Cure for the underripe fruit

Somehow, someway, a friend of mine gave me some apricots, which is odd, because I would say it’s a few months too early. But she insists—insists!—that her tree is festooned with the golden little fruits. Still, who am I not to put a gift apricot in my mouth?

They are, however, a bit underripe. Picked a bit too soon it would seem. (It’s hard to know just when to pluck them.) When faced with underripe and crazy-early stone fruit, the easiest way to prepare them is to braise or bake them.

Personally, I’m a fan of the following: Cut the plums, apricots, peaches or what have you in half and discard the pit. Tuck them cut-side down into a wide baking dish. Brew up some of your favorite tea—about 5 cups of it—and brew it extra strong (chamomile or Earl Grey are ideal). Stir in and dissolve 2 tablespoons of sugar and a bit of vanilla extract. Pour it over the fruit and bake for 35 to 40 minutes at 350 degrees. These are lovely on their own or served with a small pour of cream.