Arts & Entertainment

Apricot Bars

This makes a delicious and refreshing dessert or snack

Apricot is a happy ingredient! It is fruity, sweet and adds just the right amount of tang to these bars. When I moved to Montana from New York, I was amazed that apricots grow here. The apricots are so beautiful here that I had to make a dessert with them.

These apricot bars have a shortbread-type crust with a solid filling. I topped mine with some whipped cream and caramel pearls. This makes a delicious and refreshing dessert or snack. I will warn you, it is hard to eat just one!

Ingredients

Crust:

• 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted and slightly cooled

• 1/2 cup granulated sugar

• 2 tsp. vanilla extract

• 1/2 tsp salt

• 2 cups all-purpose flour

Filling:

• 8 large eggs

• 2 1/3 cups granulated sugar

• 1 1/2 cups Apricot Puree

• 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Instructions

Crust:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 9-by-13 pan with foil so that it extends up the sides, and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

In a bowl, whisk together the melted butter, sugar, vanilla and salt. Once mixed, add the flour and stir with a spatula until combined and no streaks of flour remain. Scrape the dough into the pan and press it into an even layer. It might seem a little greasy — this is normal.

Bake the crust for 25-30 minutes at 350 F, until it’s golden brown on top.

While the crust is baking, prepare the filling so it’s ready to go as soon as the crust is done.

Filling:

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, granulated sugar, and apricot fruit puree. Sift the flour on top of the egg mixture, and whisk it in.

When the crust is done baking, slide the rack part-way out of the oven. Pour the filling over the hot crust and slide it back into the oven. Reduce the temperature to 325 degrees and bake for 25-30 minutes. It’s done when the center barely jiggles when you tap the pan.

Once done, remove the pan from the oven and let it cool until it reaches room temperature. For the cleanest cuts, refrigerate the bars and cut them when completely cold. To cut, remove the bars from the pan using the foil as handles. Use a large sharp chef’s knife and wipe it off often between cuts. Sprinkle the top with powdered sugar before serving. Store bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Chef Deborah Misik is a Baking and Pastry Arts Instructor at The Culinary Institute of Montana at Flathead Valley Community College. She is a Certified Executive Pastry Chef and a Certified Culinary Educator through the American Culinary Federation. For more information about the Culinary Institute of Montana at FVCC, visit www.culinaryinstituteofmt.com.