THE RIGHT TOOL FOR THE RIGHT JOB! POACHED APRICOTS WITH PISTACHIO
At demonstrations I am often asked what saucepans should I buy for my AGA. This is really an important question as good quality saucepans will last you and your AGA a lifetime. The AGA range of stainless steel saucepans and casseroles, are my ideal choice for many reasons – primarily it is the fast, efficient performance they give on the AGA, plus the stacking lids maximise capacity of your cast iron cooker. However do note they are also suitable for other types of hotplate and hob cooking; gas, electric and even induction, an indication of how versatile these pans can be.
The quick boiling times are made possible by the special Superthermic encapsulated base, which absorbs and distributes heat evenly and quickly. The tri-core base means there are no hot spots. The range of AGA stainless steel pans has been sold since the 1990s, so a tried and tested product, with recent updates on design, the pan body is now a brushed stainless steel with polished ‘furniture’ (handles). The pans are guaranteed for 25 years. The saucepans and casseroles are available in sets of three or individually. The added benefit of the casserole shape is that it can be used from oven-to-table.
Both saucepans and casseroles have the flat lids for stacking, both in storage and importantly for using in the Simmering Oven to maximise the space of the oven, up to six pans can be in this oven at one time – just think when cooking for a crowd then you can have steamed minted new potatoes, steamed carrots, a casserole or curry, Basmati rice, poached fruit, soup or a slow cooked tomato and pepper side all in the Simmering Oven together, leaving you free to catch up with your friends latest news.
Stainless steel can be put in the dish washer or washed by hand, if I find I have small white marks (from salt) or staining then a quick rub with the AGA stainless steel cleaner restores it, no problem.
The recipe for Poached Fresh Apricots is very seasonal at the moment and is a good example of using the stainless steel casserole to cook and serve. The finished dish is decorated with slivered pistachio nuts and delightful served as a summer dessert or as a breakfast dish.
Internal shot showing capacity marking Brushed stainless steel body of pan
POACHED FRESH APRICOTS
If the apricots are not fully ripe they will not be easy to halve and stone, in this instance just poach the apricots whole for about 40 minutes, until soft. AGA home- made thick yogurt makes a superb accompaniment to these poached apricots – ideal for breakfast.
3 tbsp honey
6 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
½ tsp vanilla extract
300ml (½ pint) water
500g (1lb 2 oz) fresh apricots, halved and stoned
Place the honey, cardamom, vanilla and water into an AGA casserole and heat on the Simmering Plate until the honey has melted, about 3-4 minutes. Add the apricots and bring to the boil. Cover.
2, 3, 4 and 5 oven AGA: Place in the Simmering Oven for about 20 minutes, until the apricots are tender.
Remove the apricots, using a slotted spoon. Boil the remaining syrup until it has reduced by half. Remove the cardamom pods and return the apricots to the casserole. Serve cool scattered with the chopped pistachio nuts.