Notes: As the apricots cook, their tartness comes forward. If the fruit is firm and underripe, it will require the maximum amount of sugar. If the apricots are ripe and sweeter, start with 3/4 cup sugar. For a strong mace flavor, use the larger amount. Instead of ground mace, you can use the same amount of fresh-grated or ground nutmeg. Instead of apricots, you can use ripe peaches, peeled and sliced, with 1/2 cup sugar. Serve the cobbler warm, with sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. You can make it up to 1 day ahead; cover airtight when cool and let stand at room temperature. Reheat in a 350° oven for about 10 minutes.
Sunset JUNE 2002
1. In a large bowl, with a flexible spatula, combine sugar, mace, almond extract, and orange peel. Add apricots and mix. Scrape mixture into a buttered shallow 1 1/2- to 2-quart casserole and spread level.
2. With lightly floured hands, tear off lumps (3- to 4-tablespoon size) of the patty cake crust and pat into cakes about 1/4 inch thick; lay them as shaped over fruit, covering fairly evenly (a few gaps are fine). When all the dough is in place, press down lightly to join portions.
3. Bake cobbler in a 375° regular or convection oven (if using a 1 1/2-qt. casserole, set on a large sheet of foil in case mixture boils over) until fruit is bubbling and crust is well browned, 50 to 60 minutes. Let stand at least 10 minutes or until cool. Scoop fruit and crust into bowls, adding more sugar to taste.
Patty-cake Crust. In a food processor or bowl, combine 1 cup all-purpose flour; 6 tablespoons butter cut into thin slices; 1/4 cup cream cheese (2 oz.), cut into small pieces; 1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel; and 1/4 teaspoon ground mace. Whirl or rub with your fingers until mixture forms fine crumbs. Add 1 large egg yolk and whirl or stir until dough holds together. Press into a ball.
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