Apricot Squares are perfect to make during the winter months when good fresh fruit can be tough to find. They are similar to the Date Nut Bars and Raspberry Squares but the apricot crust is more like shortbread. Feel free to experiment with other dried fruit, like figs or cherries.
12 ounces chopped dried California apricots
2 tablespoons brandy
½ cup sugar
¾ cup orange juice
¾ cup water
Crust & Topping
2 ¼ cups (9.5 ounces) unbleached flour
1 ¼ cups (5 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into ½” cubes (at room temperature but still cool)
½ cup chopped pecans
½ cup shredded sweetened coconut
2-3 tablespoons Turbinado Sugar
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350ºF. Cut 18-inch length foil and fold lengthwise to 8-inch width. Fit foil into length of 13- by 9-inch baking dish, pushing it into corners and up sides of pan; allow excess to overhang pan edges. Cut 14-inch length foil and, if using extra-wide foil, fold lengthwise to 12-inch width; fit into width of baking pan in same manner, perpendicular to first sheet. Spray foil-lined pan with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Make the filling: In a medium sized saucepan, stir together apricots, brandy, sugar, orange juice and water and bring to boil over medium -high heat. Cook the mixture for 8-10 minutes, until the fruit is soft and has absorbed most of the liquid. Remove from heat and cool slightly, then puree in food processor or use an immersion blender. Set aside.
3. Make the crust and topping: In a bowl of a food processor, pulse the flour, confectioners’ sugar, salt and baking powder just to combine. Add butter cubes and pulse 6-8 times until mixture is crumbly, but holds together when squeezed. Measure out 1 ¼ cups of mixture to a medium bowl and stir in pecans and coconut. Set aside.
4. Firmly press the remainder of the crust mixture into the bottom of the prepared 9x13 pan. Bake the crust for 14-16 minutes until pale golden; remove from oven.
5. Spread apricot filling over warm crust. Sprinkle reserved topping mixture over apricot filling. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Return pan to oven and bake for 28-32 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours, then remove squares from pan by lifting foil overhang. Cut into 2-inch squares and serve. (Store squares in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.)