GEORGE’S APRICOT BARS
30-40 apricots (you can use less if you’re buying them – they can get pricey)
1 T apricot jam
1/4 cup oil (olive, vegetable, or butter)
3 cups uncooked oatmeal (any kind)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
At least 12 hours before baking, cut apricots in half, remove pits, and mash. Stir in apricot jam. Refrigerate.
When ready to bake, mix together oatmeal, brown sugar, oil, baking soda, and the liquid (about 3 T) that’s floating on top of the mashed apricots. Put half of the oatmeal mixture in a greased 8″ X 8″ pan and pat down firmly.
Pour apricots on top and spread evenly.
Top with remaining oatmeal mixture, pressing lightly down.
Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 35-40 minutes. Let set for at least 1/2 an hour.
ALMOND SHORTBREAD PEACH TARTS – makes 4
There are 3 parts to this: the pastry cream, the almond shortbread tarts, and the peach topping. It may sound daunting, but it’s an easy recipe…and well worth the effort!
3 T sugar
1/8 tsp salt
2 1/4 tsp cornstarch
3/4 cup milk
2 egg yolks
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp almond extract
Make this at least several hours before serving so it’s cold.
Beat egg yolks in a small bowl. Set aside.
In a small saucepan mix sugar, salt, and cornstarch. Add a small amount of the milk & make a paste. If you add the milk all at once, you can get lumps. If you have a flat headed wooden stirrer, use that – it’s great for mashing out the lumps. Once you have a smooth paste, add the rest of the milk. Over a low/medium heat bring the milk to a boil – it will thicken as it heats. When it begins to boil, remove from heat and stream SLOWLY a few tablespoons of the hot milk into the egg yolks, stirring constantly. Then pour the egg yolks (with the milk in it) back into the saucepan – again, stirring constantly over a low heat. When the custard is thickened, remove from heat. Add the vanilla and almond extracts. Cool to room temperature, stirring now and then. Cover and refrigerate.
Almond Shortbread Tarts
1/3 cup slivered almonds
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 T sugar
6 T butter
1/4 tsp almond extract
Toast almonds – be careful not to burn them. Cool, then whirl in a food processor with the sugar until powdery. Whirl in flour. Cut butter into 6 pieces and add to food processor along with the almond extract. Whirl until blended. Divide dough into 4 portions. Press in a shortcake pan (it’s like a muffin pan but the bottom is raised so when you flip them over you have a nice crater for your filling) or 4 4″ tart pans.
Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit 18-20 minutes. Cool completely in pan. To remove, run a knife along edges – they should start to slide around. Flip them over and let them rest for at least an hour to firm up.
3 ripe peaches
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 T brown sugar
2 T butter
Peel peaches and cut into large chunks.
In a saucepan, melt butter. Add nutmeg and peaches. Cook a few minutes to soften peaches. Don’t overcook – you don’t want them mushy. Stir in brown sugar. Cool and refrigerate.
TO ASSEMBLE: Fill each shortbread tart with pastry cream and top with peaches.