I was expecting guests one day and needed to whip up something sweet to offer them with coffee. I often make a crostata, either with jam or with fresh fruit because they are so easy to put together yet so delicious, but this day I decided to experiment a bit. My Mother-In-Law makes these delicious apricot sliced cookies that are a cross between a cookie and a cake. I wanted something similar but with more of a buttery shortbread type of crust. I found an old shortbread recipe I often use as a base for squares, and topped that with some of my homemade Apricot Amaretto Jam. To finish it off I added slivered almonds and was very pleased with the results, as were our guests.
To toast the almonds, place on a baking sheet in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 5 minutes or until they just begin to color. The one thing I might do differently next time is to change the size of the pan. The original shortbread crust recipe called for an 8-inch pan but as I am just getting my kitchen set up here in Umbria all I had was a 9 inch pan. I think a little thicker crust would give these cookie slices more substance. You could use any fruit jam of choice in this recipe with great results.This dessert is best eaten within a day or two of baking.
Deborah Mele 2011
- 1/2 Cup Sliced Lightly Toasted Almonds
- 1 Cup All-purpose Flour
- 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 8 Tablespoons (1 Stick) Unsalted, Softened Butter
- 1 Cup Apricot Jam (Or Other Fruit Jam)
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Lightly grease an 8-inch square pan.
- Place the flour, sugar, and butter and pulse just until the mixture comes together.
- It will be crumbly but you should be able to pinch it into a soft ball.
- Be careful not to over mix which will make the crust tough rather than buttery and tender.
- Pour the mixture into your prepared pan and press it onto the bottom in an even layer.
- Pour the jam on top and carefully spread it across the dough evenly, leaving a 1 inch border all around.
- Sprinkle the almonds on top.
- Bake for about 25 minutes or until the sides are lightly browned and the jam bubbly and thick.
- Remove from the oven and let cool.
- Once cool cut into squares and serve.