First the purée. After some recipe research I came up with a pretty straight forward approach involving poaching the dried apricots in a light sugar syrup with added orange zest. Apricots go soooo nicely with orange, n'est pas?
Place 300 ml (1 1/4 cup) water, 50 g (1/4 cup) sugar, 84 g (1/4 cup) honey and the zest of two oranges in a saucepan, bring to a simmer and cook on medium low until the sugar is dissolved. Add 250 g (1 1/4 cup) dried apricots, cover and cook about 30 minutes until the fruit is soft and supple.
Purée in a blender until smooth then strain. This stuff looks like baby food!
I decided to freeze the end result by portioning it out into an ice cube tray. That allowed me to remove small amounts on an as needed basis. Interestingly the purée didn't freeze solid due to the sugar content but it was a good way to store it nonetheless.
The day before I wanted to create my little croissant bites, I pulled some croissant dough from the freezer, thawed it overnight and then rolled it out and cut small squares that would fit nicely into buttered and sugar-dusted mini-muffin tins.
I decided on a cream cheese type filling, making my own version based on a recipe in my CIA Baking and Pastry book.
Mix 270 g cream cheese with 33 g sugar (I reduced the amount of sugar in the original recipe since I would be adding my sweetened apricot purée), 33 g corn starch, pinches of lemon and orange zest and a splash of vanilla. Blend in 45 g egg and a couple of tablespoons of apricot purée (or more to taste).
I let the croissant squares rise for about 1.5 hours then topped them with a dollop of apricot cream cheese filling, followed by a smaller dollop of purée and a few pieces of diced dried apricot.
Then I topped 'em all off with some pistachio crumble . . . .
and popped them into a preheated 400ºF oven to bake. After about 8 minutes I reduced the temp to 375ºF and continued to bake until nicely browned, another 15- 20 minutes or so. REMEMBER - watch what's going on in that oven of yours!
After a few minutes I gently lifted them out onto a wire rack to cool, and then, of course, it was time for a taste test. Yeah baby.
Lovely layered, delectable, buttery goodness with the creamy apricot filling and crunchy pistachio crumble adding the always hoped for differences in textures and tastes.
And Steve liked them too. Yippee!