Apricot Squares (Pyrageliai Su Abrikosais)Adapted from Treasures of Lithuanian Cooking
Quite honestly I prefer the flavor of peaches. I reduced the amount of sugar since my husband and I both thought it was too sweet. I added some almond extract to the dough and chopped almonds to the streusel topping for more crunch. Be sure to cook the squares for long enough. Even with draining and drying the excess juice, the dough can be too soft from the moistness of the fruit if you cook it to only pale gold. Make sure you cook the squares to a good golden brown allover. If you make the squares in a Pyrex dish, look at the underside to see that it is deep golden brown on the base without being burnt.
Ingredients for 6-8 generous portions
Method0. Preheat oven to 350°.
1. Grease 8" x 8" pan or a 9" pie plate.
2. Drain can of apricots thoroughly and allow fruit to drain on paper towels.
3. Combine flour, sugar and baking powder in food processor or bowl.
4. Rub in butter until mix resembles coarse breadcrumbs
5. Add egg yolks, sour cream and almond extract and mix until dough forms crumbs. Set aside 1 cup of crumbs for the streusel topping.
6. Turn dough into baking pan and spread evenly on base of pan. Top with sliced fruit.
7. Add chopped almonds and light brown sugar to remaining crumbs and sprinkle evenly on top of fruit.
8. Bake in preheated 350° oven for 40-45 minutes until topping is golden brown and you have checked how well cooked the base is.
Squares will feel soft, as they harden and crisp up as they cool. The fruit makes them very moist and they will become even moister the next day. In other words you can't easily eat them in your fingers.
Note: the addition of baking powder makes more of a cake like texture than a shortbread.
When cool top with heavy cream whipped with sugar and apricot or peach brandy and sprinkled with toasted almonds or the appropriate nut. This make a far fancier looking dessert for no extra work.
Recipe states that plums may be substituted for apricots. I also tried it with mandarin oranges.
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Oonagh Williams, proprietor of Royal Temptations, has a Culinary Arts degree, offers Catering services, teaches a variety of classes in International Cooking, makes regular appearances on WMUR ABC Channel 9's Cooks' Corner and has her own series on Merrimack TV. You can contact Oonagh at 603-424-6412.