Oct 25

Apricot-Fig-Pistachio Bars

in Book Reviews, Dessert, Family, Fruits & Vegetables, Indian

I recently told you about Pam Anderson’s newest book, Perfect One-Dish Dinners and how much I love it.  A few days after my post, I received an email from Maggy, Pam’s daughter, and one of the Three Many Cooks.  Maggy explained that she was organizing a kind of virtual book tour and asked if I would be willing to participate.  I already knew that I loved the book, and so my obvious answer was of course!  She challenged the participants to have a Sunday Supper and make a recipe or an entire menu from the book to share with friends or loved ones, then write about the experience.  It has been a crazy couple of weeks at our house, and so the timing was perfect.  We definitely needed some special family time.  I mentioned a few different main dish choices to Mr. Fuji, and he immediately perked up when he heard the words “Chicken Biryani.”  So I made the biryani, along with the accompanying menu recipes for a baby spinach salad with mango, red onion, and cilantro, and a recipe for apricot-date-pistachio bars.  Every time I make something from this book I love it even more, and this menu lineup was no exception.  The biryani was a snap to make and full of flavor.  The salad was refreshing and beautiful.  But really?  The best part was getting to sit down with my sweet little family and enjoy our time together around the table.

A Perfect One Dish Dinner with the Fuji Family

Time spent around the dinner table as a family is so valuable, though at times it requires a lot of effort and coordination to pull it off.  It makes me grateful for the time and effort my own mother put into making sure we always had dinner together as a family.  I have such fond memories of those meals, and know that we were closer then and are closer now because of that effort.

Tray of Apricot-Fig-Pistachio Cookie Bars

Not only did we get some special family time, but Squirrel and I had some special baking time too!  Squirrel joined me in the kitchen to make the cookie bars.  When I did my grocery shopping for the meal I was sure that I had cardamom and dates.  Then when Squirrel and I went to make the bars I couldn’t find the dates and realized that my cardamom spice jar was empty.  Sigh.  Instead of running to the grocery store I decided to “Fuji-fy” the bars a bit and use some items we already had on hand.

Making Apricot-Fig-Pistachio Cookie Bars

I replaced the dates with some dried Black Mission figs that I still had on hand from the California Fig Advisory BoardBlack Miss (remember Fig Week? Yum!) and used allspice in place of the cardamom.  I’m sure the recipe as it was originally written is delicious, but after making them the Fuji-fied way, I’m not sure my family would be happy if I changed anything!  These bars are bursting with dried fruit, nuts, and coconut and use one of my all-time favorite ingredients (sweetened condensed milk)!  The bars were delicious, moist, chewy, and rich—entirely addicting.  The various dishes we made were a huge success and definitely made for a perfect dinner.  If you don’t already have a copy of the book, you need one!  If you’re not convinced, visit some of the other book tour participants (links after the recipe)!

Apricot-Fig-Pistachio Bars

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Apricot-Fig-Pistachio Bars

Adapted from Perfect One-Dish Dinners, by Pam Anderson

Makes 16 bars

1/2 cup bleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
6 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup shelled roasted and salted pistachios
1 cup chopped dried figs
1 cup chopped dried apricots

1. Adjust oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.  Spray an 8-inch square metal baking pan with vegetable-oil cooking spray.  Fold a 16-inch length of heavy-duty foil to 7 1/2 inches wide and lay it across the pan bottom and up two of its sides so the foil overhangs to remove the bars from the pan.  Spray the foil with the vegetable-oil cooking spray.

2. Mix the flour, oatmeal, and sugar in a medium bowl.  Stir in the butter with a fork until it is well mixed and clumps form.  Spread 3/4 cup of the oatmeal mixture into the prepared pan, pressing it down to form a thin crust on the bottom.

3. Meanwhile, heat the condensed milk and allspice to a simmer in a small saucepan over low heat to blend the flavors.  Mix the coconut, pistachios, figs, and apricots in a medium bowl.  Add the milk mixture and stir to combine.  Pour over the oatmeal crust in the pan, using a rubber sptaiula to press the mixture into place.  Sprinkle the remaining oatmel mixture over the filling.

4. Bake the bars until they are lightly golden, about 30 minutes.  Set on a wire rack and cool for 5 minutes.  Using the foil handles, gently lift the bars from the pan and cool to room temperature (the bars will continue to set as they cool).  Cut into squares and serve.

Check out the other delicious stops on the Perfect One-Dish Dinners book tour!

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Cookin' Canuck October 25, 2010 at 1:24 pm

Rachael, these look fantastic! I love the pictures of your sweet family enjoying a meal together. Pam’s book is one of my favorite cookbooks. It is filled with such approachable, inspiring recipes.


Paula - bell'alimento October 25, 2010 at 1:32 pm

I think I need to buy the house next to yours ; ) Nothing like family dinners! LOVED this book {and can I say that I think your pictures get more gawgeous with every post…and they were already brilliant!} xoxo


chefpandita October 25, 2010 at 1:39 pm

Those squares look so appetizing! In fact I am having dried apricots after seeing this post. Wish I could have *one* of ur squares.

PS. Ur daughters are so cute! Xoxo


Heather (Heather's Dish) October 25, 2010 at 1:41 pm

these seem so healthy and beautiful! i can’t offer you any money, but if you want to cook for me you can totally have our guest bedroom… ;)


Maria October 25, 2010 at 2:27 pm

I love all of your photos! What a great meal! I will be trying these very soon!


Jennifer (Savor) October 25, 2010 at 2:33 pm

Lov your stories and photos Rachael – and the girls looks so darn cute


Michelle @ Brown Eyed Baker October 25, 2010 at 4:06 pm

OMG, these bars sound incredible!! I absolutely love figs and pistachios, what a great combination!


Nancy-The Sensitive Pantry October 25, 2010 at 5:08 pm

The food looks fabulous but, really…just look at those faces! They tell the whole story.


Lora October 25, 2010 at 6:34 pm

Wow. Terrific recipe. Thanks!


Tickled Red October 25, 2010 at 8:05 pm

Awww…just look at your sweet family :)
Love the recipe, those look too darn good darlin’. Perfect for a midnight snack.


Fuji Nana October 25, 2010 at 8:55 pm

3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk? That means some leftover SCM, right? Hmm… I’m on my way over. I want my Apricot-Fig-Pistachio Bar drizzled with SCM.


Mindy October 26, 2010 at 6:30 pm

I believe you have just convinced me to buy this cookbook. Not that I need another cookbook to add my collection of over 120 books already, but hey, this isn’t about ‘need’


Kristen October 26, 2010 at 7:45 pm

Love your sweet family – such sweet photos and delicious looking recipe.


Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking October 27, 2010 at 11:31 am

Your family is adorable! Thanks for sharing the recipe for these delicious looking fig bars – I’ll definitely be trying these soon! :)


Gina @ skinnytaste October 27, 2010 at 11:37 am

Rachel, your family is adorable!! Are those WONDERFUL pistachios in there? ; )


Joy October 29, 2010 at 7:51 am

I’m in love with this recipe. It looks great.


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