The crumble topping quantity is enough to cover this in its entirety but I'm all for pockets of indecent exposure where the jammy apricoty goodness can peek through. If you don't have saffron, never fear. This recipe was an attempt to use some of those spices we have lurking in the cupboard. It is equally wonderful without it.
500g soft Turkish dried apricots
250ml (1 cup) fresh orange juice
110g (½ cup) castor sugar
250ml-375ml (1-1½ cups) water
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
5-7 saffron strands (optional), softened in 1 tbsp warm water
75g (½ cup) plain flour
75g brown sugar
75g flaked almonds
75g unsalted butter
For the base
100g plain flour
60g castor sugar
70g almond meal
pinch of salt
120g unsalted butter, melted
1. Line a lamington tin (approximately 30cm x 20cm x 3cm) with baking paper, making sure it hangs generously over the sides to make lifting the slice out nice and easy.
2. Preheat oven to 170C.
3. To make the apricot mixture, add all the ingredients to a saucepan and place over very low heat. Cook until the apricots are soft and look hydrated, but still hold some of their shape – this will take anywhere between 30 and 45 minutes. Watch them regularly, to prevent catching and to ensure the sugar dissolves evenly. You also don't want the saffron to take on any burnt taste so this needs to be the lowest simmer possible. If it looks as though you are losing too much liquid, add a little water, a few tablespoons at a time, until the apricots are plump and malleable.
4. Meanwhile, make the base. Add all the ingredients to a bowl and stir to combine. Press down into your prepared tin and pop in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until lightly golden, then set aside.
5. Once the apricots have cooked and 90 per cent of the liquid has been absorbed, spoon the apricot mixture over the base.
6. Using your hands, gently combine the crumble ingredients in a bowl, only until clumps form – chunky and glorious is the effect you are after. Dollop the crumble over the apricot layer then place in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until golden. Watch closely to check the flaked almonds aren't taking on too much colour.
7. Set aside for at least 1 hour to cool completely otherwise this may be too crumbly to slice. If you can't wait, serve it piping hot from the oven with some vanilla ice-cream.
Note: Keeps for 3-5 days in an airtight container.