I’ve been waiting nearly half a year to re-create a pastry that I had in Paris. Half a year. I don’t even know how that’s possible; I have the patience of an ant facing a Krispy Kreme. Maybe it’s good that I waited though, because this recipe evolved in my head so many times it was bound to be spectacular. It also took till August to get some decent apricots in stores in London so you know, that also helps.
There’s something for the combination of apricots and almonds that’s very satisfying. Throw in the pistachios though and the bars become something else entirely, juicy, crumbly sweet and impossible to stop at one.
The originals I tasted in Paris were little, beautiful, buttery tartlets topped with almond paste and chopped apricots. Out of greed, but also out of convenience, I adapted the recipe to resemble a tray bake, with a crispy crust on the bottom, an almond pistachio paste spread and sliced apricots to finish it off.
Start off with the crust. You’ll need:
175g plain flour
2g / 1 tsp fine salt
100g caster sugar
170g unsalted, cold butter
Preheat oven at 170C.
Line a 20 x 20cm square baking pan with baking paper – use two overlapping strips, 20cm wide, criss-crossed.
Using a food processor, pulse the flour, sugar and salt together.
Cut the butter in squares, then add it gradually in the food processor, mixing till the dough comes together in big clumps.
Turn into baking pan and spread evenly on the bottom, pressing down to cover the whole pan.
Bake in the oven for 10 – 12 minutes, until golden brown.
Remove from oven and leave to cool to room temperature. If used while still warm, the almond pistachio paste may be difficult to spread.
For the almond pistachio paste, you’ll need:
100g whole pistachios
100g sliced almonds (whole work too, just give them longer in the processor)
10g plain flour
3g fine salt
100g unsalted, cold butter
1 large egg
300g firm apricots
In the bowl of the food processor, place almonds and pistachios together with the flour, sugar and salt and grind till they reach a powder consistency.
Portion butter into squares or chunks and add gradually, with the food processor on, until all butter has been incorporated into a paste.
Add egg and combine.
Spread evenly on top of the cooled crust.
Pit apricots, slice the halves finely and arrange over the nutty paste in the baking pan. Or just use your fingers to tear the apricots and artfully arrange on top, which can be super satisfying in itself.
Place in oven for 45 – 50 minutes, until paste has firmed and is an even, golden colour. Try the crust with a tooth pick / skewer to make sure the batter is baked.
Allow to cool completely in the pan and dust with icing sugar.
Hope you enjoy them,