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These apricot jammies are a perfect reward to share after completing a chore that requires two or more sets of hands

Oct 25, 2023

Berkshires Week Editor

A recipe written by Ellen Spear's grandmother sits on a counter next to a plate of apricot jammies.

When June rolled around, grandma and grandpa changed the curtains. Down came the heavy brocaded ones that blocked light and drafts that came from the set of windows across the front of their apartment living room. Up went light lace ones that let in the air.

My mother, sister and I loved to come early to get front-row seats to the slapstick movie that was any household chore involving the two of them that required precision.

My grandmother, you see, was the intuitive type, making decisions quickly, eyeing up the length or breadth of something with uncanny accuracy. For this and other home projects, my grandfather always grabbed the tape measure to be precise and to do things in his methodical and exacting way.

"Four feet," my grandmother said to the peanut gallery, as my grandfather struggled with the tape measure, seeking to find the middle point in the bank of windows.

"Four feet," she said again to us, an all too willing audience. "Watch this, watch this," she said in a stage whisper, referring to my grandfather's measure-taking. He was getting no help from his spouse.

"So," grandma asked. "What is it?"

"Four feet," said my grandfather, whose pronouncement was met with gales of laughter, as he had not heard my grandmother's prediction.

She shrugged her shoulders looking heavenward.

As each summer curtain panel left the box and was affixed to the curtain rod, as each winter one was taken down, another set of disagreements was triggered. Grandma hammed it up for our benefit. Grandpa tried to lecture about the importance of precision.

"Now Anne," he would say. "Leave me alone. I know what I’m doing."

"I told you it was four feet," she replied, playing to the cheap seats. And again we laughed, eyes tearing.

The reward for my grandfather's help, and no doubt, for surviving the good-natured ribbing, was what was known as "coffee and." As in, "Come to the table. We’ll have coffee and."

The "and" was sometimes Raspberry Delights. They are a rich buttery cookie crust on which raspberry jam has been spread, then the dough is latticed over the top to form portion-sized squares. I still have my grandmother's handwritten recipe card for these.

I have taken the liberty, however, to use homemade apricot jam, and to rename them Apricot Jammies. No particular reason other than to make them my own, and I love when the apricots come in late spring.

Next time you are doing a chore that takes two, and especially if you and your chore buddy have distinctive, non-negotiable ways of doing things, leave time after for "coffee and …"


1 cup (2 sticks) of butter, softened at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

2 egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups all-purpose flour

8-10 ounces good apricot jam, store-bought or homemade

Butter for greasing, cooking spray, or parchment


Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Slip in the egg yolks and mix to combine. Add the flour and mix slowly, then blend at medium speed until fully incorporated. Add the vanilla, and mix until the dough starts to come together. It will be sticky.

Form into a ball, wrap in cling film, and refrigerate for at least two hours. It can be refrigerated overnight and baked the next day.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan or line it with parchment so that the paper overlaps the two short ends, making ends you can lift to remove the Jammies from the pan when baked.

Unwrap the dough and cut off 1/3 of it, set aside.

Put the remaining dough between two pieces of parchment and roll out slightly into about a 4-by-5-inch rectangle. This is not a precision step that requires grandpa's finesse.

Fit into the baking pan. This is a "do it with your hands" type of project. Push and flatten the dough until the bottom of the baking pan is filled and the dough is flat and even across the bottom.

Using an offset spatula or butter knife, spread the jam evenly across the dough.

Take the remaining dough and place it between two sheets of baking parchment. Roll into a rectangle about 1/4 of an inch thick.

Cut 6 strips to 13 inches and 8 strips to 9 inches in length. This is a "grandma step." No need to be precise, and don't worry if the strips break. You can mush them together gently and they will bake up in one piece. Another technique is to take the strips and roll them gently on the paper to achieve the desired length.

Lay the four long strips down the length of the pan on top of the jam so that you get four roughly same-width columns. Lay the six short strips across the dough to form squares. Lay two more strips at the two short ends of the pan and the two long ones down the long way to form the outside square. Straighten out and attach any areas that might have come apart.

Bake for 25-35 minutes until the crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack in the pan. Cut into squares bounded by the strips of crust.

Berkshires Week Editor