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Apricot Squares

December 31, 2010

I’ve wanted to try this recipe for a long time and today finally got around to doing so!  The cookie/pastry base and the topping are the same things, the only difference is that the top layer was frozen and grated with a  box grater to create the lumpy textured top.  The filling is made with dried apricots which I was hoping would be a bright orange as shown in the cookbook but I could only find organic apricots, which turn brown when they’re dried.  The recipe for these bars comes from the book “A Passion for Baking” by Marcy Goldman.  They’re pretty good, and would be delicious made with dates in the filling as well.  The only change I made was pecans for walnuts in the pastry and I added a little splash of rum to the apricots (because it’s the holidays!)

Apricot Squares

For the Pastry crust:

  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup ground walnuts or pecans
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tbsp shortening
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4-6 tbsp heavy cream

For the Apricot filling:

  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 4 cups dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Splash of rum (optional)

Begin with the crust.  Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and nuts in a food processor and pulse to combine.  Add the butter and shortening and pulse until the dough is a sandy texture.  Add the eggs and cream and pulse to form a soft dough.  Remove dough to a lightly floured surface and knead a few times.  Divide into two portions and wrap plastic wrap.  Place one portion in the fridge to chill and the other in the freezer (once frozen, you will be able to grate the dough with a box grater to use as the topping)

While the dough is chilling, combine all of the filling ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Simmer (stirring often so all of the fruit has a chance to hang out in the juice) until the apricots are soft, about 8-12 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

Puree the apricots in a food processor and chill well.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 11X7″ brownie pan with parchment paper. I greased the pan with shortening first so the parchment would stick.  Pat out the refrigerated portion of the dough in the bottom of the pan and bake for 10-12 minutes.  Give it some time to cool.

Once cooled, spread the filling onto the crust.  Remove the dough from the freezer and grate it using a box grater.  Sprinkle the grated pastry dough on top of the apricot filling.  Place the pan on a baking sheet and return to the oven to bake for another 22-25 minutes or until the top crust is a light golden brown. 

Cool completely and chill bars before cutting into squares and dusting with powdered sugar.

These bars could be eaten at room temperature but I much prefer them chilled!


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