I set it aside and moved on to my collection of family recipes. There I came across an oldie but a goodie that my mom used to make called "Apricot Bars". These bars are a rich crumbly mix of buttery pastry and a thin layer of canned apricot filling. I always really liked them and decided to do a little reworking of it.
I switched out the apricot filling for some fresh nectarines, lacing them with some zingy candied ginger. I used all whole wheat flour for the all-purpose flour which I was a bit worried about but learned that 2 sticks of butter makes everything delicious.
These bars have a delicate, tender crumb and aren't altogether sturdy. It's best to allow them to almost completely cool before slicing and removing them from the pan. These bars don't keep for very long, not much longer than a day, but really, I don't think that will be too much of a problem.
For 15 bars:
- 3 ripe but firm nectarines
- 1/4 cup finely minced candied ginger
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup finely chopped walnuts
- Confectioner's sugar
Peel and finely chop the nectarines. Place them in a bowl with the ginger, 1/4 cup of sugar and cornstarch. Stir together and set aside.
In the bowl of a mixer, cream butter with sugar. Add egg and vanilla and mix well. Stir in flour and salt. Add walnuts and blend well.
Divide dough in half. Spread one half evenly into the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch greased pan. Cover with nectarines. Drop remaining dough by spoonfuls over filling, spreading out with a spatula. You don't have to be too thorough with this part as the dough will spread as it bakes.
Bake at 350˚ until the top is golden, about 35 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack until almost cool. Slice and place on the wire rack to cool completely. Once cool, sift confectioner's sugar over each bar.