For the almond cake:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup almond meal/flour
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus additional for buttering the cake pan
1 cup sugar, plus additional for sugaring the cake pan
Heat the oven to 350 degrees; butter and sugar a 9-inch round cake pan. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together into a medium bowl. Whisk in the almond flour. In a separate large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light in color and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in one egg, then half the flour mixture, then the other egg, then the rest of the flour mixture, being careful not to overmix.
Gently spoon the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake 35 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and set in the center. Remove from the oven and let cool 5 minutes. Run a paring knife around the edges of the pan, then release the cake from the pan.
For the apricots:
2 pounds ripe apricots (about 12 large or 24 small)
1 cup sugar
5 sprigs of thyme
1 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
Cut small apricots in half (or large apricots in quarters) and discard the pits. Place them in a single layer in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Sprinkle the sugar on the apricots, add one cup of water and the salt; submerge the thyme and ginger in the pot. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, then remove from heat and allow the apricots to cool in the liquid.
Sour Cream Ice Cream
The ice cream can be made up to a day before serving.
1 cup milk
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 vanilla bean, split
6 tablespoons sugar, divided
4 egg yolks
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
Place the milk, half-and-half and cream in a heavy 3-quart saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the pan, drop in the pod, and add the salt; stir to combine. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of the sugar over the top; do not stir. Bring the mixture just to a boil over medium-high heat.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the remaining sugar. When the milk mixture comes to a boil, temper the yolk mixture by whisking in about half of the milk mixture into the yolk mixture, pouring it into the yolks in a slow, steady stream. Pour the tempered mixture back into the remaining milk mixture, whisking, and set it over medium-low heat. Cook the custard, stirring it constantly with a wooden spoon, until it just starts to steam and thickens slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Be careful not to overcook or the egg will curdle. Strain the mixture into a clean bowl set over an ice bath, stirring until it cools. Stir in the salt, lemon juice, vanilla extract and sour cream until thoroughly combined. Cool completely before freezing in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions.
To serve, place a slice of almond cake in the center of the plate. Place a scoop of ice cream on top and spoon some warm apricots with their juices over the top of the ice cream.