“Can you stop making weird stuff and just bake a freaking chocolate cake like a normal person” is what the Dr exclaimed when he came home from work and asked me what baked deliciousness was sitting on the bench. Having said that he had no problems scarfing down a few and claiming that they were amazing. Also, he should know better than anyone else that I’m not normal.
I will admit though that my recent history of baked goods has included an array of intriguing (some would say off-the-planet) combinations which may have some people question my sanity but as I mentioned previously, I am going through a phase. I’m addicted to the sweet salty combination, the mix of savoury and sweet and things that you just wouldn’t expect to go together. And this didn’t let down, the earthiness of the rosemary really works with the slight tartness you get from the apricots and then what isn’t improved with a sprinkling of pecans….Come on you fellow kooks, you know you’re excited by this.
Apricot Rosemary Bars
Adapted from Gastronomy Blog
Makes 16 bars
What you need:
- 2 1/4 cups plain flour
- 1/4 tsp + a pinch of salt
- 2 1/2 tsp minced rosemary
- 170g butter at room temperature and 3 tbsp chilled butter
- 1/2 cup icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups dried apricots
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 3 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp brandy
- 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup pecans coarsely chopped
What to do:
Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
Grease and line a 9 inch square baking pan with baking paper. Allow some extra to hang of the sides so you can easily pull out the slab.
In a bowl mix together 1 3/4 cups of the flour with the salt and rosemary. In a mixer, cream the butter with the icing sugar and vanilla extract on medium speed until light and fluffy. Turn the speed to low and slowly add the flour and mix until just incorporated.
Scrape the dough into the baking pan and with your fingers lightly floured, push the dough into the pan so that it evenly covers the bottom and pop in the fridge for 30 mins.
Bake the crust in the oven for 30 mins until lightly golden in colour. Let it cool on a rack for about 30 mins while you make the apricot mixture.
In a medium saucepan, add the apricots, water, caster sugar, honey, brandy and a pinch of salt. Bring up to a simmer and then cook until the apricots are very tender and the liquid has thickened to syrupy consistency. This will take about 35-45 mins. Blitz the apricots in a food processor until smooth.
Either in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or with your fingers, combing the remaining 1/2 cup of flour and the chilled butter, dark brown sugar, pecans. Beat or rub between your fingers until it resembles breadcrumbs.
Spread the apricot mixture evenly over the baked crust. Sprinkle the crumble over the apricot and bake for 30 mins until golden on top. Let it cool in the pan before trying to lift it out otherwise it may break apart.
Once cool, using the baking paper hanging off the sides, lift it to a chopping board and slice into squares and serve.