Perhaps I have a little of my Oma in me. She adores apricots any which way. Last Christmas she steamed a bunch of them in the microwave, melted some white chocolate and served it as an appetizer. Mostly for herself. She also makes these crescent-shaped apricot stuffed cookies for Christmas.
Me, I don't like apricots so much. That was before I tried these squares.
It's a surprise I even found them. A small group of the little squares were hidden on a lower platter in the middle of a professional spread of food at a book launch party. Maybe it was because the squares were so obviously homemade, the only such goodies in a sea of designer tarts.
Soon enough I was directing everyone within earshot, whispering loudly that I'd discovered the tastiest treat of them all and coyly pointing to the unassuming squares. Being a little tipsy at that point, I don't recall whether anyone seconded my opinion.
But I've already been asked for the recipe.
Unfortunately, unlike most of my favourite recipes, this one is no slapdash affair. Don't try to do this 30 minutes before you're due at a cocktail party. But my boss, who kindly allowed me to publish this recipe for the world to see and hopefully eat, has a little trick. And that makes it worth the consuming cooking time.
She cuts the square into blocks and freezes them. Not only does freezing make it easier to cut the squares, it also makes it easier to pull these out for an impromptu party or one you're just to lazy to cook for.
First, prepare your dried apricots. You want to rehydrate them so the end result melts in your mouth as opposed to gnawing through them with your teeth. Put two eight-ounce packages of apricot in a saucepan and cover with water. Simmer until tender but not mushy. It may take about 15 minutes. I found that because I used two different packages of apricots, they cooked at different rates so I recommend sticking to one brand.
Drain. Let cool.
Next up: graham base and topping. (It does double duty.)
In a large bowl, mix together the following:
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs.
- 1 cup flour.
- 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut.
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed.
- 1/2 teaspoon salt.
- 1/2 cup melted butter.
Take half a cup of the mix and reserve it for the topping. Dump the rest into a rectangular baking pan and press it firmly and somewhat evenly.
Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes.
This is where the dreamy part comes in: mixing the softened apricots with sugary goodness.In a large mixing bowl, beat two eggs until frothy. Then add the following:
- 1 cup brown sugar.
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice.
- 1/3 cup flour.
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder.
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Cut the apricots into chunks, about three pieces each, and then add those too. Mix. Taste. And then spread over the graham base.
I don't recommend dumping it in the middle since smearing the mixture around can cause cracks in the graham crust. I used my hands for this, seeing as they are more gentle than a wooden spoon. Or at least I hope they are.
Sprinkle the remaining graham mix on top. Bake at 350 for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the edges have browned.
Cut when cool. Even better, as mentioned before, you can freeze large portions and then cut when partially thawed just in time for that party you almost forgot about.