This fruit compote uses no additional liquid than that in the fruit, in order to concentrate the flavor of the apricots. Serve over vanilla ice cream.
1 pound firm, ripe apricots, halved and pitted.
1 3-inch length of vanilla bean, split in 2 lengthwise
¾ cup sugar
Put the apricots and the vanilla bean in a bowl and sprinkle on the sugar. Leave to macerate at room temperature for 1 hour, or until the sugar has melted and drawn juice from the fruit.
Empty into a heavy, non-reactive saucepan and place over low heat. Cover and cook for at least 15 minutes, until apricots are immersed in a simmering syrup.
Transfer to a serving bowl and cool to warm room temperature. Remove the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the compote.
Serve at warm room temperature or cover and chill for several hours before reheating or serving.