Recipe: Brandied Apricot and Hazelnut Conserve

The recipe here uses dried apricots so it can be made at any time of the year. It keeps beautifully and is lovely served for breakfast on toasted broiche.

1kg dried apricots21/2 large lemons1.75kg preserving sugar150g whole blanched hazelnuts10 tbsp good quality Armagnac

1. Place the apricots in a large bowl, cover with 2.25 litres of water and leave overnight to swell.

2. If you're using 'ready-to-eat' apricots soak them for just an hour. Zest the lemons then cut into fleshy segments, discarding the peel and pith.

3. Lightly toast the hazelnuts in a hot oven until they are just pale golden and set aside.

4. Drain the apricots, reserving the water and pour the water into a jam kettle or a large pan.

5. Place over a gentle heat, add the sugar and lemon rind and stir until dissolved.

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6. Turn up the heat, bring to the boil and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the liquid thickens to a syrupy consistency.

7. Add the lemon segments and apricots and bubble for 45 minutes or until the conserve has thickened.

8. Pour in the brandy and add the hazelnuts, cook for a further few minutes then decant into preserving jars and seal.