These are not the early plums I first thought they were upon spotting them at the farmers market. No, these diminutive gem-like fruits are the much-coveted black apricots. I couldn't get one in my mouth fast enough. Have you ever tried this fruit?
I had good reason to think these were plums at first glance. Black apricots are actually a 50/50 cross between an apricot and a plum, which distinguishes them from either pluots or apriums. Judging by the samples that I snacked my way through, this fruit takes the best characteristics from both fruits and makes something completely unique.
On the surface, black apricots look an awful lot like plums: dusky purple-red skin, plump contours, and just the barest bit of apricot-like fuzz. But slice into the fruit and you'll find golden-hued flesh deeper and more startling than any plum.
They have a straightforward sweet flavor, mild and floral, which gets offset by a burst of startling tartness from the thin skin. The flesh itself is juicy without dribbling down your hand and pleasantly firm.
I like black apricots best as a snacking fruit. Since they're not super juicy, I can eat them at my desk or while sitting in a waiting room without making a mess. One or two gets me through the late-afternoon slump before dinner.
Black apricots also make a fantastic addition to a cheese plate. Their sweetness pairs well with sharp cheeses and toasted nuts. Of course, if you have enough of them, the startling contrast of purple skin and orange flesh would be beautiful in a tart or upside-down cake.
• Apricot and Biscuit Crostata
• Apricot, Almond, and Strawberry Crumble
• Poached Apricots with Vanilla and Cardamom
What would you make with black apricots?
Related: Peach and Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake
(Images: Emma Christensen)