This dessert is half cookie, half pie and completely perfect
Today's post is one of those ones where I go back in time, grab an old post to fix.
The old post we're in talks about is one of the more popular girls of Wit & Vinegar High. She's been re-pinned more times than your mom and her name is blackberry pie bar. I know the post was a good one, but since then things have improved. Things like: my photography, the recipe, site design.
You know, minor things.
For those of you not familiar with the pie bar, it's sort of a mix between a cookie and a pie, a lot of people call them crumble bars but in my head that just sounds really hard to eat. With the 2.0 version of the recipe too, we use a grater to incorporate the butter to help a little with the flakiness (courtesy of my girl Adrianna), pushing them even closer to the relation of a pie. I tend to lean towards the pie bar because I'm in favor of the fruit to crust ratio.
One of the reasons I love these so much (there are many) is that the dough for the base is the same dough used for the crumble, so there's less bowls to dirty, less things to measure. Another thing is that just like a pie, once you master the dough (in probably the first try) you can swap in whatever fruits and flavors you want to switch it up. Even though they're not difficult, I'm showing you how to make them in this morning's nomcast. If you read this before 9am est come watch me live and even if you miss it live I'll be there forever and always to show you what's up.
A batch will easily serve a crowd, and if you're gathering is smaller you can make an 8×8″ batch too just by halving the ingredients but you'll regret all your life decisions later when you want a pie bar for a night snack and they're all gone
Last thing we need to discuss are the variations we've got going on in this post. Obviously there are some different options going on here, we don't need Maury to tell us I'm not the father.
The three options here all kind of show how to incorporate different flavors either in the dough itself or in the filling or both at once if ur extreme. Today I bring you strawberry apricot (my grandma's favorite fruit combo), rhubarb lime, and berry bourbon vanilla. Because berries love bourbon and so do I.
The Pie Bar
Makes 1 9×13″ pan, about 30 bars (or 1 8×8″, about 16 bars, just halve everything)
Crust & Topping
- 1 cup white granulated sugar
- 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, very cold (like 15-20 minutes in the freezer very cold, not frozen)
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 4 cups of whatever fruit you want*
- 1/3 cup sugar, 1/2 if you're using tart fruit like rhubarb
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 2 tablespoons if you're using frozen fruit
- pinch of salt
- Rhubarb Lime: Rub lime zest into the sugar for the crust before adding the rest of the ingredients and then use lime juice in place of the lemon.
- Vanilla, Berry, and Bourbon: Mix 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste in with the buttermilk before adding it to the dry ingredients, add 1 teaspoon to the filling, and use bourbon in place of the lemon. For the berries, use a mixture of your favorite, I used strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries (the frozen wild blueberries from trader joe's are aces)
*So, if you're using a fruit that needs to be prepped, like a strawberry or a peach, either slice them up or chop them up into a fairly small size (think blueberry). If you're using something like a blackberry or a raspberry where you really can't chop them up, keep in mind that they're a little fussy to measure. Go ahead and aim for something closer to 5 cups, because of their size and shape they tend to leave weird gaps when measuring so you'll end up short if you use the 4 cup idea. If you're using a frozen fruit just use it straight from the freezer, adding some extra cornstarch as stated in the ingredients.
- First things first: Preheat your oven to 375* F and grease and line a 9×13″ baking pan with parchment paper.
- In a very large bowl mix together the sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt. I just use my hands to sort of mix it up, no need to dirty a whisk.
- Use the large coarse side of a cheese grater to grate in the butter then sort of toss it all around to get coated in the dry ingredients.
- Squeeze the mixture a few times with your hands then break it up.
- Add the buttermilk and use a fork to roughly mix it together then use your hands to finish it up. It shouldn't take very long at all. I like to just alternate my hands squeezing the dough together a few times, like that thing cats do to your body. Don't worry if there's still a little flour left behind or if it's not cohesive, that's good.
- Take out 2 cups of the dough and add the rest to your prepared pan. Spread it out evenly then press it in to make a solid base for the bars.
- Make the filling by tossing together all the ingredients then evenly spread that out over the base. If the topping seems too grainy and not chunky enough squeeze a handful then break it up and sprinkle it evenly over the top of the fruit. Skip this if it looks chunky enough.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes until it just starts to turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and let the pie bars cool completely in the pan then cover and transfer to the refrigerator for at least an hour or so for the bars to set up and the flavors to sort of meet again (no longer than 24 hours or the bars will start to look a little less than). Use the parchment paper to lift the bars out of the pan, cut, then serve/live ur life.
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