Here is a pocket missive: I’m sitting at the scrubbed wooden table in my parents-in-laws’ garden, among a riot of chirpy birds, colorful flowers in stoneware pots, patches of herbs, an artichoke plant, a cherry tree, some browning grape vines, and a fig tree that seems to ripen on the hour.
The day was bright and hot–we jumped into the icy blue water in the craggy village port at high tide–but it’s September and this close to the ocean, late afternoon cools considerably. The almond-colored stones under my bare feet are noticeably cold.
We’re getting married for the second time on Saturday. Friends from the States, some of whom live far away from New York and I barely get to see, arrive tomorrow. I’m thrilled. It will be a strange, happy colliding of normally disparate worlds.
I hope, wherever you are, you’re enjoying these last scraps of summer.
I’ve written the recipe as unsalted pistachios plus 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, because it’s more precise. However, if you live on the salty edge, substitute salted pistachios, and leave out the kosher salt. (Worked for me.)
You can top these bars with with yogurt, cream, or ice cream, but I like them best packed in parchment paper for picnics or work/school lunches. They aren’t too sweet, and the oats and pistachios make them almost wholesome. I had apricots from the market, but cherries would also delicious, or pears, as fall comes on. They are good, in the fridge, for up to 5 days.
Makes 16, 2 x 2-inch bars
- 1/2 cup (70 grams) shelled, unsalted pistachios
- 1 cup (55 grams) rolled oats
- 1 cup (140 grams) flour
- 5 tablespoons (65 grams) light brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
- 12 apricots (560 grams/1 1/4 pounds)
- the juice and zest of 1/2 a medium lemon
- 1 1/2 tablespoons (22 grams) sugar
- Heat the oven to 375F/190C. Line a 8 x 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
- Add the pistachios to the bowl of a food processor. Blend for 15 seconds, until the pistachios are reduced to a meal. Add the oats, and blend another 15 seconds. Add the flour, brown sugar, salt, and butter; blend for 15 seconds. Add 2 tablespoons water and blend until the mix barely binds together. Reserve a heaping 1/2 cup of the mix; dump the rest into the prepared baking pan and, using your fingers, tamp it evenly down to form the base of your bars.
- Halve and pit the apricots. Move them to a large mixing bowl, and hand toss with the lemon juice and zest, and the sugar. Arrange the fruit in the baking pan, on top of the crust. Crumble the remaining pistachio-oat mix on top of the apricots. Bake for 45 minutes. Move the pan to the refrigerator for an hour right out of the oven. Cut into squares and serve.