Apricot Bars

September 07th, 2011  | Category: Cookies, Fruit, Tarts and Pies

Apricot Bars

If I had a dollar for every post I postponed posting… Well, that would make me a professional procrastinator and nothing else.

Here’s what usually happens: I get excited about a fruit or a vegetable, come across season’s finest at the farmers market, decide on a recipe on my way home, cook/bake it, take photos and sit down to eat. By the time I’m ready to write about it (usually weeks later), I realize the season has long passed, so I decide to wait until the next year. A year later, even if I remember that I have photos and recipe ready to go, it just doesn’t feel exciting anymore.

I came across this wonderful interview with Anne Lamott yesterday (via Orangette) and decided that I’m not going to let that happen to these Apricot Bars.

Initially, I dreamed of an Apricot Tart and a satiny pastry cream, specked with a million vanilla seeds. But it is so hot and humid in Istanbul, I thought “Who’s going to roll a tart dough in this weather?”

Well, actually I am. Every day. But unless you’re working on the tart chapter of your upcoming book, I strongly advise you enjoy the season’s bounty in some other way.

A pastry cream prepared with half a dozen egg yolks didn’t seem appropriate either, so I ditched the idea and came up with something much lighter and definitely easier to prepare.

Apricots

The base is a shortbread dough, very close to a pâte sablée – the sweet, crumbly kind that melts in your mouth – and the best part is, you don’t need to roll it out.

In fact, I didn’t even touch it!

I mixed all the ingredients in a food processor, dumped the whole thing in a square baking pan, flattened it by pressing an identical pan on top and froze it for half an hour.

Baking pan 1

If you don’t have two same-sized pans, you can get good results with a flat-bottomed cup, too.

Baking pan 2

30 minutes in the oven and it is ready to be filled. Light golden on top and browned around the edges.

Baking pan 3

When I aim for “light”, I automatically think of yogurt. In this instance, I decided to use strained yogurt for the concentrated flavor and also to avoid using too much gelatin to firm up the filling. If you can’t find thick, strained yogurt at your local market, you can easily prepare it at home. Line a strainer with a double layer of cheesecloth and set it over a large mixing bowl. Dump twice the amount I call for (3 cups) in the strainer, cover and place in the refrigerator overnight until completely drained. You can also substitute sour cream for strained yogurt, if you don’t mind the extra calories.

The apricots were quite ripe, so they required no cooking.  I just cut them in half, removed the pits and arranged them on the yogurt layer. To give it a bit of shine I applied a thin layer of apricot jam glaze and that’s it.

If the apricots you find aren’t as ripe, you might want to poach them in simple syrup for a minute or two to soften up a little bit.

Apricot Bars 1

Enjoy while the apricot season lasts!

APRICOT BARS RECIPE

Ingredients

Makes 25 mini bars

For the crust:

  • 1/2 cup (75 grams) almond flour
  • 1/3 cup (70 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (20 grams) unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1,5 cups (210 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into cubes and cold
  • 1 large egg, stirred lightly with a fork

For the yogurt layer:

  • 3 teaspoons (10 grams) powder gelatin (or 4 sheets)
  • 3 tablespoons water, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons (130 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup (160 ml) heavy cream
  • 1,5 cups (375 grams) strained yogurt (or sour cream), at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the apricot layer and glaze:

  • 13  (400 grams) fresh apricots, halved and pitted
  • 1/2 cup (150 grams) apricot marmalade
  • 1/3 cup water

Method

  1. Butter and line a 9-inch square baking pan with two layers of parchment paper and set aside.
  2. To prepare the crust, place almond flour, sugar, coconut, flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and pulse for 2 minutes. Add the cold butter and pulse for another minute. Finally, add the egg and process until the dough gathers around the blade.
  3. Transfer the dough into the lined baking pan and smooth the layer by pressing an identical pan on top (or use the back of a flat-bottomed glass cup). Place the baking pan in the freezer and chill for 30 minutes. Start pre-heating your oven to 350F.
  4. Place the baking pan in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until the dough is golden on top and lightly browned around the edges. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool to room temperature.
  5. To prepare the yogurt layer, place the gelatin in a small bowl, pour the water on top and mix with a fork to fully hydrate. Set aside.
  6. In a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat, stir sugar and heavy cream until the sugar is completely melted. Take off heat and let cool for 10 minutes, then add gelatin and whisk to combine. Add yogurt, vanilla extract and whisk until combined. It might look curdled at first but as you whisk it will become satiny.
  7. Pour the yogurt filling through a strainer on top of the cooled crust and let cool at room temperature for an hour. Loosely cover with aluminum foil and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
  8. When the yogurt layer is firm to the touch, lift the filled crust, peel off the parchment paper and place it on your serving dish.
  9. Cut the apricots in half, remove the pits and put them on top of the yogurt layer side by side.
  10. To prepare the glaze, bring the apricot marmalade and water to a boil, take off heat, strain through a fine-meshed sieve and brush the tops of the apricot halves. Cut into 25 little squares and serve.
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Comments

  1. 1 - Nisrine on September 8th, 2011

    Quite delicious and frankly perfect looking, Cenk.

  2. 2 - Nergis on September 8th, 2011

    Uzun suredir yaraticiliginizi ve keyifli yazilarinzi kacirmayan sessiz takipcilerinizdenim. Bu hafif ve guzel tatliyi gorunce ellerinize saglik demek ve bekletmeden yayinladiginiz icin :) tesekkur etmek istedim.
    Sevgiler,

  3. 3 - KeLLy Ann on September 8th, 2011

    oh, that looks LoVeLy! My mom would love this.
    Apricots are one of my favorite fruits from Turkey. I tell people all the time, they haven’t had fresh fruit til they’ve had it in Turkey {and the dondurma}. When we were living in Efs{h}in in the late 70s the apt. diner had the most simple delicious apricot pie. Would you have a good recipe for this?

  4. 4 - Jessica "Su Good Sweets" on September 8th, 2011

    I suppose you’re better than me in that sometimes I wait several years to post things. Regardless, thanks for sharing this recipe (on time)!

  5. 5 - A Plum By Any Other Name on September 8th, 2011

    While the season for apricots at farm stands here in Boston has closed I’m still seeing its cousin stone fruit, the plum, make an appearance. These sound wonderful, and while admittedly an apricot seems like a more fitting mate with the yogurt the recipe sounds so good I think it’s worth forging ahead. Plums away!

  6. 6 - Maya@Foodiva's Kitchen on September 8th, 2011

    I’ve been waiting a long, L-O-N-G time for your latest post! I’m glad you didn’t wait weeks or even a year later to put up this recipe because your apricots look so gorgeous on top of the yoghurt and cake. I always love the fruits in Turkey, and I remembered eating a big bag of cherries at the market in Istanbul when I was 19 (eons ago), with much dire consequences afterwards…LOL. Thanks for this recipe, Cenk. Missed you!

  7. 7 - Tina on September 8th, 2011

    I was just wondering yesterday when you were going to post again! These look great :)

  8. 8 - Caffettiera on September 8th, 2011

    European apricots are long gone, but in Germany I still find ‘sugar apricots’ imported from Turkey. Now, a country with such a long apricot season is dreamland to me. And this cake looks so pretty, and quite adaptable to more autumn-oriented fruits as well.

  9. 9 - Cenk on September 8th, 2011

    Nisrine, Nergis, Jessica, Tina – Thank you! Glad you guys liked it.

    Kelly Ann – Thanks! I don’t have a recipe for apricot pie, but I think it would be very easy to transform this apricot tart recipe (from The Zuni Cafe Cookbook) into a pie.

    A Plum By Any Other Name – Hope you like it. By the way, there’s an amazing plum galette on its way. Hope I make it before the season ends :)

    Maya – Thanks for the sweetest note. It sure feels great to be missed.

    Caffettiera – These are the exact same apricots. Hope they’re not too expensive there.

  10. 10 - Hope on September 9th, 2011

    It looks lovely >> thnx :)

  11. 11 - Tatiana on September 9th, 2011

    I’m so happy that you’re back!
    Beutiful post.You have no idea how happy I was
    when I checked back today and saw the new post.;)

  12. 12 - Marie on September 9th, 2011

    looks amazingly cute and delicious, thanks for posting this on time :)

  13. 13 - Zuhal on September 9th, 2011

    Really glad to see you’re back! They look lovely and seem just right for summer – would morello cherries be a good substitute? Cheers!

  14. 14 - Sasha @ The Procrastobaker on September 9th, 2011

    These look beautiful and ever component sounds divine! Gorgeous recipe :)

  15. 15 - Cindie on September 9th, 2011

    Wow, those look beautiful and fresh, filing this away for future reference!

  16. 16 - Jeff on September 10th, 2011

    This sounds amazing and great photos. I wish the heck we had an oven…

  17. 17 - Geri on September 11th, 2011

    “A picture is worth a thousand words” Like your “apricot bars”! I knew I wanted to taste one when I saw those whole apricots on top along with the creamy layer. When you see the ingredients your senses go crazy with a strong desire for it. I’ll be gathering my list of ingredients soon and wait patiently for the first bite. Thanks so much!

  18. 18 - leaf (the indolent cook) on September 11th, 2011

    These are the prettiest apricot bars I have ever seen. Truly enticing.

  19. 19 - mw on September 11th, 2011

    your blog is like a gourmet coffee table book- inspiring with delicious results!

  20. 20 - tracy on September 12th, 2011

    This photo looks too amazing.
    Weekend at home must try.

  21. 21 - Annetje on September 13th, 2011

    glad you’re back. Missed your posts.

  22. 22 - Val on September 14th, 2011

    Cenk,
    I just had one of the worst days at work and even though I had already taken a look at this post, it still made me feel better. This is the easiest answer to apricot tarts that I’ve seen, and it looks so pretty and effortless. Your simplistic approach gives me so much comfort. Thank you for sharing.

  23. 23 - Ena on September 19th, 2011

    Do you think I could omit the gelatine?

  24. 24 - Cenk on September 20th, 2011

    Ena – The filling will not firm up without the gelatine.

  25. 25 - Ilke on September 20th, 2011

    I was wondering what has happened to you! Figured you were having way too much fun in Istanbul :) Hoping to come soon for a short visit, I hope and enjoy Istanbul!

    This apricot dessert sounds like a good way to end summer. Better than a pie or a cobbler!

  26. 26 - Barbie on September 21st, 2011

    Beautiful, simple, and elegant.

  27. 27 - joey on September 22nd, 2011

    That is gorgeous! The apricots look brilliant…I could never turn out something as pretty as this!

  28. 28 - Restaurants in Merthyr Tydfil on September 28th, 2011

    From the way these apricot bars look, it seems like it is truly worth trying. The colors blended perfectly and it seems to invite any person who is in search of the best treats!

  29. 29 - Ruby on September 30th, 2011

    Brilliant and beautiful. Love the use of lebneh! Thanks, too, for the link to that fabulous article by Anne Lamott. Words to live (or at least write) by!

  30. 30 - Vivian Mac on September 30th, 2011

    The apricots have such a vivid color!

  31. 31 - Suzanne on October 1st, 2011

    Yum….looks beautiful and delicious!

  32. 32 - Joana on October 3rd, 2011

    Such a simple and delicious-looking dessert. I think I’ll try this sometime.

  33. 33 - Dror on October 9th, 2011

    this looks too good to pass on, printing and going to the kitchen now.

  34. 34 - Maaike on October 26th, 2011

    Looks really good, but what about substituting the gelatine with something else? I’m a vegetarian.. can I use the same amount of agar agar in this recipe?

  35. 35 - Cenk on October 27th, 2011

    Maaike – Since I haven’t tried a vegetarian version, I’m not 100% sure, but I think you’d need about a teaspoon of powered agar agar in this recipe.

  36. 36 - Cigdem on June 20th, 2014

    Mrb,

    Bir türlü ‘türkçe’ seçeneğini bulamadım bu I pad de. Ben denedim tarifi, tabiki evdeki malzemelere göre değiştirdim amma güzel oldu. Teşekkür ederim.

    Kopyacı anne

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