Easier than pie: Raspberry apricot bars

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Raspberry apricot bars

A finished dish photo of raspberry apricot bars. (Bill Hogan, Chicago Tribune / May 21, 2014)

Pie can be scary. I made this unhappy discovery at age 2, standing unsteady and tear-streaked in the family VW bus. I had pie in hand, fierce resistance on face. No way.

The problem was this: too much middle. The crust looked safe, but underneath lurked a sinkhole of goo. Scary.

Making pie can be scary too. It takes practice to get the fruit to set neither runny nor gummy and the pastry to bake up both flaky and reliable. My first pie — cracked, craggy, congealed — lives on in family lore. Not the good kind of lore.

Which might be why the fruit bar is such a pleasure. It's like pie, but simpler, smaller and sturdier. Plus the low-lying bar has an admirable outer-to-inner ratio: about 1:1. Leaving nothing to pout about.

Raspberry apricot bars

Prep: 20 minutes

Bake: 1 hour

Makes: 24 bars

Middle:

2 cups

raspberries

1/3 cup sugar

3 cups cubed

apricots

(about 6

apricots)

Top:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup pecan halves

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

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