Costco is a wonderful place. They have so many great things at such good prices. They even have a pretty nice produce section. On Tuesday, I walked around Costco with my mom and we saw a box of apricots in the produce section, and we decided to split the container. On Wednesday, I was home trying to work on housework and school work, and boredom set in and the urge to bake came over me. The apricots kept calling my name...they were asking me to put them into a delicious baked good treat. I was thinking about these yummy strawberry rhubarb pie bars that a coworker shared at work at the end of the school year, and I wanted to create something like that, but with the apricots. I searched the web and really could not find many pie bar recipes that uses fresh apricots, so I was a bit concerned that my concoction wouldn't turn out. But guess what? It did turn out and it turned out very well. You'll love the way the crust, apricot filling, and sweet and crumbly topping come together. I shared these fresh apricot pie bars at a party on Wednesday evening, and they definitely were a crowd-pleaser. I can't wait to make this yummy treat again. Enjoy!
Recipe for Fresh Apricot Pie BarsINGREDIENTS:
For the crust
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
3/4 cup of granulated sugar
A pinch of salt
1/4 tsp. of lemon zest
12 Tbsp. of very cold butter, chopped into small cubes (I put butter in freezer for about 20 minutes before using)
For the apricot filling
8 fresh apricots, pitted and chopped into small pieces
1 Tbsp. of cornstarch
1 Tbsp. of honey
1/4 cup of part-skim Ricotta cheese
2 egg yolks
For the topping
Reserved crust mixture
1/3 cup of dark brown sugar
1/3 cup of raw almonds
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 x 9 pan. Make the crust. Put the flour, sugar, salt, and lemon zest into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blad. Pulse briefly to blend. Scatter the very cold pieces of butter over the flour mixture. Pulse until the butter is incorporated and the mixture turns to crumbs. Use your hands to gather up some of the mixture, and then put it into the prepared pan. Press down so it sticks to the bottom of the pan, and continue adding more of the mixture until there is an even layer pressed onto the bottom of the pan. You will have leftover flour mixture in the food processor, and it will be used for the topping. Leave it in the bowl of the food processor. Put the pan in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Then remove from oven, transfer to a wire rack, and allow it to cool.
While the crust is baking, prepare the apricots. Put the chopped apricots into a bowl and gently toss with the 2 Tbsp. of sugar and the lemon juice. Let sit for 10 minutes. Mix the 1/2 cup sugar and cornstarch together in a small bowl. Then put the apricots into a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. Then stir in the cornstarch and sugar and cook for another 1 - 2 minutes. Set aside to cool. Once the apricots have cooled for several minutes, add in the honey, ricotta, and egg yolks. Mix until well incorporated.
Make the topping. Add the dark brown sugar and almonds into the bowl of the food processor with the reserved crust mixture. Pulse until incorporated and the almonds are finely chopped.
Pour the apricot filling on top of the cooled crust. Distribute the topping evenly over the apricot layer. Put pan into the oven and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, and rotate the pan halfway between baking. Put on a wire rack to cool before cutting and serving. Makes 16 - 20 bars. Serve fresh apricot pie bars with vanilla ice cream, if desired.
Annie's Eats, originally from Pink Parsley