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Apricot glaze is a mixture that primarily consists of apricots which are cooked down until they are no longer solid but form a pliable texture. Once apricots are cooked into a spreadable, sauce-like form known as a glaze, the mixture is applied to the outside of food items or baked goods to add shine as well as a flavor with a sweet undertone.
The ingredients in an apricot glaze can vary widely depending on the recipe; however, there tend to be similar ingredients that make up the base of many common versions of the item. One variation is often the form of the apricot. Some recipes call for removing the pits and chopping the fruit into small pieces, and then cooking them in butter over a low heat until the apricots break down and thicken. Other recipes use apricot preserves or jam as a quicker way to get the apricot flavor into the glaze without having to cook down the fruit itself. Glaze recipes may also call for sweetening agents, such as honey or sugar, or more savory ingredients, such as mustard or vinegar, depending on what type of dish in which the glaze is intended.
Apricot glaze is generally prepared by first slicing the apricots and removing their pits before chopping the fruit into small pieces and cooking them in a pan on the stovetop with butter or in water until they become less solid. Since the outer skin is thin, it doesn’t require removal before consuming. The fruit is then combined with the preferred sweetener or savory ingredients and boiled until it becomes a syrupy texture. The finished glaze may be poured into a strainer to remove any remaining solid pieces of fruit or it can be used as is for a thicker finished product.
Since an apricot glaze tends to have only a slightly sweet undertone, it is usually considered to be a versatile dish that can be used for both sweet and savory dishes. In its sweeter form, more sugar or honey may be used to make the glaze and it is generally brushed onto the outside of pies or pastries to give the baked goods a sheen to their appearances and an added sweetness to the crust. For savory uses, apricot glaze may be made with smaller amounts of sweeteners or additional mustard, vinegar, or other savory ingredients. It is usually thought to pair well with a variety of meats, including pork, chicken, and duck, and is typically brushed onto the meat before, during, and after the cooking process to give a slightly sweet flavor and a thick, sticky texture to the outside of the meat.
I've seen apricot glaze formed by heating apricot jelly until warm and liquid. It was then brushed on the food, often to give an attractive shine, as much as it is intended to give flavor.
I know it's also used as a crumb-sealer for cakes, since it tends to have a more neutral flavor.
I have used peach glazes for ham and pork chops, so I'm sure an apricot glaze would work just as well, since the flavors are similar.
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