Though I didn’t spend much time in the kitchen with either of my grandmothers, I enjoy remembering them by making the recipes that they left behind. For Mother’s Day this year, I wanted something sweet and brightly flavored, so I pulled out Apricot Bars from Grandma Bertie. Her typewritten recipe isn’t attributed to anyone, nor does it list a cookbook as its source, so perhaps she developed it herself. Its shortbread base reminds me of lemon bars but its apricot topping adds an unexpected flavor. The fruit is sandwiched between a crunchy, buttery bottom and a golden, egg-and-sugar laced top. This one is a keeper. Happy Mother’s Day to all!
Grandma Bertie’s Apricot Bars (circa 1960)
Makes 16 squares
For the base:
1 cup flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
For the filling:
1 cup cooked apricots
1/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon vanilla
- To make the base: Sift the flour and sugar together. Cut in the butter. Pat down quickly into an 8 or 9 inch square pan (ungreased). Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool.
- To make the filling: Wash the apricots well, cut into slivers with scissors, and cook 5 minutes with 3-4 tablespoons water. [Alternately, use dried apricots. Cut into slivers, place in a pot, and add water to cover. Simmer 5-10 minutes until soft.] With either method, set aside to cool before continuing the recipe.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- In a separate bowl, beat the eggs lightly. Add the sugar gradually and beat until thick. Add the vanilla and apricots.
- Add the sifted dry ingredients with a wooden spoon, cutting through quickly so that the apricots will be well distributed throughout the batter.
- Pour onto the cooled base and bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes or until golden brown and set in the center.
- When cool, cut into squares. Dust with icing [confectioner’s] sugar, optional.