Dec 1, 2012

Red and Blue Berry Pie Bars


First, I need to warn you all that this kind of treat is not for the faint-hearted! :-) Three sticks of butter in one recipe? Is this for real? Yes, that was my initial reaction when I first read this recipe. I immediately thought of reducing the butter/fat content in half - but then I had second thoughts - how can I adjust a recipe I haven't even tried? So, I set on doing it as faithfully as I can based on the original recipe. I thought to myself, I'd adjust, if necessary, after I have given it at least one chance to prove itself worthy of all the calories loaded in it!

The Verdict! It was worth every single drop of butter in it! Honestly, this is one of the most delicious dessert recipe I have ever tried. Pie in a bar form? How can you ever go wrong? Besides, more or less 20 people agreed when I brought this yummy dessert to a friend's birthday party! It was gone like the wind. I thought that would be the ultimate test and it passed on all levels by a 100 %.

The major plus in this super-delicious dessert is its fruit content - forget the butter - it's all about the fruits now! Nearly 2 lbs of fresh fruits (about 6 cups) - mega-foods blueberries and raspberries! I won't got into the details of  how nutritious berries are, for you already know that, don't you? You see, I made this in the summer when these fruits were in season in Michigan, hence, relatively cheaper than when they are out of season. Of course, if you cannot find the fresh ones or they are too expensive (especially during winter time) then it is fine to use the frozen ones (just thaw them and drain well before using). Shall we say then that the fat content is balanced by a tremendous amount of fruits used in making this? I leave it to you my dear friends to decide!

All I'm saying is, do not be turned off by the amount of butter here! As with anything the key to perfect enjoyment is moderation! If you do so, you'll enjoy the food and not feel guilty afterwards. Will you promise to eat just one serving of this? :-)

Now, let's go to the recipe itself.

The recipe is adapted from Joy the Baker (so glad to have found this!) and it was based upon the recipe in the book - The Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather. Wow, it has really come a long way, and has now reached the Philippine Islands via Manila Spoon! Blackberries were used for the original recipe but when I went to our local grocery what I found were lots of blueberries and raspberries so I used them instead. I opted for the multi-colored effect - Red raspberries and Blueberries. I thought it would look lovelier than a monochromatic approach. See the effect below on our finished product!



I will note below what my observations were when I made these. So when you make this yourself - you'll know more or less what to expect. Overall, I think it's a great recipe and I will make it again for our Summer entertainment with noting the adjustments I need to make. Enjoy!

Ingredients

For the Crust/Topping
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar (I used white)
3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted chilled/cold butter, cut into 1/2 inch-cubes
1/4 teaspoon salt
Zest of 2 Lemons*

*I didn't have any Lemons the first time I made this but it still came out good so it's up to you if you wish to add these, too. Am sure they will add some extra tangy yumminess. :-)

For the Filling


4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup sour cream (ok you can go low-fat on this! I used the light one)
3/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 (16 oz.) packages frozen berries (raspberries and/or blueberries or a combo), thawed and drained*

*I used fresh berries - if you want to use fresh berries use about 6 cups in total of either or both berries.

Procedure

For the Crust/Topping:

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9×13-inch pan or baking dish with butter or cooking spray. Set aside.

Combine the flour and sugar in a bowl. A stand mixer with a paddle attachment would be handy for this. Add the chilled butter cubes and beat on medium speed until the butter is evenly distributed and the mixture is crumbly.

Since I didn't have a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, I used a pastry blender to incorporate the cold butter with the flour and sugar mixture. It was not a problem at all!


Mixture should look crumbly like this. 



Set aside about 1-1/2  cups of the mixture for the topping. Press the rest into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Bake the crust for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.

Note: Mine never really turned golden brown despite the extended cooking (up to 20 minutes). My suggestion would be to not obsess about not having a truly golden brown crust, like I did! The filling will go on top of it anyway and if you already overcook the crust at this point - note that it will be baked again for another hour or so in the oven - it would harden, and though no one complained, I wasn't very keen on it. Just bake it between 12-15 minutes but don't expect it to be golden brown as the recipe stated. It would still look pale but hopefully, it won't harden too much when you re-bake it with the filling on top.

Remove from the oven and cool for about 10-15 minutes.

For the Filling:

Whisk the eggs in a large bowl.  Add in the sugar, sour cream, flour, and salt and combine. Gently fold in the berries.


Carefully pour the mixture over the crust. Distribute the berries evenly on top.




Sprinkle the reserved crust mixture on top of the filling. Distribute well.


Bake for 60-70 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned. Mine needed about a little over an hour. Oven temperature and heating capacity vary so adjust accordingly. One of our readers noted that the berries bubbled over - because the fruits are fresh and juicy this may happen so you can prevent this by using a cookie sheet for any spill-over.

I wanted a crumblier and crunchier crust so I placed it under the broiler for 1-2 minutes to achieve this. Watch out so that the top doesn't burn!

  
Cool for least 2-3 hours before cutting into bars. Wait until it's fully set so when you cut it it doesn't drip unless you can't wait and don't mind that it crumbles - and that's perfectly understandable! I actually imagined this more as a fruity crumble  (rather than a Bar cookie) reminiscent of the ones I had in England. So if you wish, you can serve it warm with ice cream on top!  Pure dessert heaven! Can anything be better than this as a summer dessert? I would have to think hard 'cause for now this is on top of my list!


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29 comments

  1. This looks delicious Abby!
    BTW, the friend of mine you met was Rita.

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    1. Thanks Ghie! Right, Rita, I remember now. She's so nice. I like her. Perhaps we should all meet up if she comes visit you here! That would be so nice!

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  2. I adore Joy The baker, absolutely best recipe! How did I miss it? This is on the top of my list, your daughter is just precious! Nettie

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    1. Thanks, Nettie! I am so glad to have discovered her site as well. So full of yummy goodness! Glad you stopped by here!

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  3. This looks delicious! I ate something like this recently and had been thinking of making this ever since. Now I am really going to try this recipe :)

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    1. Thanks, Sandhya! I love this dessert! I hope you love it too! Glad you came by.

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  4. Kathy Brown-LoweryJanuary 22, 2013 at 2:06 PM

    Could you suggest another fruit that I might use in place of the blueberries and raspberries?? Thanks so much

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    1. Hi Kathy! Blackberries would be great for this and I can't imagine why you cannot use strawberries too. :-)

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  5. What can I use instead of sour cream, or can I omit the sour cream all together?

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    1. Yogurt is a suitable replacement. It won't be as good without the cream so try replacing it with plain or greek plain yogurt instead.

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  6. I have fresh strawberries & thawed frozen blueberries in my fridge at the minite just waiting to be turned into this lovely dessert. I'll be making it tomorrow. Thank you for sharing.

    Nadine Osborne

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    1. My pleasure! I hope you enjoy this Nadine! We really love this dessert!

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  7. I made these & took them to a church dinner. Needless to say, I brought home only 4. They are delicious. I wouldn't make them every week, but for something special, I'll be making them again. I baked the crust 15 minutes, but baked them about 70 minutes with the fruit & topping. The bottom is firm, almost crispy. I put my baking dish on a baking sheet & I was glad I did, they bubbled over just a little.

    Thank you for sharing this recipe.
    Nadine Osborne

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    1. Hi Nadine! It happened to me too the first time I tried the recipe but it was so good though that no one complained and I came back home with an empty dish! It's a great dessert for special occasions. Glad you enjoyed it!

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  8. Kathy Brown Lowery, perhaps you could use rhubarb and strawberries...nice combination at this time of year.

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    1. I haven't done anything with rhubarb, Kathy...perhaps you're right. Thanks for stopping by.

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  9. May I have some, please? :)

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  10. Will certainly be making this next week for a family gathering!

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    1. Wonderful, Brenda. Hope you liked it.

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  11. Alternatively, which gluten-free flour would you use instead? Almond or coconutu flour? How about the quantities suggested? Guess the proportions should differ a bit... thanks a lot in advance. I'll make this cake of yours for a Bday party very soon :))

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    1. Sorry for the late reply. I have missed this for some reason. I haven't tried it with gluten-free flour but it's worth trying whatever brand you prefer. Thanks for stopping by.

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  12. Hallo Abby, your berry pie bars looks so delicious. Thanks for sharing

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    1. Thank you very much Diane. Hope you try it. :)

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  14. That looks so delicious!! Beyond delicious!! I cannot wait to try them! I would be honored if you would consider stopping by our Foodie Fridays tonight and sharing the recipe with us...we go live at 9 pm EST! Pinning!

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    1. Thanks, Michelle! I am a little late but perhaps next week. Thanks for stopping by.

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  15. Replies
    1. Thank you very much, Tara. Glad you stopped by.

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