2/3 cup dried tart cherries
1/3 cup dried apricots
1/4 cup pitted whole dates (about 5)
1 cup raw almonds
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
2 teaspoons flaxseeds, optional
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, optional
Nonstick cooking spray
Reconstitute any of the fruit that is not moist and tender by placing it in a bowl and covering it with warm water. Depending on how dry it is, this could take up to 15 minutes. Drain off the excess water and pat dry with a paper towel.
Put the almonds in a food processor and process until small pieces form but before it becomes a paste. Pulse as needed. Add the fruit, salt and flaxseeds, if using. Process to combine. The mixture should pull away from the sides. If it doesnt, add 1 tablespoon water and process until it does, adding another tablespoon of water if needed. Shape the fruit mixture into a log. Put the sesame seeds in a bowl, if using, and roll the log in the seeds to coat the outside.
Line a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap. Lightly spray it with cooking spray. Lightly spray a second piece of plastic wrap. (You will use it to help press the mixture flat without getting your hands sticky.) Put the fruit mixture in the prepared pan, top with the second piece of sprayed plastic wrap and press down to flatten and spread evenly in the pan. Refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap, until firm, about 1 hour.
Lift the mixture from the pan using the plastic wrap. Place on a cutting board and cut into 8 even pieces. Wrap each bar in plastic wrap, parchment or waxed paper. The bars will keep for 2 to 3 days at room temperature, 2 weeks in the refrigerator and 2 months in the freezer.
Recipe courtesy of Damaris Phillips