50 g dried apricots
300 g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
100 g ground almonds
100 g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
250 g cold unsalted butter, cubed
250 g good-quality apricot jam
Preheat the oven to 170ºC/325ºF/gas 3. Put the dried apricots into a small bowl, cover with boiling water and leave to plump up and soften slightly.
Meanwhile, mix the flour, ground almonds and caster sugar together in a bowl. Add the butter and rub together to make a soft dough – this isn't as crumbly as shortbread, so keep mixing until everything comes together nicely. Divide the dough into 4 pieces, flatten slightly, wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Drain the apricots, then pulse in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Tip into a small pan over a low heat and add the apricot jam, then allow to bubble and reduce slightly until you have a sticky, but spreadable mix. Set aside and leave to cool.
Line 2 baking sheets with greaseproof paper. Once the dough is chilled, lightly dust a work surface with plain flour. Unwrap the first ball of dough and roll into a disc, roughly the thickness of a pound coin. Take a 6cm fluted pastry cutter and cut out 8 rounds (4 bases and 4 tops). Use a 2cm heart-shaped cutter to cut out the middle of half the biscuits. Place all the biscuits and the little hearts onto the lined baking sheets, then repeat with the other 3 pieces of dough.
Place the trays in the hot oven and bake for around 15 minutes, or until lightly golden and cooked through. Remove the trays from the oven and quickly sprinkle over a few big pinches of caster sugar, then carefully transfer the biscuits onto wire cooling racks and leave to cool completely.
To assemble, turn the base biscuits so they're sugary-side down and dollop a little apricot filling into the centre of each one. Place the top biscuits sugary-side up on top and press lightly to sandwich together – you can mix and match using the little heart cut outs as tops too, if you like. Wrap up nicely and present to the parents of the new arrival with a bow or curtsy.
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BUYING SUSTAINABLY SOURCED FISH
Buying sustainably sourced fish means buying fish that has been caught without endangering the levels of fish stocks and with the protection of the environment in mind. Wild fish caught in areas where stocks are plentiful are sustainably sourced, as are farmed fish that are reared on farms proven to cause no harm to surrounding seas and shores.
When buying either wild or farmed fish, ask whether it is sustainably sourced. If you're unable to obtain this information, don't be afraid to shop elsewhere – only by shopping sustainably can we be sure that the fantastic selection of fish we enjoy today will be around for future generations.
For further information about sustainably sourced fish, please refer to the useful links below:
Marine Stewardship Council