apricot pistachio squares Recipes

apricot pistachio squares

Let me just get the obvious out of the way because I know what you’re thinking: what am I doing here? Shouldn’t I be packing for our move, which is less than 24 hours from now? These are all valid questions, but you see, there is history here, a long history of kitchen-related procrastination. Two days before our last move, I sheeted pasta and peeled favas. I spent the last week of my pregnancy stocking the freezer with foods to bribe charm labor and delivery nurses with. When I was done with that, I made a cake for people coming to visit the new baby. When my induction was trudging along pitifully slowly, I pulled out my laptop and wrote up a new recipe I’d made in the days before. Thus, it should be no surprise that on Tuesday, with a totally straight face, I made the argument by turning the last splash of heavy cream, handful of chocolate chips and a half-pint of vanilla ice cream leftover from this into hot fudge sauce, I was “packing.” But yesterday, I didn’t even have an excuse; I just needed a break from having exasperating conversations a store that lost the mattress we ordered and could maybe get us a replacement sometime in September, arrgh.

pistachios and apricots
apricots everywhere this summer

Ahem. I’ve been in a bit of a fervor this summer over the apricots from Red Jacket Orchards. I shared a photo of them the other day and someone asked me what I was going to make with them and I was confused. Make? With apricots? Why on earth would you make something with apricots, when you could eat them as-is, even four in a row as my son did before my dropped jaw yesterday. But then the next wave of procrastination hit and why, yes, making something with apricots was a brilliant idea!

whirling the pistachios

making the cookie base

In another era of my life, this would have been a tart. I would have made a tart shell and pressed it into a fluted, removable bottom tart pan, trimmed the overhand, pricked it all over with a fork, filled it with pie weighs and par-baked it before filling it elegantly. This all feels way too fussy for my current lifestyle — and by “lifestyle” I mean “barely managed chaos” — and so I made bar cookies instead. Bar cookies are your friend. The crust can be whizzed up in a food processor and pressed into the bottom. You parbake it with no docking and no pie weights, and while it’s in the oven, you use the bowl of your food processor that you didn’t even wash (because la dee da, it doesn’t matter) to grind the pistachio frangipane filling.

pistachio paste filling
ready for the oven

Frangipane is usually made with almonds; frangipane is delicious with almonds. But what I really want to eat with apricots is nubby green pistachios, and so I made a pistachio paste instead. As the sole purpose of this baked good was to allow me to avoid handling the real things in my life that need to be handled, and I was very distracted while baking it, my expectations were very low for the results. I figured it would be a disaster and one day, preferably in my new kitchen, I’d make it again properly. But the kitchen faeries were with me — it’s like they wanted me to willfully ignore my to-do list! And who am I to argue with faeries?! — and these are actually wonderful, buttery and rich but not too sweet. For a bar cookie, they are downright elegant. As a way to evade a big looming deadlines, astoundingly effective. Now, who wants to come over and help us pack?

apricot pistachio squares

One year ago: Kale Salad with Pecorino and Walnuts
Two years ago: Leek, Chard and Corn Flatbread
Three years ago: Peach Butter
Four years ago: Everyday Chocolate Cake
Five years ago: Lighter, Airy Pound Cake
Six years ago: Key Lime Meltaways
Seven years ago: Mixed Bean Salad

Apricot Pistachio Squares

This recipe is lightly spun from this pear-almond tart from Dorie Greenspan, with a simpler crust and streamlined steps. This is the kind of bar recipe that should theoretically be flexible to use with other ingredients; I’ve been eager to try a peach-pecan or plum-walnut combo. I’d love to hear what kind of spin you give them. You can estimate roughly need twice the weight in pistachios if you’re buying them in their shells.

Yield: 16 or 25 bars, depending on how you cut them

1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter, cold is fine

3/4 cup (a scant 4 ounces or 110 grams) shelled unsalted pistachios
1 tablespoon (10 grams) all purpose flour
Few pinches of sea salt
6 tablespoons (75 grams) sugar
5 tablespoons (70 grams) unsalted butter, cold is fine
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon almond extract, 2 teaspoons brandy or another flavoring of your choice (totally optional)
1 pound firm-ripe apricots

To finish
Powdered sugar or 1/4 cup apricot jam

Heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Cut two 12-inch lengths of parchment paper and trim each to fit the 8-inch width of an 8×8-inch square baking pan. Press it into the bottom and sides of your pan in one direction, then use the second sheet to line the rest of the pan, perpendicular to the first sheet. (If you have an 8-inch square springform, you can skip this and just butter it well.)

Make the crust: Combine the flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Cut the butter into chunks, and add it to the bowl, then run the machine until the mixture forms large clumps — that’s right, just keep running it; it might take 30 seconds to 1 minute for it to come together, but it will. Transfer the dough clumps to your prepared baking pan and press it evenly across the bottom and 1/4-inch up the sides. Bake for 15 minutes, until very pale golden. For the sake of speed, transfer to a cooling rack in your freezer for 10 to 15 minutes while you prepare the filing.

(Don’t have a food processor? You might have an easier time using softened butter and preparing this cookie-style: cream it with the sugar with a hand mixer, then spoon in the salt and flour, beating until just combined. It might help to chill this mixture a bit before pressing it into the pan, or it might feel too greasy to easily spread.)

Make the filling: In your food processor bowl (which I never bother cleaning between these steps), grind your pistachios, sugar, flour and salt together until the nuts are powdery. Cut the butter into chunks and add it to the machine. Run the machine until no buttery bits are visible. Add any flavorings and egg, blending until just combined.

Spread filling over mostly cooled (warmth is okay but it’s hoped that the freezer will have firmed the base enough that you can spread something over it) crust. Cut apricots in half (or, you might find that you can tear them open at the seams with your fingers) and remove pits. From here, you have a few decoration options: you can place the apricot halves in facedown or up all over the pistachio base. You can do as I did, which is cut them into strips, then slide each cut half onto a butter knife or offset spatula, tilt it so that it fans a little, and slide it onto your pistachio filling decoratively. (With this method, I ended up not using all of my apricots.) You could also arrange the strips like petals of flower around the pan, for maximum pretties.]]

Bake the bars for 60 minutes, or until they are golden and a toothpick inserted into the pistachio portion comes out batter-free. This might take up to 10 minutes longer depending on the juiciness of your apricots and the amount you were able to nestle in. Let cool completely in pan; you can hasten this along in the fridge.

To finish, you can make a shiny glaze for your tart by warming the jam in a small saucepan until it thins, and brushing this mixture over the top of the cooled tart. Or, you can keep it rustic with just a dusting of powdered sugar, as I did.

Cut bars into squares — chilled bars will give you the cleanest cuts. Keep leftover bars chilled.

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205 comments on apricot pistachio squares

  1. Jill

    Um, this looks amazing. And I love that it can be done just with the food processor alone. I am going to the store to get apricots and pistachios NOW!

  2. It’s like you read my mind – all I need is some way to use up a bazillion apricots/peaches from our CSA. And here you are with this. Excellent. Thank you!

  3. beh27

    Yum! Good luck with the move, Deb! While you finish packing, will you contemplate whether this recipe would work with Italian plums? We have a tree out back that will be ripening soon and I’m always looking for new ideas (beyond eating straight up).

  4. pam

    If I was NYC I would come help. I just did the same for my daughter and her family.
    Thank you for all the great recipes. I would hate cooking without your inspiration!
    Hope the move goes well.

  5. Can I say that these are two flavors that I absolutely adore separately, but can’t believe I never thought of pairing together? Also, I haven’t actually cooked with pistachios as much as I love them. :) Thanks!

  6. I’m about to pack myself for a move soon, so I wish you luck! As for the recipe, I have a feeling that I have some nuts destined for a frangipane before I leave this house. So now, just to track down some apricots…

  7. Kat

    Oh what, my two favourite sweet flavours? Guess I have plans for this evening. I might mess with it slightly by adding a touch of cardamom to the base…mmm!

  8. Sarica

    Exactly the recipe I’ve been looking for! I have some pistachio paste I bought in France. Do you think I could use this as the filling? Should I still add the flour/sugar/flavorings?

    1. deb

      Sarica — I haven’t tried this from existing paste, so it’s hard to say how it would work. I’d expect it to replace the nuts and sugar, but maybe not the egg, butter, or flour. You might want to start with 3/4 to 1 cup paste.

  9. Lauren

    Just tore an Apricot-Pistachio Biscotti recipe out of an old ( shamefully old…) magazine last night…now all I can think is “who needs a DRY cookie?” when you can have these bars????? Dry in winter maybe, when you can’t get good apricots…but now???? no way- these are IT! Thanks Deb, I’m on it.

  10. I’m co-opting your brilliant use “lifestyle” for “barely managed chaos”. Sheer genius, that. As is this recipe. PS – repeating phrase at end of first paragraph (maybe just for emphasis?): “I just needed a break”.

    1. deb

      Molly — Thanks, now fixed. Or maybe it was for emphasis?

      (P.S. Seriously, I’m like this tweet when I seem surprised that I’m kinda stressed out today when, hello, apricot squares.)

  11. Damn you Deb! Going back over those transitioney posts is making my uterus forget everything that I swore I would never forget the first time around.

  12. deb l

    assuming you could use already ground pistachios, (or almonds or hazelnuts) – would you still use 110 grams? how about also subbing in for some of the flour in the crust?

    1. deb

      deb — Swap ground pistachios for the weight, yes. I do think you could swap in some in the crust, but too much and it may not come together as well.

  13. Always been curious

    What is the effect of parbaking a crust for a tart or bar like this when the whole thing cooks for another hour? I have baked a lot of pies and tarts and have never parbaked the crust if the pie has to cook for more than 40 minutes. I usually start the baking with the temperature higher for 10-15 minutes and then turn it down and I haven’t had any issues with soggy crusts. None of my crust recipes have butter in them though (I use crisco or oil), so maybe that’s the difference? Or is it purely a flavor preference, as the shell gets more browned?

    I can’t wait to try this flavor combination! Two of my favorite things.

  14. Sarah

    I notice you added a little salt to the pistachio layer. Did you use unsalted nuts? Just wondering because sometimes pistachios can be a little salty.

  15. Deb! As always, just when we think you have brought out the most fabulous recipe, you surprise us with delicious looking apricot and pistachio bars!

    Quick question (as always): Since you mentioned food processors a couple of times – I am on the lookout for a good food processor. Nothing too fancy, but something super reliable. I am good with mini processors too cause it will just be my fiance and I at the apartment. Do you recommend any brands? And which one do you have?? I have been going crazy looking at Vitamix and Cuisinart and Jamie Oliver Philips but I just can’t bring myself to spend 400 quid on a food processor (Read: my fiance won’t allow me to).

    Thanks again for giving us recipes even when you’re swamped!


  16. Brooks

    I’m a nut-paste fiend, and these squares look sensational. Am within moments of ordering a pound of shelled pistachios. Did you use roasted or raw? Thanks.

    I, myself, am in the midst of an apartment purge — a HELLISH business. And when I’m done, the apartment will still be a dog (albeit an uncluttered dog).

    Hope your move goes smoothly, Deb. I envy your swell new digs!

  17. Jess.

    You know we’d all come if you had a packing party. And you’re just moving in the same building, right? We could build a human chain and just pass things along. Be done in an hour. Sorry if this just gives you a bittersweet daydream. If you’re not afraid of stalkers, though, you should let us all come help you! xox

  18. I am always so envious of the great quality of ingredients you seem to have to hand in the states. I am a big fan of pistachios and the apricots are ready in the garden. And the fact that this is such a sweetly simple recipe means I have to make it. Lush :) Hope the move goes well.

  19. carrie_b

    Apricots with pistachios? yum!! I need to make these soon. what a lucky coincidence my holiday starts tomorrow. :-)

    If I may offer one piece of advice re. apricots: If you can, try and get Bergeron apricots (or Bergarouge, which is similar). I’m an apricot lover, but am often disappointed when the fruit turns out mealy or too sour. Bergeron apricots, usually easily discernible because of their reddish speckles, are the perfect combination of sweet and tangy. When they’re ripe, I prefer them over any other type – both for eating raw, baking and jam-making.

  20. Julie

    These look wonderful, but not a huge fan of apricots. What do you think of switching out with peaches – would they go ok with pistachios?
    Hope your move goes well : )

  21. Randi

    Deb! I love you! I’ve been wanting pistachio butter but didn’t know where to start. What a great gateway to pulverizing nuts in my food processor! Looks delish!

  22. Jane M

    Pack Schmack – you’re only schlepping upstairs right? I say BAKE AWAY! Oh and keep up the purging – that’s my MOST FAVORITE ACTIVITY EVER! Good luck in your new digs! Can’t wait to see the new kitchy!

  23. ahu

    These look amazing – pistachios are such an integral part of Persian dessert culture so I love seeing it used elsewhere! Love Deb L’s idea of adding some to the crust also!

  24. Christine

    I love your recipes and always referr to you before anyone else. These cookie bars look incredible and I will be trying them out as soon as I’m not working again. My question is about the lovely baking pans you use. What brand are they and where would I purchase them. Thanks so much for your beautiful and delicious creations.

  25. oh I want to eat these but I have to lose weight. But I will save them for when I have done this and next summer when I am thin and can have a delicious dessert every now and then, I will make these. Not interested in helping you pack, but, if you need a rather plump interior designer (who has made and eaten many, many and then many, many more servings of your delicious recipes with way too much abandon), for your new space to help you unpack. Call moi.

  26. Eva

    Hey, thank you so much for your wonderful recipes! Especially the light brioche burger buns changed our burger experience ;) I am really happy that you added in this recipes the ingriedients needed in gramm – so I don’t have to do the math :) I would be grateful if you could provide the size of the pan.Thank you in advance! Good luck and strength for the relocation! :)

  27. amanda

    i have to say that i love the comparison of the frequency of your initial comments to now that they have tapered off … i hope this means that people FINALLY showed up to help you and your two boys pack?! or perhaps the need for procrastination was superseded by the honking moving van? regardless, happy moving … can’t wait to see the new recipes from the new kitchen!!

  28. Susan

    I am a serial procrastinator and find that as long as I bake something good, I never get a scolding. Not even when it’s really important that I stay on task.

    1. deb

      Susan — I’m sorry to hear that.

      Is anyone having trouble with their comments posting, where you have to try more than once? We can definitely look into it.

      Briar — I’d just drain them really, really well.

      Safrina — I have one from Cuisinart. I love it; I’ve always had one like this. But I would go to more of Cook’s Illustrated to get good comparisons and reviews across different brands and models.

      Sarah — Yes, unsalted nuts. Will clarify.

      Kailee — Unsalted. Will clarify.

      Always been curious — It gets a lot better texture, color and flavor on the crust layer if you par-bake here. It would also be difficult to spread the paste on an unbaked base.

  29. Just came here from facebook to say that this is an amazingly original recipe and mix of ingredients and I just loved it!! I don’t have a blender, but there’s a supermarket I go to that sells pistacio paste, maybe I’ll give it a shot ;)

    1. deb

      Jane — Wow, I have to admit that I’ve never considered whether my pistachios were roasted or unroasted, and mine weren’t labeled. That said, they tasted unroasted — green but not very deep in flavor. I have a hunch you could use either here, however.

      Joe — I think sour cherries might be a cooler climate thing, actually. Or, at least, we had a tree in my parent’s backyard in New Jersey growing up. I think you can use sweet cherries here. You might drop the sugar in the pistachio paste by 1 tablespoon to compensate.

  30. Joe

    Looks awesome! I’m already thinking up alternative fruit/nut combos… If I were to do this with say, cherries and almonds, should I use toasted or raw almonds? Also, I’ve noticed in a lot of your cherry recipes you call for sour cherries and I’ve never been able to find them unfortunately. Apparently Southern California is sweet cherry central- do they go by any other name than ‘sour cherries’?

  31. Deb, roughly how much paste do you get from processing the nuts? I have a wonderful source of organic pistachio paste from nuts grown on the slopes of Mount Etna in Sicily. It’s one of the best products in my kitchen.

  32. Beth

    You had me at “pistachio frangipane filling.” Wow! Can’t wait to try these. Maybe a plum+raspberry+hazelnut version would be lovely too?

  33. Jane

    I’ve been a big fan of Red Jacket Orchards since I lived first in Ithaca, NY and then in NYC. I would buy huge bags at the Union Square Market, they were such a treat!

  34. PepperReed

    Of COURSE the kitchen fairies were with you… this is their last gift to you (and yours to them) for all the Love and gloriousness to come out of that kitchen over the past several years. The recipe looks delish and I hope the move goes smoothly (or as smoothly as it can…) No bed? I would be NUTS… and not pistachio’s!

  35. ciddyguy

    Deb, it may not make you feel any better, but I have a good chunk of my apartment packed up even though I’m still looking for a place to buy and get out of renting all together.

    That said, this looks fantastic.

    At Safrina, Don’t necessarily look at new, nor the larger size, unless you need one.

    I bought an older Cuisinart food processor at an estate sale 4 years ago for $30, US, and it’s the 11cup DlC-8 model that I can still get parts for if needed, and it was complete with all the shredding/slicing discs etc, including the plastic scraper and the owner’s manual too. If it’s just you and the hubby, go for the 7Cup model as it’ll run you less than $200 US.

  36. PepperReed

    Also, sour cherries are sometimes called tart cherries or pie cherries. They are typically the Montmorency variety, tho’ occasionally others like Morello. If you have access to a Gordon’s Food Service in your area, they have (or can get) bags of frozen tart cherries. Usually you only find them at farmers markets, or occasionally stores if you live in a state (like Michigan) that is known for growing vast orchards of them. I’m *BLESSED* that I have 3 gallon bags frozen in my deep freeze waiting for good recipes, so will likely try Joe’s tip on a tart cherry/almond version. I’ll keep you all posted.

  37. BigTexasBoy

    Deb…DEB…you had me at pistachio. These are everything I need this week. I’m only half unboxed after my own move, and my new kitchen is, on a good day, half the size of my last one, and sometimes I want to cry when I walk into it. I’m going to dig out my pans and make these while I glare at the rest of the boxes.

  38. Oh, man! You cook/bake for me like this and I’ll do all the packing/moving for you! But, . . . don’t think I could get there before you actually need to do the moving part! :)

  39. PippaS

    Beautiful! I will make it with our plums as soon as they’re ripe (3 trees laden) – definitely with walnuts – and maybe also with pears/almonds as we have 2 trees which are nearly ready to pick. Another riff would be damsons with walnuts – really sharp and delish. mmm. But might make this one as a proper tart if I can get apricots before we go on holiday… sounds too tempting

    At Safrina – I’ve had a Magimix for a few years now, it’s still good as new (was a present). Before that I had my grandmother’s old magimix (and I mean old) and it worked a dream but I couldn’t get parts any more and she’d lost(?) some of the bits I wanted. The motor on them is amazing, they can deal with anything, and the parts are good quality so you don’t get snapping plastic etc. I’d agree with ciddyguy, look for 2nd hand if you can, but do check it’s got all the bits you need (for example, I never use the juicer…). Also check you have space to store it and all its bits – they are bulky things. Have fun!

  40. Cobnut, Frangelico and late Scottish raspberries….

    Greengage and elderflower liqueur with almond……

    Rosy quince and eau de coings and hazelnut…..

    Seville orange cooked down with brown raw sugar and pistachio paste….

    Medlar and walnut…..

    Oh boy Deborah, you have got me thinking of autumn and all the wonderful bosky and rustic tarts and slabs I am going to make from our allotment produce.

    1. deb

      Hi Nicola — Sorry to hear that. I found the comment in the Spam folder and approved it. We’re looking into the problem. In the meanwhile, feel free to let me know whenever it happens and I will fish it out.

  41. Deb, I so understand what you’re doing. You ARE packing! See you’re using up ingredients so they don’t have to be packed. It is so much easier to transport bars than apricots { they could get bruised} and flour, sugar etc. See?! You were packing and the bars sound so delicious!

  42. Munich Girl

    I love your humor and your recipes so much that if I were not an ocean and a couple of countries away, I would, indeed, come over and help you pack.

  43. Missy

    My husband had leg surgery yesterday, and i found myself with an urge to bake while he was sleeping off the anesthesia (he’s usually the baker int he family, while I’m more of the cook). Stumbled on this recipe, and I had all the ingredients on hand (well, swapping peaches for the apricots and using half pistachios, half walnuts anyway). It turned out just great, despite the fact my pan was a little too small for the recipe. It’s making for a great breakfast, and it was a great comfort to make as well. Thanks!

  44. charm

    Hi, Deb!
    Good luck with the move. Once, we moved five times over the course of seven years. But to balance that, we have stayed in this house for ten years now. Inertia is a wonderful thing!
    What is the kitchen scale you use? I cannot make out the brand in your picture. Is there one you would recommend over all others?

  45. hello Deb I just love your apricot pistachio squares and I put pistachio liquor in mine that I made last night and that look so good to me and the flavor that was coming out of the oven was driving me absolutely crazy and so I had a pieces and it was delicious! :-) <3 :-)

  46. JP

    This bar cookie looks like it could be made just for California. The colors are absolutely gorgeous and you have chosen two of my favorite things. I do wonder, however, about the almond extract. I love almond extract with almond pastries, but wonder if it would overwhelm the pistachio flavor which is pretty subtle. Is there pistachio extract? Would it be silly to have another extract bottle in the cupboard if there is? Best wishes on the move and I, for one, certainly hope you will be able to keep blogging as soon as you have moved because you have certainly kept up before the move. I guess I am just greedy for your great recipes! Thanks!

  47. Suki

    Hi! What a wonderful recipe and photographs!! I was curious if I wanted to bake this in a 9×13 pan would it be okay to double the recipe?

  48. Apricots!!!! I am totally and utterly in love with apricots, I rarely cook them either because raw they are just perfect. This recipe sounds delectable. Best of luck with the move :)

  49. Deb I don’t blame you! I would have done the same if I was in your place. Last time the night before moving, I tried to convince my husband to let me keep the juicer unpacked so only I can make fresh juice in the morning at 4am before we leave!!!
    On another note, I am making these tom!!

  50. Matt

    Can you think of any fruit that might go well with pine nuts? Would this be at all delicious with pine nuts? The TJ’s bag in my cabinet is calling my name!

  51. Hannah

    I’m so excited about this recipe and I have a good feeling that it’s going to be a favorite. With one hiccup: I’m not a huge fan of apricots. Besides cherries (checked comments first; woohoo!), what do you think would be a good substitute while keeping all other major parts of the recipe intact (I.e. dough and dreamy pistachio paste)? Peaches maybe?

  52. Nora

    Wow! I’ve made your oatmeal cranberry cookies, salsa, and blueberry cake (to rave reviews). This is going to be next! I think the colors are great for a Halloween party, no?

  53. Rosa Vella

    Hi Deb ,I made one with Peach and roasted Pecan with Almond Liqueur and peach preserve glaze. .

    I all so made the apricot and pistachio one too …p.s. they were both delicious. :-)

  54. lisa

    Okay, Deb, I just made these now and they are buttery, nutty and fruity goodness rolled all into one. Thanks for this recipe and also your whole blog which is deliciously awesome!

  55. Linda

    These look amazing! Did you toast the pistachios before grinding them? If I use walnuts, would you recommend toasting them, or maybe I don’t need to since they are going into the oven anyway?

  56. Rosa Vella

    Linda toast them in the oven for 7 to 8 minutes at 350 f. On a baking tray cookie sheet and after let them cool down to about warm and then grind them :-) P. S. It gives them a but flavor :-)

  57. Oh me oh my…

    I have a feeling lemon zest rather than brandy will send this recipe to the heavens. I’ll keep you posted!

    Unless of course I end up in heaven after my first bite :)

  58. Morgan

    These were awesome. I’m in australia so no apricots at the moment. I made it with half pistachio and half almond in the filling along with the zest of a mandarin, 1 tsp of vanilla and 1 tsp of brandy. Then I topped it with sliced pears and a few fresh cherries. It was so good, can’t wait to try it with different fruit and nut combinations. Thanks for the great recipe!

  59. Maggie

    Deb, I just happened to be looking up your recipe for Lobster Rolls today, and your post there from five years ago seemed to indicate that right about now it should be A Certain Husband’s 40th birthday, am I right? So…. are you moving AND baking birthday cake this week?

  60. Rupi D

    I followed your directions exactly but when I went to go check at 40 minutes it had already started burning a lot around the sides. Any idea what I could have done wrong? It’s not my oven, the temperature is correct.

  61. Jeannine

    So these look amazing and I want to try them, but there are some serious nut allergies in my house. Are you aware of any other grain or granola or something else that I could substitute? otherwise I might just go with apricot bars.

  62. Wow! I have never seen something like this before, what a unique dessert!
    Pistachios are my favourite nut, but I’ve never used them in a dessert bar.
    Will try next Sunday! Thank you :)

  63. Wow. These look amazing, and I bet they taste even more so! I will be making these-or some version that you suggested-for Sunday dinner dessert. Thanks for the inspiration! :)

  64. Heidi

    FYI – Trader Joe’s sells unsalted pistachios (dry roasted) in 8 oz bags, if you haven’t been able to find them at a local, regular grocery store, like me.

  65. Terra

    Baked these today with my 88 year old grandma. We used her heirloom 8×8 pan that has hours of baking stories associated with it (and of course the stories were shared over coffe while waiting for the bars to bake). Grandma’s two favorite things to eat are apricots and pistachios….so she is happy, happy, happy, and so am I. Such a treat. Thanks for posting :)

  66. Rosa Maggie

    Hello Deb, I hope you are talking to me. ..lol.. because I do make Wedding cakes/Cakes/and Birthday Cakes and cupcakes too, but I think really you are talking about some one else :-) but thank you. . And I’m in Canada, Ontario, Barrie.

  67. Katie

    Mine burned a bit! And my oven is not very hot! Edges were blackish and bitter. Is is my pan? I only kept in in for 40 minutes as it was cooking so quickly. Any suggestions?
    Am not a complainer! I love your blog. Thanks for all that you do! So admirable.

  68. Carol

    Just made these, and they turned out very well! I doubled the recipe to make a batch for home and a batch to give away. I will roast the pistachios next time so their flavor is a bit more conservative, I reduced the butter in the filling by 2 Tbsp, Grand Marnier for flavoring, and used white nectarines (no apricots at the market).

    Both pans turned out beautifully, just rotated half way through baking (which took about 40 minutes).

    Thanks for another great recipe!

  69. Valerie

    Hi Deb, I have loved your site for a long time and have found your way of cooking/baking quite simpatico with my own. This is actually my very first comment if you can believe it, but long overdue. This recipe sounds wonderful and I hope to try it with some leftover frangipane I have in my freezer (left over from a baking course I took, as I am not in the habit of making frangipane believe me). I think I will try it with peaches.

  70. Topol

    Very nice recipe. I like the shortbread-like crust and the pistachio-apricot combination.

    I did find the pistachio mixture way too sweet and will cut back by one or two tablespoons next time. May even reduce the sugar in the crust by a tablespoon.

    BTW, I found (too late) that Trader Joe’s sells unshelled, roasted, unsalted pistachios. Would have made the prep even easier.

  71. Glenda

    I made these today for company and they were just great. I used walnuts and added cardamon for the seasoning. Deb, you never let me down.

  72. Made these last night, and used peaches and plums instead of apricots-my market didn’t have apricots :( I also vegan-ized this recipe.

    I cut back on the sugar in the filling, and only used 2 TB honey. I omitted the egg, and added 1 TB ground golden flax and the juice of 1 whole lemon to the filling, and finally 1/8 teaspoon baking powder to replace that “poof” that the egg usually gives traditional frangipane.

    I also cut-back on the fat in the shortbread by adding 2 TB fruity olive oil, 2 TB coconut oil. I added the zest of 1 lemon as well.

    These are super rich and tasty-and I will definitely be trying a walnut-apple combo in the fall! Thanks Deb :)

  73. Stephanie

    I accidentally bought unsalted pistachios recently, to the dismay of my family. We ate half the bag, but have about enough left to make this tart! Now all I need is fresh apricots. Thank you thank you thank you!

  74. Made these with wheat free flour, and amazingly they were superb! No one in the house seemed to notice the difference, and its all gone :D thanks for an brill recipe :)

  75. Alyssa

    My favorite dessert of all time in Paris is the Tarte aux Abricots-Pistaches. Thank you SO much for transforming the best texture and flavor into a weeknight bar cookie! You have absolutely made my summer.

  76. Mel

    Made this with pecans and sweet cherries this weekend — it was fantastic! I cut back on the sugar in the filling, and used a bit of whole wheat flour in the crust.

    Definitely a recipe I will revisit…thanks for sharing, Deb!

  77. Sara

    Just made this almost exactly as written and it was amazing! (I left my crust in an extra 3 minutes to get it to the right color, and the whole thing seemed done 7 minutes early). It also cut beautifully while still warm. And my pistachios were roasted, although I can’t imagine that it would make a difference if they’re not.

  78. A few years ago, we made a few versions of frangipane tarts based on the idea of your pecan cranberry tart – we came up with blackberry pecan, mango cashew, and pistachio topped with fresh strawberries. All of them turned out really well. Thanks very much for getting us started on a frangipane kick!

  79. “Nubby” is the most perfect adjective for pistachios I have ever come across. Good luck as you move and may you, your pots and your pans be reunited as soon as possible! (also, these just look ridiculously good).

  80. Nicole

    I made these this afternoon and they came out really well! I made a mistake and bought nectarines instead of apricots and they still came out well. I really like the pistachio frangipane, and can’t wait to try them tomorrow after they’ve been in the fridge for a night. Thanks for posting a great recipe!

  81. Deb (or anyone else) — how were these the next day? Having a little dinner party on Friday night and wondering if I can get away with making these on Thursday night. This recipe has literally been like a siren song since I spotted it last week — I can’t think of any other dessert I’ve had this reaction to in ages. Must. Make. ASAP!

    1. deb

      Rach — Mine kept up well in the fridge. We just finished the last one yesterday. And by “we,” I of course mean myself.

      Katie — I’m sorry to hear that. What kind of baking pan did you use?

      Maggie — You are very astute! Though, I had the sense to make the cake before the move, but we had a weekend full of parties and dinners while trying to unpack and both fighting off plagues. It was… memorable. :)

      Linda — I didn’t, but I could imagine getting a deeper flavor if I had.

      Matt — With pine nuts, maybe figs?

      Suki — You could definitely double it in a 9×13. I think they’d be a touch thicker.

  82. Cordelia

    I just made these today, happened to have all the ingredients on hand. Super yummy, a tad over baked at an hour, should have checked on them again but was visiting with my dad. Can’t go wrong with butter, nuts and fresh fruit.

  83. Terri

    OMG! This is my next dessert. They are by the way few and far between and must be deemed calorie worthy by my husband the compulsive self weigher. . . Oy vey!

  84. Lauren

    Made this Saturday with pistachios and was so head over heals in love with it that, still with oodles of apricots, and finding a big bag of walnuts in the cabinet Sunday – I doubled the recipe and made it for a party my family was having. Surprise! It was my mom’s birthday! I made it in a big rectangular pan and wrote happy birthday in chocolate ganache. Sensational!

  85. Ashley

    These were fantastic!

    I put two in a little baggie to take to work with me… and ate them as soon as I backed out of my driveway. The tartness of the apricot is so so good against the filling and crust. I am already dreaming about having another piece (or five) when I get home!

  86. Katie

    These were awesome! I went to France in June and this is a flavor combination I saw (and ate!) quite a bit and lamented its absence when I got back–why don’t we use pistachios as much as they do in Europe?. And then this recipe!!! I felt like I was back in Paris. Thank you.

  87. Ooooo. I’ve been meaning to make some apricot and nut granola bars for way too long now, but they might still have to wait now i’ve seen these! They look absolutely delicious, and from what other people have said, they taste delicious too! Looking forward to them :)

  88. Vickie S.

    Wow, Deb, I just love your blog! Several months ago I had the pleasure to buy what might have been a similar bar in a bakery. It was so delicious and was on my list of recipes to reverse engineer. I think you might have saved me the trouble as yours looks the same and I will definitely make them! By the way I made your blueberry crumb cake last week and of all the blueverry crumb cakes I’ve made over the years, yours is by far the best! An extraordinary recipe!

  89. Morgan

    I made these this weekend and they were delicious! I had a moment at the grocery story and accidentally purchased nectarines instead of apricots but they were still WONDERFUL! This was a great recipe and I really appreciated the fact that I could do (essentially) all my prep work in the food processor. WINNING.

  90. LeslieOG

    I hope your new home is shaping up. I made these bars with some plums and pluots and substituted hazelnuts for the pistachios. The fruit was varicolored, yellow, pink, ruby and um, plum colored so alternated the colors to make a pretty pattern. Lots of compliments from my guests, thanks for the recipe!

  91. Jennifer

    Mmmmmm these look amazingly delicious. I wondered can I use gluten
    Free flour and if I did would it compromise the outcome?
    Also I’ve been making this great dish from virtually home made, they are Mac and cheese bites with ham. I thought you may be able to do something wonderful with that. My son who is 3 1/2 can demolish an entire batch.

  92. Sarah

    I made these today using Gluten Free flour from Trader Joes and they are amazing! I did not add anything extra to the flour (I.e. No xanthan or guar gum) and they held up really well. I used half apricots and half yellow peaches. My husband and I finished half the batch already! I just discovered your blog and cannot wait to make more of your recipes!

  93. Des

    Hi Deb,

    It is just amazing how you could come up with ideas even with the move on your checklist. Love the idea of it being flexible to any ingredients and can’t wait to try it on my own. Good luck on the move and eagerly waiting for your next recipe

  94. Kris

    I made these a couple days ago and they definitely fall into the category of “things that taste better the next day”! I’m not much of an apricot person, but they have such a nice tartness to them that goes so well with the richness of the pistachios and the really, really buttery cookie base and frangipane. Since I’m currently in France, it is perfectly acceptable to eat such a thing for breakfast with a hot chocolate, so I did!

  95. deb

    JP — Sorry for the delayed response. You totally don’t need to use it if you’re worried it would overwhelm. For me, 1/4 teaspoon was a subtle taste. Pistachio extract, if you could fine it, would be wonderful. I haven’t seen it. Also, I realize in hindsight that toasting the nuts might help deepen their flavor.

    norah — Mine kept for a week.

    charm — It’s this one. It works but I don’t love it. It feels very lightweight and dinky, and wants to tip every time I press a button. Also, I find I have to press the button like 5 times, sometimes 10, to turn it off. The hunt continues!

    Cheffy — I’m so sorry but I didn’t measure it. This was such a hasty, distracted recipe. (But it works!) I will check next tim eand update accordingly.

  96. Rishi

    Hi.. we substituted apricots for apples as we don’t get fresh apricots where we live. It turned out really tasty. We toasted the nuts as well, and added a glaze of apple juice and honey right before eating. Thanks so much for such a wonderful recipe! Delicious!!

  97. Erin

    Made a version of this last night using plums and hazelnuts…turned out amazing and was a huge hit! Thanks so much! I can’t wait to try other combos!

  98. Kate

    Hi Deb,
    I made these this weekend and they’re delicious! But my pistachio mixture didn’t stay nearly as green as yours – is there something that you added to keep that pretty green color?

    1. deb

      Kate — No, but were yours toasted? I think mine were raw so extra-green. Another thing is that I bought them (for a fortune, ugh) already shelled. It’s possible that machines take off more of the brown paper skins than hands? Did you shell them by hand?

  99. I couldn’t even find the time (or where I packed the shampoo) to *shower* before we moved last spring. Heck, I’m pretty sure one of the kids is still in a box in the basement. The fact that you’re still recipe-ing, posting, etc., is pretty amazing. Hope it went well!

  100. Maureen Higgins

    Deb, you rock! I’ve been trying some of your recipes and they are all winners. I made the Apricot Pistachio squares this weekend and am in love with them! YUUUUMMM!! And so pretty too. I modified it slightly by adding a little bit of hazelnut flour to the crust mixture to give it a little more somethin’ somethin’ – but these turned out beautifully!

  101. Sara

    I made these with plums and walnuts and they were delicious! I toasted the walnuts beforehand, used only brown sugar since it was what I had, and sliced the plums thin and spread across in rows. Big crowd pleaser. What I love about your recipes is that they are so adaptable. Thank you for this recipe and the many others that have become staples in my kitchen!

  102. This looks divine! So good to read in the comments that people have also tried this or a similar recipe with plums instead of apricots, since I was wondering if this would give me something new to make with the several kilo’s of Reine Claude plums our tree produced this year and that are currently inhabiting our freezer. My birthday is in a week, so guess what I’m going to serve my guests. Thanks for this recipe!

  103. Has anyone substituted apricot jam for the whole apricots? My husband is a whole-cooked-fruit-hater, but is fine w/ jams & preserves. Depending on the consistency of the pistachio filling I’d likely do the jam layer first then pour over the filling & top w/ additional chopped nuts. Any thoughts on the likelihood of success — or total lack thereof? Thanks!

    1. deb

      Carissa — Have you seen a bakewell tart before? It begins with a thin layer of jam over the crust, then adds an almond frangipane. (I have a version in the archives.) You could approach this that way here. Or, I supposed you could drop spoonfuls of the jam over the base. They might stay as dollops, but they’re more likely to just spread and tangle with the pistachio as it bakes. Neither should taste bad.

  104. Thanks, Deb. I’ve not only seen a Bakewell Tart but have made yours before & brought it to a dinner party then had too much wine and became an unreliable taste-tester of my own baked goods. I hate when I do that (thereby leading to the implication that this has happened more than once. Which may be — or may not be but probably is but don’t judge — true. I’ll let you know if it’s a success for the upcoming, apricot-free fall & winter months.

  105. Lindsay

    These were amazing! Definitely worth the effort. The only substitutions I made were using vanilla instead of almond extract and using muscovado sugar instead of granulated. My mom and my husband (who proclaims to hate fruit desserts) loved them. They are also excellent the next day for those who are wondering. Can’t imagine they would last in our house for more than one day past baking day! I am going to call them California Bars b/c of the ingredients :) Thank you!

  106. Annette

    Made this yesterday for a dinner party, cut into larger triangles and served with unsweetened whipped cream. It was a hit and reminded us of the similar pastry from Eric Kayser in Paris. High praise, indeed.

  107. I made this with the ingredients I had on hand, which were pluots and a pecan/almon mixture. It came out quite delicious, and was so trivially easy and fast to make. This will definitely be on the regular summer rotation.

  108. Sarah

    I just wanted to report that we used mangos instead of apricots (because we couldn’t find any, not just to be contrary :) and they worked really well with the pistachios! On the 8×8 pan we used 1/2 of a really large mango.

  109. Made this tonight with plums and walnuts. Scrumptious! I have two enormous peaches on my counter and a huge bag of pecans from Costco, so we’re going to be trying that version out in a few days. We actually had this following the cherry tomatoes and farro dish for dinner. So it was a one pot meal followed by a one (food processor) bowl dessert. Hooray for quick weeknight meals. (It helped that my dad was in from Jerusalem and could watch Lilli while I futzed in the kitchen.) Also: Hi!

  110. Melissa B

    Made these tonight and they were absolutely delicious! I had to sub nectarines as I couldn’t find any good apricots. Seriously amazing. Thanks for a great (and easy) recipe!

  111. I’m so glad to meet a fellow kitchen related procrastinator! I have baked your banana bread when I should have been packing boxes. These look wonderful. Unfortunately I can’t get apricots in Cambodia, otherwise I’d be baking them now, instead of doing the mountain of marking that I should be doing!

  112. Lily

    Hi Deb, I made this tonight with walnuts instead of pistachios, 2 tsp vanilla extract in the filling and these small red almost sour plums from the farmers market instead of apricots. The sweet salt balance was perfect, thank you for this recipe!

  113. Made this using a bag of almond meal and apricot preserves (husband hates cooked whole fruit and kidlet loves preserves) and the bars turned out fabulous. I doubled the recipe and used a 9×13 springform pan and a 15 oz jar of apricot preserves. I was concerned that double the frangipane, which I spread on top of the jam, would be too much but they baked up beautifully golden-brown & set in about 45 minutes. I’d pre-measured my dry ingredients & popped them into separate containers a few days ago so the whole recipe came together quickly when I had a Cuisinart-shaped spot available in a waiting-to-be-started dishwasher — a lovely reason to bake if ever there was one. Next time I’ll stir 1/2 C. chopped slivered almonds or pistachios into the topping for some textural contrast.

  114. JF Brown

    Thank you!
    This is lovely. I have now made it three times – once as published,with beautiful and delicious and astonishingly expensive pistachios. The plan was to next use hazelnuts, which we have a-plenty, having harvested at a u-pick farm.
    Before we could do that, a weekly soup-and-art dinner with friends happened; they are nut-allergic, but I knew they’d love it.

    Instead of nuts, I used pumpkin seeds, which I expected to be a sad substitution, with local nectarines and home-grown figs.
    No sadness – the seeds, toasted freshly and ground fine were perfect, earthy and sweet, and we’re planning ahead for a holiday feast repeating this with poached and drained cranberries. Thank you!

  115. brin

    I made these last night and they were amazing! I used almonds since I didn’t have pistachio’s (although I can’t wait to try them that way too!) and they were still delicious :) I’ve already got people asking for the recipe!

  116. JBee

    I love this recipe…! I’ve since made it twice: the first time as directed and the second time with peaches and almonds. I loved them both, but much prefer the apricot and pistachios (the sweet with a little bit of tartness from the apricots is so nice! the peach and almond combo was much more subtle in flavors although still very good). I don’t think I can emphasize enough how I love your blog and recipes, Deb!

  117. Kiran

    Hi Deb

    This recipe sounds very nice. I have a very annoying but small question for you. I have a lot of Pistachio butter (Just ground up pistachios no additives). If I want to use it instead of pistachios what would be a good starting point. I know you may not haven tried it that way but you have more experience that I do for such experimentation. Please let me know

    thank you

  118. Thankyou again. This recipe is absolutely divine- it even converted my husband, who does not normally like apricots, to loving it….as I live on Mallorca where almonds (and apricots) are plentiful and unslated pistachios hard to come by, second time I tried 80% ground almonds, 20% pistachios, not quite as beautifully coloured, but still works very well (and saves on shelling time!)…suspect that a 50-50 combo may give the balance of taste, extra crunch and colour. Doh, I will just have to experiment again. Damn.

  119. Naomi

    Could you make the crust and spread the frangiapane and then refrigerate a day ahead and add the fruit/bake it the next day? These were amazing when I made them, but I thought they were definitely best the first day (which by no means stopped me from pretty much eating the entire batch by myself over the course of less than a week).

  120. The Yummy Lover

    I just have to say that I will hardly be able to get fresh apricots here in Costa Rica, but if I do, I will definitely make these! The colors in this recipe make my food loving heart sing, thank you!

  121. Debra

    I made this last summer first with apricots, and later with fresh plums!
    This is a fantastic delicious combination of flavors.
    I have frozen apricots, and am wondering if I could make it work…….
    Possibly by draining all the liquid I can first?
    Anyone have suggestions for me?

  122. Michelle

    I found this recipe last night while searching for a way to use up an overabundance of figs to make something to share at an office morning tea today and suffice to say it’s not getting anywhere near the office. It took only one bite and my other half (who uncomplainingly watches many sweet treats leave our house destined for other hungry mouths) simply said ‘No – I’m keeping this one’.

    Thanks Deb – can’t think of a single thing of yours that hasn’t turned out fabulous.

  123. Hi Deb, made these recently and they were an absolute hit – gone within a couple of hours! I may have to try doubling the recipe in a 9×13 inch tin to make it last longer in our house with 4 hungry boys. I also reblogged the recipe on my new blog, so just wanted to say thank you for another amazing recipe! Pistachio-apricot was a flavour combination that I was initially unsure of, but it was absolutely sensational and loved by everyone :)

  124. Karl

    In case anyone else read the recipe three times but then put ALL of the pistachio filling ingredients in the food processor at once anyway (and then noticed that Deb tells us to do it in stages)… It works very well and came out delicious. I just blended until the nuts were pretty well chopped and the butter was not visible.

  125. Mina

    Made it. Added a bit of cardamom in the crust and everyone loved it. Mine took almost 70 minutes in the oven to set. Will try adding more cardamom next time.

  126. Maro

    I also added cardamom (I know, Deb, you hate it) — I’m obsessed with it. I put some ground into the crust and some cardamom bitters in with the brandy in the filling. That was this week’s batch; last week I just followed the recipe. I love both. I will never be able to look at apricots again without wanting to make this — i can see it in permanent early summer rotation, and don’t know how I will survive the rest of the year without it.

  127. maro

    I just made it for the 3rd time in 10 days, this time a double-batch for a large potluck. I may not be able to stop making it until apricots run out. Not sure I’ll love it as much with any other fruit/nut combo, but i may need to try nectarines. I love them too much to really want to cook with them, but…well…bars. darn you, putting me on this endless bars kick!

  128. Linda_lew

    My goodness!!! So delicious, just made these tonight used almonds instead of pistachios (used the same weight as in recipe, then blanched them), and added a smidge of cinnamon to the tart dough.

  129. anne

    I made this yesterday but in a pie dish. Did not partake the crust and it was fine. However mine was ready, crust a nice color and all after 45m, which is weird because Deb’s cooking times usually work for me. I would recommend checking after 45m and checking it in 5m increments thereafter. My husband and I both really really liked the flavors. This recipe is a keeper – not even that time consuming if you buy pistachio flour instead of grind them yourself!

  130. jenny

    made this today, they were TERRIFIC!!!
    My pistachio paste was rather brown by the time it was done baking which I guess can’t be helped, but the taste and texture was amazing. Will try adding some apricot brandy next time! Thanks for the recipe :-)

  131. Louise

    Humm…. I want to make this now but it is not apricot season. Dare I try canned apricots? (drained) I don’t think I can buy frozen apricots.
    The French would say eat the fruit in the right season……
    Americans are impatient.

  132. deb

    Louise — So, of interest, I was first introduced to this kind of tart, which I’ve turned into bars, in an article about how the French are more willing to embrace canned fruit. I talked about it here. Do canned apricots work here? I’m not positive, but it’s not as un-French as we think. :)

  133. Anna

    I was able to make this successfully in my 3-cup mini processor today, in case anyone else was curious! So glad I didn’t make a giant mess or need to go hunt down my full size one in the basement, since evidently I never unpacked it.

  134. Sarah

    Hi Deb – I’m making these for a large dinner party and planning to use a 9 x 13″ pan. Should I just multiply the crust and filling by 1 1/2? That’s my instinct but curious if you have a rule of thumb.

    1. deb

      Sarah — I double these and other 8×8-inch square things in a 9×13. It will end up a TINY bit thicker but it’s otherwise closest in bottom area (which is what I use to scale because my goal is to keep the thickness the same).

  135. Julia

    I’ve made these twice, and have been very happy! Here are my observations. The first time, I used roasted pistachios, and was,a little annoyed that the filling was brown instead of the lovely green in your pic. Second time, I used unroasted (that I had to shell) and the color was perfect. I admit I got a little obsessive and rubbed all of the brown papery husks off too. So, I recommend unroasted. Also, the first time I stuck to the recommended initial baking time, and the crust ended up a little burned. So, this time, I only baked for 10. I didn’t let it cool, so it was a little hard to spread the filling, but I preferred this batch’s taste. Also, this time I used fresh raspberries from my garden, and it was a divine substitution. We love this shortbread crust! This recipe is a keeper.

  136. I just made this with apricots in my CSA box. It was amazing!

    I made exactly to recipe. Except I was a little greedy and put too many apricot slices on top, so by the time everything on top was brown, the bottom was a touch too dark (almost burnt) in places. Despite this, my husband and I inhaled the squares in two days by ourselves. Thanks!

  137. Verni

    I made this today for a poorly friend and it was a great success. I put a bit of ground cardomom in the base which went really well with the apricot. Another time I would gently toast the pistachios before grinding to enhance the flavour, and glaze with apricot jam. Thank you for another winning recipe!