Ah, apricots, the orangish orbs that are smaller and more delicate than peaches. They arrive early in the summer and then vanish in a few weeks.
I have a soft spot for apricots. I love their supple skin, their smooth pit and their distinctive, tangy flesh. On a recent morning, I had a yen for apricot pastry. I found three: two exquisite examples of French baking and an innovative take on a gluten-free apricot pastry.
Address: 820 E. Baltimore St.
Hours: 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays
With its wings of dough, this apricot pastry looked like a snow angel and tasted like something sent from heaven. When I took a bite, the strong, clean flavor of apricots was followed by a perfect puff-pastry crust. The crust allowed the natural sweetness of the fruit to dominate. For $4.50, a terrific start to a summer morning.
Address: 6070 Falls Road
Summer hours: 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday
Three apricots resembled golden suns as they perched atop a delectable $3.75 tart. The first flavors I tasted were tangy fruit, followed by smooth pastry cream filling and then a delectable, slightly sweet butter crust. About 4 inches in diameter, this tart is an ideal individual dessert for a summer dinner.
Address: 1016 S. Charles St.
Hours for walk-ins: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Sunday-Friday by appointment between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
This inventive bakery turns out gluten-free pastries and cakes. The apricot Danish, made with corn starch, sour cream, potato starch, shortening, yeast, honey, egg, baking soda and baking powder, had a chewier texture and a sharper aftertaste than conventional Danish. At $2, it provided a pleasing alternative for folks who want to have their Danish without an allergic reaction to gluten.