Le Chef's Kitchen

I cook. I eat. I tell you all about it.

My Grandmother’s Apricot Bars

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Everyone has foods that, after one bite, transport them back to the days of their childhood.  Whether it’s your Mom’s meatloaf, your Grandmother’s meatballs, or simply a Jell-o snack pack, food has a way of reminding us through taste, touch, sight and smell of the past.  For me, the things that I remember the most from childhood are the desserts.  Yes, I definitely had a sweet tooth, and still do.  My Mom’s banana cake and pumpkin bread, my Grandmother on my Father’s side’s custard with bananas, and a fluffy chocolate cake with marshmallow icing stick out poignantly in my memory.  Along with those was one of my favorite desserts: apricot bars with meringue.  My Mom used to make these quite often, and if no one was around to stop me I could polish off half a tray without skipping a beat.  I recently had my Mom send me the recipe, which was originally my Grandmother’s, and I tried my hand at making them.  They were delicious, just as I remember.

 

Here are my Mom’s recipe cards.  I will elaborate on some of the more “vague” instruction points, since I had to get clarification over the phone while I was making them.  Those of you who know me know that I don’t bake very often, so this was a bit of a rarity for me.  I am happy to say that they came out great!

Back of the Card:

 

Apricot Bars (serves a crowd):

Ingredients:

For the topping:

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 T flour
  • pinch salt
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

For the Base:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1-2 jars of apricot preserves (if you want you can substitute your favorite jam, but I highly recommend apricot)  You want a nice even layer of jam on the base, regardless of what kind you pick.

Procedure:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

For the topping: beat the eggs, sugar, flour, and salt into a “meringue”.  Now, I had to call my Mom on this point for clarification, because I was expecting this to beat into a meringue as I know a meringue to be: i.e., stiff peaks of egg whites.  This is not the case with this “meringue”.  This meringue is more like a thin frosting that you pour over the bars once you’ve spread the preserves.  Don’t worry if it doesn’t set up for you; it will cook in the oven.  Once you’ve beaten the meringue, add the chopped nuts and mix to incorporate.

For the base: Cream the butter, sugar, and eggs.  This means put all three in a bowl and beat them until creamy, either with a hand blender, a mixer, or just a wooden spoon.  Add the vanilla and flour, and mix to make a dough.  Spread this dough flat on a baking sheet (by “use larger pan” my Mom means an 11 x 17in pan or bigger).  To do this you can roll, knead, and press the dough until it’s evenly spread on the bottom of the pan.

Spread a liberal layer of apricot preserves on the dough. Bake for 6 minutes at 350.

Remove the pan from the oven, spread the meringue over  the top, and bake at 350 for an additional 15 minutes until just becoming golden.

Enjoy a tasty treat from my childhood!

-LeChef


Written by Drew

February 23rd, 2011 at 9:52 pm

Posted in Dessert

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