly and crowned with an apricot. Apricot jelly is used to coat the molds, which are filled with apricot mousse. Chef Varga is insistent: the real secret is the apricot brandy, which shows up in the mousse and the sauce. The vanilla sugar in the recipe is granulated sugar in which a split vanilla bean has been stored.
- Plastic molds - 4, approx. 4 inches across the top, scalloped/fluted
- Apricot jelly - 2 cups, warmed until liquefied
- Eggs - 2, separated
- Powdered Milk - 1/4 cup
- Vanilla Sugar - 1 tablespoon
- and sugar to taste - 1 tablespoon
- Milk - 2/3 cup
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 1 cup, beaten to firm peaks
- Apricot brandy - 1-1/2 tablespoons
- Apricot Sauce
- Apricot jelly - 1 cup
- Apricot brandy - 1 tablespoon
- Basil blossoms - 4
- Mint sprigs - 8
- Candied green cherries - 8
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 1/2 cup, beaten to soft peaks
- Warm chocolate sauce - 1/2 cup
- Blackberries - 8
- Seedless Red Grapes - 8, quartered
Working with one mold at a time, set a plastic mold in ice water. Fill the mold with apricot jelly. Wait 1 to 2 minutes, until about 1/4-inch of apricot jelly has set around the sides of the mold. Drain the mold, leaving the layer of jelly lining the mold. Place an apricot in the bottom, pitted side up. Set the remaining apricot halves aside in the refrigerator, covered. Place the molds in the refrigerator to set. Repeat to line all the molds.
Put the egg yolks in a bowl and add the powdered milk, sugar, and vanilla sugar. Whisk gently to blend. Whisk in the milk, then the brandy. Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold into the egg mixture. Add a large spoonful of whipped cream into the egg mixture, then fold in the remaining whipped cream in two additions. Spoon into the molds, level the tops with the back of a knife, and return to the refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours. Or, cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight.
To make the sauce: Melt the jelly over low heat and stir in the brandy. Set aside; keep warm.
To serve: Remove the molds from the refrigerator. Working with one at a time, dip a mold into warm water to loosen, then unmold on a dessert plate. Put an apricot half, pitted side down, on top of each mold. Stand basil blossoms and mint leaves in the top of each, then top each with a candied green cherry. Spoon sauce around one side of the base of each mold. Put the whipped cream in a pastry bag fitted with a small fluted tip and draw a zigzag of cream on the outer edge of each pool of sauce. Pull through the cream with a toothpick using looping motions to draw the design into the sauce. Put the chocolate sauce in a squeeze bottle and draw a line of chocolate sauce on either side of the line of whipped cream design. Pull through the chocolate to feather the design. Place a candied green cherry at one end of each design. Add blackberries and grape quarters to the plates around the cherries.