Apricot Ricotta Oat Bars

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Apricot Ricotta Oat Bars

Stone Fruit Season

Apricots

“Adam fluttered like a bewildered bee confused by too many flowers.”

East of Eden, John Steinbeck

Inspiration

When stone fruit comes in season it’s easy to get carried away. I bought too many apricots. Just couldn’t help myself. There wasn’t enough fruit for a pie, but there was just enough for this recipe. I used a combination of very soft and sweet and just ripe tangy apricots. Any ripe summer fruit would be wonderful—blueberries, blackberries, peaches, strawberries.

Essentials

Apricots

Most recipes for fruit bars use jam instead of fresh fruit. My inspiration was this intriguing recipe that uses both fruit and jam. I’ve added a creamy ricotta layer spiked with lemon zest, included oat flour and a lot more oatmeal. Using brown sugar adds depth to the caramel notes of the oatmeal. The bars are not overly sweet which allows the vivid and bright apricots to remain the star of this recipe. Don’t skip the creamy ricotta filling, it’s a hint of cheesecake hiding inside the buttery apricot bars. I might buy too many apricots again, just so I can make this recipe before the season ends.

Crust
2C all-purpose flour
1C oat flour
1/2t fine grain sea salt
2/3C brown sugar
1C unsalted butter, melted
1/2C quick cooking oats
Apricot and Ricotta Filling
1C fresh ricotta cheese
1T brown sugar
1 egg
1/4t fine grain sea salt
1 lemon, zested
1C apricot jam
2-1/2C diced fresh apricots
Crumb Topping
1/3C all-purpose flour
1/3C oat flour
1/4t fine grain sea salt
1T brown sugar
1C quick cooking oats
1/3C unsalted butter, melted

Apricot Ricotta Oat Bars

  1. Heat the oven to 375°. Line a 9”x12” baking pan with parchment.
  2. To make the crust add the all-purpose flour, oat flour, salt and brown sugar in a medium sized bowl. Mix with a fork or your hands to break up any lumps of brown sugar while mixing the ingredients together. Add the butter and stir until the mixture clumps together. Add the oats and combine them with the other ingredients. Spread and press the crust mixture evenly across the surface of the prepared baking pan. Make sure the corners and sides of the pan are evenly covered with the crust. Place the pan in the freezer for fifteen minutes. Then bake for fifteen minutes and remove from the oven to cool for five minutes before adding the filling. Leave the oven on. (The bowl used to make the crust can be used again to make the crumb topping.)
  3. In a separate bowl make the ricotta filling while the crust is in the freezer, baking and cooling. Mix together the ricotta, sugar, egg, salt and lemon zest.
  4. To make the crumb topping mix together the all-purpose flour, oat flour, salt, brown sugar and oats in a small bowl. Stir in the melted butter and mix all the ingredients together.
  5. To assemble the bars spread the ricotta mixture evenly across the surface of the partly baked crust. Add the jam and swirl to cover the entire surface of the cookies. Spread the diced apricots evenly across the top of the cookies. Top the bars with the crumb topping. Bake the bars for 30-35 minutes. The edges of the bars will turn a toasty brown when done and the ricotta filling will be firm.
  6. Let the bars cool in the pan for ten minutes. Then remove them from the baking pan by lifting out the parchment paper. Cool completely before slicing. To keep the ricotta filling fresh wrap the cooled bars tightly in plastic wrap and store them in the refrigerator. Take the chill off the cold bars with a very brief spin in the microwave.

Apricots

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31 Responses to Apricot Ricotta Oat Bars

  1. Lynda says:

    These are sumptuous. Buying too many apricots is a very good thing.

  2. Carol Sacks says:

    This looks amazing, Deb. Can’t wait to try this recipe!

  3. Jane says:

    Oh Deb, these look delicious and of course oats and apricots give them a hint of healthy too! Your lovely quotes from East of Eden are inspiring me to get on out there and read the book. I’m off to see if I can reserve it online at our local library.

    • Deb says:

      Thank you Jane! East of Eden is a very satisfying novel. The timeless story of Cain and Abel is elegantly retold while Steinbeck weaves in his family history. The setting is the Salinas Valley in California, the place I live.

      • Jane says:

        I reserved the novel and it has now arrived. I’ve started to read, and it is lovely to imagine the place you live and write about and photograph so beautifully. I take ages to read so I’ll probably be renewing it!

  4. Gerlinde says:

    Your Apricot bars look scrumptious. Deb, I have never used oat flour before . Can I find it in a health food store? It is always fun to learn something new. Thank you!

  5. Oh, my goodness! These bars looks absolutely delightful… I will keep the recipe to make for myself and my youger daughter. She’s crazy for apricots!

  6. Ala says:

    this is so great! I didn’t even think about using fresh fruit–I’m actually most in love with the ricotta filling idea, I think my friend is going to definitely love this. Thanks for sharing! I’m hoping to make a version of this soon, Deb 🙂

  7. jacquie says:

    These cookies look so yummy. Could you make them without the jam? Jam isn’t something i’m very fond of as i find it too sweet.

    • Deb says:

      Jacquie, you could try omitting the jam from the recipe. But even with the jam, the bars are not very sweet. In a 9″x12″ pan a cup of jam is a very, very thin layer.

  8. It’s mangoes for me… I buy them by the often over-priced case. They never taste as good as those from my grandparents’ trees, but I hold out hope each time. Your bars look delightful!

    • Deb says:

      Oh, I’ve been buying mangos every week now that they are in season. I imagine fresh from the tree would be divine! Thank you Jacquee!

  9. Ripe apricots are the absolute best! I love that you paired the fresh fruit with jam in these delectable, summery bars!

  10. For some reason I’ve been missing apricots for years now! They just disappear before I realise. These bars are fantastic Deb! The ricotta layer… very good addition. Love everything about this recipe!

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  12. Gorgeous! Apricots are simply magical (don’t think there’s such a thing as too many!)… and that crumb topping looks divine.

  13. The ricotta layer sounds so good! I can never resist crumb toppings, and the oats and oat flour must make this one extra delicious.

  14. How did I miss this one? the color on those apricots – you are a magician with the camera and in the kitchen. I need more time to bake – so many must tries in your blog!

  15. Deb, how did I miss this recipe??? It is bashert that I happened upon it today. Just minutes ago I walked in the door with a dozen organic apricots. A few will be for eating out of hand, the rest are now ear-marked for bars.

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