I’ve been struggling for the past few hours with what to tell you in conjunction with these Blackberry Pie Bars.
I thought maybe we could talk about how I’m still totally dragging my feet about going to my ten year high school reunion. No… that’s been done. Boring.
Maybe we could talk about how I sat around a campfire with Andrea Zuckerman… a character from that show Beverly Hills 90210, but that was actually just a dream I had last night. Not real.
We could chat about the weather? Seen any good movies lately?
No? Ok… let’s not fight this.
Let’s get on to the bars. They’re good. Really good. Good enough to not need a silly introduction.
Think of these bars as your escape from the land of pie baking. Maybe you don’t need an escape, but let’s be honest… putting together a pie crust can be a pain in the rear sometimes. Problem solved. Just press this crust into the bottom of a pan, top it with creamy fruit filling, sprinkle it with more crust bits and you’re in business.
The result is pure summer blackberry goodness. The recipe includes directions for either frozen or fresh fruit. If you’re using frozen berries, just be sure to defrost the berries and drain the excess juices. What about raspberries or blueberries instead of blackberries? Those would probably work too! Just stay away from strawberries.
Blackberry Pie Bars with Lemon Sugar
adapted from The Pastry Queen
Crust and Topping
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into cubes
zest of two lemons
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
2 (16-ounce) packages frozen blackberries, defrosted and drained
(You can also use 6 cups of fresh blackberries, or 1 (16-ounce) package frozen blackberries and 3 cups of fresh blackberries)
To make the crust and topping-
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 13-inch backing pan with butter or cooking spray and set aside. Zest two lemons. Measure out the sugar onto a clean work surface. Rub the lemon zest into the sugar with a bench scraper or the back of a spoon. Rubbing the zest into the sugar will release oils from the zest and create a lemon scented sugar.
Combine lemon sugar, flour, salt and butter in an electric mixer fit with a paddle attachment. Beat the ingredients on medium speed until the mixture looks dry and crumbly.
Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the crust mixture to use as the topping. Press the remaining mixture into the bottom of the pan. Bake the crust for 12 to 15 minutes until it is golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes while you make the filling.
To make the filling-
Whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Add the sugar, sour cream, flour and salt. Gently fold in the blackberries. Spoon the mixture evenly over the crust. You may have to distribute the blackberries evenly around.
Sprinkle the reserved crust mixture evenly over the filling. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes until the top is lightly browned. Cool for 1 hour before slicing.
**If you’re using frozen berries, be sure to defrost and drain the excess liquid. Place the frozen berries on a plate in the refrigerator overnight. They’re defrosted and ready for bar baking!