Jacks, remember that game?! Well in Israel we have, not quite the same, but similar game, with five small metal cubes called five stones HA-MESH-AVANIM חמש אבנים. When we didn't have the five metal cubes or lost one, we would use the pits of the apricot for the game. We called the pits and the game GO-GO-EEM גוגואים. I was very good at it, but my aunt who was only a couple of years older than I was the best at it. When we visited my grandmother, after few miles of walking in the heat, in a neighborhood known to house the town's cemetery, we would go downstairs, to the yard outside, for a tourney and championship rounds. When I say yard, these were tiny government apartments, the yard is not your private landscaped yard just a piece of barren dirt outside the building with maybe some surviving grass patches, but mostly sand. Nurit my aunt always outlasted us all. She was the undeclared champion. Just imagine an immigrant neighborhood of three story buildings mostly comprised of Moroccans and Indian Jews and sporadic Romanian Jew here and there. I remember because one of the Romanian Jewish boys had a crush on another aunt of mine and was chased quickly and swiftly away with a broom by my grandmother.
That would put an end to any budding romance and possible mixed marriages. I still can recall my grandmother's thundering laughter when we reminisced about that incident. I was extremely competitive the oldest of six kids, Nurit was very mild mannered and sweet the youngest of five. I was called Kali, which is the color black and the deity. My sister was called Gori - whitey. Kali, Gori is a story all on its own! You can have your imagination run with it. Nurit was closer in age to me than her own sister, my mom. We were close, but by the time I was in middle school and she was in high school, events that no one could comprehend transpired. This is for Nurit, my aunt, my first friend and a champion at GO-GO-EEM גוגואים, who had a secret crush and then she was gone.
This is a super simple seasonal dessert. You can use plums or nectarines for the apricots, or when apricots , plums and nectarines are not in season, use any other seasonal fruit. I didn't have cognac, brandy or whiskey in the house so I used grand marnier I had in my pantry.
Simple and Airy Apricot Cake
12 apricots, halved and pitted
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons cognac brandy or whiskey (I used grand marnier I had at home)
3 whole eggs
1 cup sugar
7oz butter, soft at room temperature
1 1/2 cups self rising flour
Cofectioners sugar for dusting (optional)
Preheat oven to 350F. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar and congac on apricots, stir and let macerate, save for later. With a whisk or an egg beater beat eggs, 1 cup sugar and butter on high for eight minutes until fluffy and airy. Fold flour into egg mixture. Pour mixture into a greased round cake pan and arrange apricots on top on mixture. Pour excess liquids on top and bake for 35-45 minutes or until golden. You can check with a skewer it should come out with slightly moist crumbs. Let cool, dust with confectioners sugar if you wish and serve at room temperature.