Saturday, April 09, 2005

Apricot Dessert Bars

American desserts may not be spectacular like the European ones, but they are easier to make, transport and serve. The original recipe for these bars is from a Pillsbury Bake-Off booklet. I reduced the sugar in the filling and the base, and used unsweetened coconut instead of the sweet, sticky variety sold in the supermarkets. (However, when I tasted it, I thought that it was still a tad too sweet; you can safely reduce sugar more.) Also, I threw in a handful of dried cranberries since I did not have enough dried apricots at home. In the past, I used almonds and pecans instead of walnuts, and the recipe worked equally well.


12 oz dried apricots, finely cut up (2 1/2 c) [I use the food processor for this step]
1 1/2 c water
1/2 c sugar


1 3/4 c flour
7/8 c sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 c butter, cut up into small pieces
1 c unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 c chopped walnuts

In medium saucepan, combine apricots and water. Cook over medium heat 10 to 15 minutes or until apricots are very soft, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1/2 c sugar.

Heat oven to 400F. Grease bottom of 13x9-inch baking pan. In large bowl, combine flour, 7/8 c sugar, salt and baking soda. Using fork or pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Add coconut and walnuts. Press 3 c of crumb mixture in bottom of greased 13x9-inch pan. Bake at 400F for 10 minutes. Remove from oven.

Spread apricot filling evenly over crust. Sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture. Bake at 400F for an additional 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Cool and cut into bars. Very good served with a dollop of whipped cream.