When apricots are in season, it’s hard to resist the petite, blushing orange fruit. Although they have a reputation for being overly sweet or too tart, ripe varieties have just the right amount of both. When shopping, select ones that are bright in color and slightly soft. If they’re too firm, let them sit out on your kitchen counter for a couple days until they soften.

The flavor of apricots really shines when baked, and as the apricots in this recipe roast, they become ultra-tender. In the end, the squares of roasted apricot and pistachio have a rich, sweet flavor with a punch of tartness.

Roasted Apricot & Pistachio Squares

Yields | 16 squares |

  • 12 Tbsp (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup, plus 3 Tbsp, sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • ⅓ cup light brown sugar
  • ⅛ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 10 (approximately 1½ lbs) apricots, pitted and quartered
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 squeeze fresh lemon juice
  • ½ vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped, optional
  • 1 Tbsp pistachios, finely chopped

| Preparation | Preheat oven to 375°F. Line an 8-by-8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper and lightly spray with nonstick cooking oil spray. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter, ½ cup sugar, brown sugar, salt and vanilla extract; mix on medium speed, 2 minutes. Stop and scrape down bowl. Add flour and mix until incorporated and dough becomes sandy in texture. (Be careful not to overmix the dough, or the crust will be tough). Transfer one third of the dough to a clean bowl and press into small clumps with your fingers. Place in freezer to chill.

Press remaining dough evenly over the bottom of the prepared baking pan. With a fork, prick dough all over. (This will prevent the dough from puffing up during baking.) Bake crust, 18 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and set on wire rack to cool while you prepare the apricot filling.

In a large bowl, combine apricots, remaining sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and vanilla bean seeds. Spread apricot filling evenly over cooled crust; crumble reserved dough over filling. Sprinkle the top with more sugar and pistachios. Bake again, 55 to 60 minutes or until lightly golden. (Apricot filling should be bubbling.) Remove from oven and set on wire rack to cool completely. Transfer to a cutting board and cut into squares. Bars are best enjoyed the day they’re made.

Teresa Floyd is a Kansas City-based food writer, editor for the online food publication feedfeed and contributing monthly columnist for Feast Magazine’s Sugar Rush. Find her current creations on Now, Forager, a pastry blog featuring seasonal desserts.

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