For us, the discovery of a popular Seattle area treat, the fruit-and-oat bar, which is at times known by various names, started with The Baker's Apprentice, a book by Judith Ryan Hendricks, which our Head Spy Jessie picked up at random at the library last year. Turns out, the novel, which is about a thirty-something woman who is finding herself as a breadmaker after a nasty divorce (which is actually the sequel to the writer's previous novel, Bread Alone) is set in Seattle, and fictional as it may be, the "Queen Street Bakery" featured in the book is inspired by an actual bakery (the McGraw Street Bakery--now Macrina Bakery). But even more than this fact, what caught our attention was one pastry in particular in the book, which turns out to be real as well: the Mazurka Bar.
"locally world famous--a killer combination of thin, flaky crust, then your choice of lemon, chocolat-espresso, apple-raisin, or raspberry filling, and on the top the crumble layer with its habit-forming, sandy crunch".
- 4 ounces (about 24 halves) dried apricots
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Bring the apricots and the water to a boil, uncovered, in a small, heavy saucepan with a tight cover over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and simmer until the apricots are very tender, about half an hour, depending on the apricots. The fruit should be very soft and the water should be partially but not completely absorbed.
- Press the apricots with a potato masher or stir and mash vigorously with a fork. The mixture should be very thick. Add the sugar and stir until it dissolves. Cool to room temperature. If you wish, this filling may be made ahead of time and refrigerated.
- 1 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
- 6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 3/4 ounces (1/2 cup, firmly packed) shredded coconut
- 3/4 old fashioned or quick cooking (not "instant") oatmeal
- 2 ounces (generous 1/2 cup) walnuts, cut medium fine
- Adjust an oven rack one-third up from the bottom and preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Place the Flour, salt, and sugar in a mixing bowl. With a pastry blender cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the coconut, oatmeal, and walnuts.
- Place half (3 cups) of the mixture in an unbuttered 8-inch-square cake pan. Press it evenly with your fingertips. Cover with a piece of wax paper and with the palm of your hand press against the paper to make a smooth, compact layer. Remove the wax paper.
- Spread the apricot filling smoothly over the pastry, staying 1/4 to 1/2 inch away from the edges. Sprinkle the remaining pastry evenly over the filling and repeat the directions for covering with wax paper and pressing smooth. Remove the wax paper.
- Bake for 60 to 70 minutes until the top is barely semifirm to the touch.
- Cool in the pan for 15 minutes or so; be sure to cut around the sides to loosen from the pan before cutting and serving.