Apricot & Nut Cobbler

This went fast at home. A light, crumbly cake topping and sweet scented apricots underneath, it was inspired by a handful of lemon verbena I’d picked a day earlier and a David Lebowitz recipe for the topping; it was a distant cousin to the latter by the time I was done.

The cobblers and crumbles that make it to our dinner table are usually thrown together after last-minute pantry raids, and so all measurements are unfortunately best guesses. Now if only I discovered bags of Frog Hollow apricots every time I dug around in the freezer…

12-14 Blenheim apricots, halved and pitted
10-12 medium lemon verbena leaves (no more than 2 inches in length)
1/3 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon ground rice flour
1 teaspoon butter

2-3 oz marzipan
1/2 cup raw hazelnuts
2/3 cup white sugar
2 oz butter
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup white flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2-2/3 cup milk

Soften the frozen apricots in an oven preheated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit in a 10-inch straight-sided ceramic pie dish for around 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and toss in a bowl with the sugar, lemon verbena leaves, rice flour. Wipe the butter around the pie dish and return the apricots, spreading in a single layer across the dish. Lower the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a food processor pulse marzipan, hazelnuts, and sugar to a fine crumb. Add chopped chunks of butter and pulse again. Add egg and blend until smooth. Continue to add ingredients, grinding at each addition until just blended: 1/2 cup flour, followed by the vanilla and 1/4 cup milk; 1/2 cup flour and then enough milk to create a batter that is sloppy rather than stiff, but not so much milk that the mixture could be easily poured. Drop the batter in spoonfuls on the fruit and bake for 40 minutes or until top is lightly browned.

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