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Apricot-Fig-Pistachio Bars

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.