These bars were one of the recipes I immediately tagged upon first receiving this book (Mary Berry’s Baking Bible), due to the inclusion of apricots (my favourite stone fruit) and the apparent simplicity of the recipe. Although Mary Berry describes these as similar to those you find in a health-food store; due to the enormous amounts of butter and sugar I dearly hope this is not the case! Rather I would consider these a delicious treat in a lunchbox or at a brunch with friends. Although the recipe claims to only make 8 bars, I got 10 quite large bars from it easily and you could further cut these into 20 squares as part of a larger spread.
Although I feel you could replicate this recipe with other dried fruits, the almost jam-like texture of the apricots once cooked would be hard to replicate with fruits that are not as juicy when dried (i.e. figs or sultanas). For that reason, I would stick to the recipe as it is here; they are very tasty just as they are!
- 50g rolled oats
- 50g light muscovado (or brown) sugar
- 40g chopped walnuts
- 200g wholemeal self-raising flour
- 175g butter, melted
- 175g dried apricots
- 50ml water
- 2 tbs caster sugar
- Grated rind of 1 lemon
To begin, pre-heat your oven to 130° (fan forced) or 150° and grease and line an 18cm square tin. Prepare the filling by placing the snipped apricots, along with the water, caster sugar and lemon rind in a small saucepan and simmer gently until the liquid has evaporated. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, prepare the oat layer by mixing together the oats, flour, sugar and walnuts in a large bowl.
Then pour in the melted butter and stir until a thick crumble forms.
Press half of the oat mixture into the tin firmly then evenly spread the apricot mixture over the top.
Finally, top gently with the other half of the oat mixture, so as not to disturb the apricot filling.
Pop in the oven to bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown. Cut into bars while still warm in the pan and allow to cool completely in the pan before removing as they are quite delicate until they have cooled.
These need no further adornment except perhaps a cup of tea to go alongside! They will keep well for a few days in an air-tight container.