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Cookies, Desserts, Sweet Snacks

Plum Shortbread Bars with Pistachios and Cardamom

What makes you think of Middle Eastern food? For some reason (maybe not even close to being based in reality), plums, cardamom and pistachios all make me think of Middle Eastern cuisine. And I’ve been doing so much reading on Syria and Turkey and such that apparently I have those flavors on the mind. Clearly shortbread isn’t Middle Eastern though! These came out well though; a great combination.

Ingredients
for the crust and topping
1 cup plus 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to just warm
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tea spoon ground cardamom
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg yolks
3 cups plus 3 tablespoons flour

for the filling
2 1/2 cups plums, de-pitted and 1/2 inch dice
1 cup granulated sugar
juice from one lemon (4-5ish tablespoons)
splash of water (about 1 tablespoon)
1 cup chopped pistachios

Directions
Create a foil or parchment sling for your 9 x 13 inch baking dish or spray generously with baking spray.

In a medium bowl, mix together butter, sugar, salt, and egg yolks with a spoon until smooth. Add in the flour and cardamom, and mix until just combined. Remove 2 cups of the crust mixture and press into the lined pan. Set the unused portion of the crust aside covered with plastic wrap, but not in the refrigerator. Place the pan in the freezer for 30-60 minutes or so; the chilling of the crust prevents it from expanding and rising too much during baking.

Preheat oven to 325F.

While the oven is preheating and the crust is chilling, make the plum filling. Combine diced plums, sugar, lemon juice and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to medium and continue simmering for 8-10 minutes, mashing the plums against the side of the pot with the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool to room temperature.

Remove the crust from the freezer and place in the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until the sides are lightly browned. Then remove from the oven, and increase oven temperature to 350F. Spread the plum jam on top, and sprinkle the left over crust mixture on top along with the chopped pistachios. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the streusel is lightly browned.

Allow the pan to cool completely before taking the bars out of the pan. Remove the bars by lifting out with the sling and cut.

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