Treat Week: Rosemary Apricot Squares

I loved these. The not-too-sweet apricot filling paired with the rosemary short crust (which reminded me of these lovely thumbprints from 2012) was very pleasant. My one critique was that they crumbled when cut, so they don’t make for the neatest bars. 

Requires some chilling time.

from: Baked Exporations
yield: one 9 inch square pan of bars (I used an 8 inch square, so the crust was a bit thicker)

rosemary short dough

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons fresh rosemary leaves, minced
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes, at room temperature
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

apricot filling

2 cups dried California apricots (about 8 1/2 ounces)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons brandy or cognac
pinch salt

crumb topping

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
pinch salt
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

make the rosemary short dough

Lightly spray a 9 inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and line it with parchment paper, allowing the parchment to just overhang on 2 sides.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and rosemary. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter with the confectioner’s sugar and vanilla at medium speed until fluffy, approximately 2 minutes. Turn the mixer to the lowest speed and stream in the flour mixture. Scrape the dough into the prepared pan, lightly flour your clean hands, and press it into an even layer. Place the pan in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Bake the short crust until it is golden, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time. Cool the pan on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.

Meanwhile…

make the apricot filling

Place the apricots, sugar, honey, brandy, and salt in a medium saucepan with 1 1/2 cups water and simmer gently for 40-50 minutes, or until the apricots are fork-tender and most of the liquid has evaporated or thickened. (If there is still a good bit of liquid, pour most of it out before processing the apricot mixture.) Remove the pan from the heat and stir the mixture to release excess steam. Scrape the apricot mixture into a food processor and puree until smooth.

 

make the crumb topping

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, brown sugar, pecans, and salt. Mix on low speed for 15 seconds. Add the butter and mix until a sandy crumb begins to form, about 1 minute. (At this point the topping can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator until ready to use.)

assemble the rosemary apricot squares

Spread the apricot filling over the shortbread, then sprinkle the crumb topping over the filling. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the crumb topping has browned. Let the pastry cool in the pan for 30 minutes, then lift out using the parchment paper overhang and cut into bars. The bars can be stored in refrigerator, tightly wrapped, for up to 3 days.

 

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