What tastes like a pie, but is not a pie? What looks like jello, but is made of real fruit? And how is a raven like a writing desk?
The answer is a berry bar.
Well, that's the answer to the first two questions anyway. The answer to the third question haunts me still as one of life's great mysteries, right up there with the question of how did that horse make that woman go to college? But I digress.
I initially noticed this dessert's bright color and promise of fresh summer fruit flavor on Pinterest from places like ImprovKitchen and Sophistimom's recipe. I had never heard of berry bars like this before, so I had to give it a try.
Blackberry Lime Barscrust:
9 Tbsp butter (1 stick + 1 Tbsp)
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2 cups of fresh or frozen blackberries
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cups lime juice
3 egg whites
2/3 cup flour
pinch of salt
Optional: To ramp up the flavor, ImprovKitchen suggests adding 2 Tbsp lime zest, but I didn't find it necessary. You can also dust the top with powdered sugar for a lovely finish.
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
2. Place a piece of parchment paper inn an 8x8 pan so it lines the sides and bottom. Try to smooth out the walls as best as you can.
3. Cream butter and sugar together in a stand mixer until light and then add vanilla. Add flour slowly until mixed together.
4. Press the crust mixture into the pan. It may be a little crumbly, but can be worked into the form so it covers the bottom of the pan.
5. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes until slightly golden brown.
6. Meanwhile, mash the blackberries through a strainer or mesh sieve (the fabric sieve is better at removing seeds) until you have fruity pulp. This step took ages, so you could try putting the berries through a food processor to blend them and then strain them through the cheesecloth at the end.
7. Add sugar, egg whites, egg, lime juice, lime zest (optional), flour, and salt to the blackberry pulp in a bowl and stir by hand to combine.
8. When the crust is ready, pour berry mixture on top of crust.
9. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes.
10. Let the bars return to room temperature and then chill for at least three - four hours or overnight before serving.
11. Remove from parchment paper, cut into square pieces, and serve!
Rating of Difficulty: 2 out of 5. This dessert is relatively easy and quick to make. The few hurdles that justify a 2 rating are that the berries can take quite a lot of muscle and time to push through a strainer to remove the seeds. Definitely worth using a food processor!
The other problem is that a perfectly pretty appearance can be a challenge. The sides might ripple due to the folds in the parchment paper and the top of the bar seems to form bubbles no matter how carefully the fruit mixture was poured on top. It's not the nicest of finish as you can see in the photo above, but once the bars are cut into individual servings, the bubbles aren't as noticeable.
Appearance aside, the color and taste are so bright and perfect for a warm day. The fruit topping has a soft gooey consistency, similar to fruit snacks or gummy bears, that pairs well with the crisp shell bottom. Very close flavors to a pie, without as much work.
This recipe could be reworked into other fruity flavors, as suggested by ImprovKitchen, since most berries would mix just as well. What flavor would inspire you? Strawberry lemon bars? Raspberry grapefruit bars? Watermelon bars?
Perhaps my next baking adventure could venture down that rabbit hole to find a new fruit berry bar flavor combination. When there's time...the time? Oh, look at the time!
No Rules Weekend Party,