Roasted apricots and basil with apricot and pistachio biscotti and apricot ice cream

Make any or all parts of this heavenly dessert. The biscotti store well and any leftovers can be served with coffee.

Equipment and preparation: for this recipe you will need an ice cream maker.


For the apricot ice cream
  • 568ml/1 pint double cream
  • 1 vanilla pod, split lengthways, seeds scraped out
  • 6 medium free-range egg yolks
  • 150g/5½oz caster sugar
  • 300g/10½oz apricot purée
For the apricot and pistachio biscotti
  • 250g/9oz plain flour
  • 250g/9oz caster sugar
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 3 medium free-range eggs, lightly beaten
  • 150g/5½oz dried apricots, chopped
  • 50g/1¾oz medjool dates, stones removed, chopped
  • 125g/4½oz pistachio nuts (shelled weight)
  • 50g/1¾oz hazelnuts
  • 1 lemon, zest only
For the roasted apricots and basil
  • 100g/3½oz caster sugar
  • 300ml/10½fl oz double cream
  • 1 tbsp chopped basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp apricot liqueur or apricot brandy
  • 6 apricots, halved and stone removed

Preparation method

  1. For the apricot ice cream, place the cream, vanilla pod and seeds into a large saucepan and heat until it starts to simmer gently. Set aside for ten minutes, then fish out the vanilla pod. (This can be rinsed and stored in a jar of sugar to make vanilla sugar.)

  2. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl until thick and pale.

  3. Gradually add the hot cream mixture to the eggs, whisking all the time. Once combined, return the mixture to the pan. Set over a low heat and cook over a low heat, stirring continuously, until it thickens. Remove from the heat, transfer the mixture to a bowl and set aside to cool completely.

  4. Stir in the purée , then chill the mixture in the fridge until it is completely cold. Churn the mixture in an ice cream machine following the manufacturer’s instructions. Store the ice cream in the freezer until ready to serve.

  5. For the apricot and pistachio biscotti, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and line a baking tray with baking parchment.

  6. In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar and baking powder. Add half the beaten eggs and mix well, then add half of what’s left and mix again. Add the remaining eggs a little at a time until the dough takes shape but isn’t too wet. (You may not need all the eggs.) Work in the fruit, nuts and lemon zest until well combined.

  7. Divide the dough equally into six pieces. Wet your hands and roll each piece into a sausage shape about 5cm/2in wide and place well apart on the baking sheet.

  8. Lightly flatten the ‘sausages’ and bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden-brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool and harden for 10 minutes.

  9. Using a serrated knife, cut the ‘sausages’ on an angle into 5mm/¼in slices and lay them cut-side down on the baking tray. (You may need another baking tray, or to do the next step in batches.)

  10. Return the biscuits to the oven and bake for eight minutes, then turn the slices over and cook for a further 10-15 minutes, or until they are a pale golden colour. Remove from the oven and cool on wire racks. When completely cold, the biscotti can be stored in airtight jars for a week.

  11. For the roasted apricots and basil, increase the oven temperature to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

  12. Heat an ovenproof frying pan over a medium heat and add the sugar. Cook gently until the sugar melts completely and turns to a golden-brown caramel.

  13. Carefully stir in the cream, basil and apricot liqueur and cook for a couple of minutes until smooth. Carefully add the apricots, cut-side down, and place in the oven for 15-30 minutes, or until the apricots are soft and caramelised.

  14. Serve the ice cream, biscotti and roasted apricots in shallow bowls.

James Martin recipes from Saturday Kitchen

1-2 hours preparation time

30 mins to 1 hour cooking time

Serves 4

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